Phugthal Monastery in Kargil

Monasteries spreading the principles of Buddhism are the most alluring feature of Zanskar region in Kargil district. This area has ancient and largest monasteries of this region co - existing with the dominant Muslim culture of Kargil. The serenity and uniqueness of these monasteries allure travelers from all around the world. Phugthal or Phugtal Monastery is also a famous monastery and Gompa of this district.

Old Monasteries in Kargil region

This magnificent place is located at the mouth of a giant cave atop a perched mountain in a huge gorge with tributary of Lungnak River flowing beneath. Picture perfect is the only way to describe its beautiful location. It is an isolated monastery in Zanskar region. It has high elevation of 3850 meters above sea level. It belongs to Drukpa sect of Buddhism.

Structure of Phugthal Monastery in Kargil

It is believed that this monastery was constructed during 12th century by Gangsem Sherap Sampo. It has a unique honeycomb like structure at the mouth of a huge cave. The main assembly hall of monastery is carved out of this cave itself. It houses 70 monks and their residences are built down the hill side from this place. Many chapels are located inside this monastery. Out of these, one old chapel exhibits beautiful frescoes with Influence of Indian iconography. The ceiling of this chapel is also beautifully decked with such rich Indian arts.

Unique structure and Architecture of Phugthal Monastery in Kargil

The cave has a hollow with stable water level. Despite the amount of water extracted from this hollow, the level of water never reduces. This water is also believed to have healing properties to cure many diseases.
There are three prayer rooms and a well stacked library inside this monastery. Also, it has a stone tablet that has inscriptions regarding Alexander Csoma De Koros, a noted Hungarian writer who compiled English to Tibetan dictionary. He visited this region during 1826-27 and translated many Buddhist literary works into English.

How to Reach Phugthal Monastery from Kargil

As this is a secluded monastery with remote location, the only way to reach there is through road transport. Kargil to Padum Road leads the visitors to this place. State buses are available from Kargil three times in a week. If you are travelling in a group, you can hire chartered bus including super deluxe or A-class buses from Kargil to cover all the attractions of entire Zanskar region. You can also hire gypsy or taxi for reaching this monastery conveniently.

Roads leading to Phugthal Monastery in Kargil

Best Time to Visit Phugthal Monastery in Kargil

The region remains freezing cold for most parts of the year. From mid of July to start of November, the area can be reached to explore effortlessly. If you are keen on trekking, prefer extreme summer in June. This is the time when the roads are about to open for public. As such, your trek will not be hindered by heavy traffic during this time.

Trekking to Reach Phugthal Monastery in Kargil

Padum to Manali route of trekking is ideal to reach this monastic establishment. A long trail of 7 km branches out from Purney Bridge. You can take this route for an awesome trekking experience. You can plan visit to other monasteries like Muney and Bardan enroute to Phugthal. It is a complete round trek of 5 days beginning from Padum.

Beautiful Location of Phugthal Monastery in Kargil

Where to Stay at Phugthal Monastery in Kargil

Best options for accommodations are available at the nearest town of Padum. Here, you can find tourist complex with catering services. Also, there are camping facilities for travelers owning their tents. There are some private mediocre hotels available for staying in Padum. You can also stay with villagers or monastery, if they offer you the same.
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