Top things to do in Zanskar

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 li…
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 appealing …
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 room h…
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 vertical…
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 fou…
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 monument…
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 remar…
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 pa…
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 guestho…
Village in Padum


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.