Sani Monastery in Kargil

Kargil region has been the dominant area for Tibetan monasteries since olden days. This place is found with numbers of monasteries which are well known institutions of Buddhism. Among such large numbers of monastic establishments, some of them are reckoned to attract lots of tourists from all around the world. Sani Monastery is one of the oldest monasteries of Kargil placed in the state of Jammu & Kashmir. It is situated between Zanskar valley and Stod valley. The village named Sani is also located in the vicinity of this monastery.

Monasteries in Kargil District

Structure and Architecture of Sani Monastery in Kargil

Sani monastery has one of the most revered crematoriums in the world for Buddhism. This crematorium is flanked with ancient rock paintings which draw attention of people coming here. Many renowned and luminary followers of Buddhism visited this place including Marpa, Padma Sambhava, and Naropa. Sani Monastery has one of the chortens of Emperor Kanishka who built around 108 such establishments in this region. Hence, followers of Buddhism from all around the world visit Sani Monastery once in their lifetime.

Structure of Sani Monastery in Kargil

Sani Monastery is an old structure, but it was constructed over different phases. Its chorten is the oldest part of monastery. Its construction commenced in 2nd century while assembly hall is the newest building constructed in 17th century. The entire monastery was built according to a castle. It can be related to Kushan rulers, who ruled during 2nd century, due to Kanishka Stupa situated behind the complex. Its backyard has 10 standing rocks that are engraved with pre Tibetan style of deities. The gate Chorten of this monastery has prayer wheels. It leads to the central compound of monastery.

The central hall or praying hall of monastery is quite attractive for people visiting this place. It is decorated with catchy color theme along with statues of Kargudpa’s Lamas and idols of Buddhist deities. Simultaneously, walls of prayer hall have been infused with wonderful Tibetan silk paintings which are known as thangkas and beautiful frescoes. In the Gon Khang, there is a book shelf bedecked with ancient inscriptions of Kangyur.

History and Architecture of Sani monastery in Kargil

It is one of the large sites of tourism and people from around the world come here in search of peace. A chapel placed in the rear side of monastery is also magnificent attraction to watch out. This small chapel is in ruined stage but still offers beautiful sites inside it. The mural paintings showcasing life story of Lord Padmasambhava is worth to watch at this place.

Events at Sani Monastery in Kargil

Every year, the festival of Sani Naro Nasjal is held in the monastery. It is held in the first week of August month falling between 15th to 20th days of sixth month in Tibetan calendar. It also marks the season of flower named as Guru Naropa in the region. Statue of Indian yogi Naropa is uncovered on the eve of this festival and masked dances are performed by Lamas of Bardan Monastery.

Events at Sani Monastery in Kargil

Apart from this, The Great Prayer Festival is also held in this monastery every year. Firewood for this festival is provided by the local villagers and it is marked by reading of Tibetan Canon. Many traditional ceremonies take place in Sani Monastery during this phase.

Where to Stay at Sani Monastery in Kargil

Sani Monastery does not offer accommodation or eatery options to tourists. It takes around one day to watch entire monastery. It does not offer any accommodations or eateries. So visitors need to take accommodations at Kargil town for coming to Sani Monastery. Even food or eatables are not found in and around monastery, therefore people should pre arrange such necessary items.

Best Time to Visit Sani Monastery in Kargil

July to November is averagely good time to visit Sani Monastery. Being the part of Kargil, it is difficult place to survive in winters. Kargil is always a hard location for travelers. Visitors must be aware of current affairs of this locality before getting in there.

Attractions of Sani Monastery in Kargil

How to Reach Sani Monastery in Kargil

To reach this serene monastery, you can visit via Kargil or Padum. It is situated about 6 km away from the center of Padum towards west direction. Many private and state run buses are easily available from either of these places to reach Sani village located amid Stod and Zanskar valley. You can also hire cabs available from Kargil to reach there. Trekking is another option to visit Sani Monastery by enjoying the natural vistas of this magnificent cold desert.

Also Read: Strongday Monastery in Kargil | Phugtal Monastery in Kargil | Mulbekh Monastery in Kargil | Lamayuru Monastery in Kargil | Karsha Monastery in Kargil
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