Location: 3-km From Leh, Ladakh
Significance: Official Residence Of The Kushok Bakul, Ladakh's
Head Of The Gelug- Pa Sect.
Timing: 7.00 am - 10.00 am & 5.00 pm - 7.00 pm
Nestled amid the shimmering poplar coppices and terraced
fields of barley that extend up the valley behind Leh , Sankar
Gompa, 3-km north of the town centre, is among the most
accessible monasteries in central Ladakh - hence its restricted
visiting hours for tourists.
About The Monastery & Its Attractions
The monastery, a small under Gompa of Spitok, is staffed by
twenty monks, and is the official residence of the Kushok Bakul,
Ladakh's head of the Gelug-pa sect. Appropriately for such a
high-ranking 'Rinpoche', his glass-fronted penthouse enjoys
pride of place on top of the main building, crowned with a
golden spire and a "Dharma Chakra" flanked by two deer,
symbolizing the Buddha's first sermon in Sarnath.
A flight of steps leads from the courtyard to the Du-khang.
Beyond the lords of the four quarters and wheel of life Mandala
that adorn the verandah, one enters a high ceilinged hall whose
walls writhe with lustrous multicoloured murals. Those on either
side of the doorway are the most amazing: many armed pot bellied
bovine monsters drink blood from skull cups, while the
copulating "Yab-Yum" couples to the right are garlanded with
severed heads and engulfed in swirling red and yellow flames.
Above the Du Khang stands the Gompa's principal deity, Tara, in
her triumphant, 1,000 armed form as "Dukkar", or "Lady of the
White Parasol", presiding over a light, airy shrine room whose
walls are adorned with a Tibetan calendar and tableaux depicting
"dos and don'ts" for monks - some very arcane indeed. Another
flight of steps leads to the Gompa library and, eventually, a
roof terrace with fine views towards the north side of Namgyal
Tsemo hill and the valley to the south.
HOW TO GET THERE
Road: One can get there either by car, or on foot: turn left at
the junction above Ali Shah's Postcard shop, and then right onto
the concrete path that runs alongside the stream. Sankar appears
after about twenty minutes' walk, surrounded by sun-bleached
Chortens and a high mud wall.