Stongday Monastery in KargilIn the region famously known for its ancient monastic establishments, you can discover the roots of Buddhism with an intriguing journey. In Kargil district, there are many significant monasteries established as early as during 10th -11th Century. Stonday is the second largest monastery of this region. It is also spelled as Stongde, Tonday, Thonde, and Stongdey. It is situated 18 km away from Padum towards its north leading to Zangla.
It is wonderful place to visit while you plan a trip to Zanskar region. It was established in 1052 CE by Lama Marpa Choski Lodos, who was the disciple of famous Indian scholar Naropa. Approximately, four centuries after its establishment, Stongdey monastery was taken over by Gelugpa. The monastery was, then, dedicated to Je Tsongkhapa order.
About Stongday Monastery in KargilThis beautiful monastery is located on the top of a hill. From its height, you can relish magnificent views of the valley and the village looking like an oasis below. You can take a trek of three hours to reach this Marpaling near Padum. The monastery houses around 60 monks. It comprises of seven temples ornamented beautifully with wall paintings. Tshog Khang of this Stongday is festooned with intricate paintings. Some of these paintings deities highlighted with golden outline on the black background. The interiors of all the temples and entire gompa are beautified by such paintings.
As per its history, this monastery prospered largely under Shakya Zangpo who belonged to Stongday village. It is said that the office bearers serving this monastery represent the re-embodiment of Nari Tulku. Its Gon Khang or temple of Guardian deities is its major attraction.
Events at Stongday Monastery in KargilEvery year, this monastery celebrates Stongday Gustor Festival. This festival is held on 28th and 29th day in 11th month of Tibetan calendar. Generally, it falls during the month of June but this timing may vary each year. This is a major event for the whole region. Monks of Stongday Monastery perform sacred dances to celebrate this festival. If you are also planning a visit to this monastery, do not miss out the opportunity to attend the Gustor Festival.
Best Time to Visit Stongday Monastery in KargilSince the monastery is located on a steep hill, it is hard to reach this place during harsh winters. Snowfall is intense during this season making it impossible to explore the region. As such, you can plan your visit during months from July to September only when roads remain open. To attend Stongday Gustor Festival, gather prior information to reach there on time and take part in its festivities.
How to Reach Stongday Monastery in KargilThis monastery is located around 18 km to the north of Padum. To reach it conveniently, road transport is available from Padum and Kargil at regular intervals. There are state run buses along with private charter buses that you can take from any of these cities. For comfortable ride, you can hire private taxis or jeeps from Padum to Stongday. You can also trek to reach this monastery from this small town of Zanskar region in Kargil district.
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