Buddhist Monastery in Zangla

Stongdey Gompa

One of Zanskar's most important monasteries, Stongdey Gompa doesn't look like much when viewed from below, but it crowns a bird’s-eye perch with stupendous views over the Zanskar Valley. It's best seen in morning...

Buddhist Monastery in South of Padum

Bardan Gompa

Bardan Gompa is a fortress-like monastery with a spectacular setting atop a rocky outcrop commanding an S-bend in the Lugnak Valley. The main prayer hall retains some ancient murals and is accessed via an...

Architecture in Zangla

Zangla Palace

The three-storey ruin of a 17th-century royal palace sits on a crag surveying Zangla village and the valley looking north towards Hanamur. From 1823, Hungarian scholar Alexander (Sándor) Csoma de Kőrös took a...

Buddhist Monastery in Karsha

Karsha Gompa

At the far side of a wide plain around 2½ hours’ walk from Padum, Karsha Gompa is Zanskar’s largest Buddhist monastery. Dating to at least the 10th century, it’s a jumble of whitewashed blocks rising almost...

Buddhist Temple in Karsha

Dukhang Yokma

The Dukhang Yokma, Karsha Gompa's main prayer hall, was demolished in 2009 due to irreparable structural damage. In so doing, an astonishing discovery was made: the mummified body of the monastery's 14th-century...

Buddhist Monastery in Padum

Sani Gompa

Zanskar’s oldest gompa comprises a small, two-storey prayer hall ringed by a curious tunnelled cloister. The stupa out back dates back to Kushan King Kanishka (2nd century AD), making it the oldest Buddhist...

Buddhist Temple in Karsha

Chukchikjal Temple

Karsha's Konchod Drubling Nunnery is only a few decades old, but it occupies the site of a far older settlement containing the upper ruins of a fortress, a stupa dating from the 11th century and this small but...

Viewpoint in Padum

Padum Khar

The oldest section of Padum is a chaos of rocks, abandoned old buildings, shrines and large assorted kani (tunnel-stupas) climbing a modest hillock. The hill was crowned by a 13th-century royal palace (khar means...

Buddhist Monastery in South of Padum

Phuktal Gompa

A spectacular 2½-hour walk from Cha is amply rewarded by the sight of this 15th-century monastery, hanging miraculously on a cliff face beneath a gaping cave entrance. The first glimpse is from the monastery...

Village in Padum

Pibiting

Around 2km northeast of the main market, Pibiting has the most authentic feel of Padum's surrounding villages. It's easy to spot thanks to a hilltop Guru Lhakhang temple, which is itself topped with a stupa.

Buddhist Sculpture in Padum

Gyalwa Ringna

A large rock set above the Lungnak River bank, southeast of Padum, is inscribed with a row of five seated Buddha figures in Gandharan style, clumsily repaired with concrete.

Waterfall in Padum

Shilla Waterfall

On the east bank of the Lungnak River, southeast of Padum, the village of Shilla is backed by a crag with ruins at the top and a substantial waterfall cascading down the middle. At its base is a pool whose...

Buddhist Monastery in Rangdum

Rangdum Gompa

Seen from Rangdum village, 5km west, this small, slightly raised monastery looks like a tiny island floating above the valley floor. Postcards are sold to raise funds for the next-door school.

Buddhist Monastery in Zangla

Nunnery

While not exactly a major attraction, this typical Buddhist nunnery gives day trippers an extra destination to head for while wandering through pretty Zangla village.

Buddhist Monastery in Padum

Stakrimo Monastery

This monastery just behind Padum makes for a nice hour-long (5km) hike from the centre and offers fine views over the valley towards Pibiting and beyond.