18-km North Of Padum, Ladakh Region, J&K
Also Spelt As: Stongde
Famous As: The Second Largest Monastic Establishment In Zanskar.
The monastery of Stongdey lies 18-km to the north of Padum,
on the road leading to Zangla. An old foundation associated with
the Tibetan Yogi, Marpa, Stongdey is now the second largest
monastic establishment of Zanskar, inhabited by the resident
community of about 60 Gelukpa monks.
The sprawling whitewashed complex has a number of temples, each
a repository of the region's rich monastic legacy. Stongdey can
be reached by foot in about 4 hours along the recently laid
rough road. The climb up to the monastery is rather strenuous,
but it is worth the trouble for the breathtaking scenery of the
valley available from here.
HOW TO REACH THERE
The 240 km long Kargil-Padum road, of which the first 90 km
stretch is paved, remains opened from around mid July to early
November. The J&K SRTC operates a thrice-weekly bus services
from Kargil. However groups can charter A-Class or even
Super-Deluxe buses to visit Zanskar, including the interior
places of interest like Stongdey, Zangla and Karsha. Jeeps and
Gypsy taxis can also be hired at Kargil. During June and early
July, prior to opening of the road, it is recommended to walk
into Zanskar from Panikhar or Parkachik onwards. In June, the
summer is at its height in the region and the climate is ideal
for trekking along the route free from vehicular traffic of any
kind and when the countryside is freshly rejuvenated into life
after months of frigid dormancy.
WHERE TO STAY
The tourist Complex at Padum provides furnished rooms. There is
catering arrangement in the complex, while camping place nearby
is available for budget tourists travelling with personal tents.
Padum town has several private hotels where rooms with basic
facilities are available. At Karsha dormitory accommodation is
available in the newly build inn where basic vegetarian food is
also provided. In the distant villages like Stongdey, Zangla,
Sani, etc., accommodation can be sought from the villagers
either on payment or in exchange of a suitable gift. Some
monasteries may also take in guests, through more as a gesture
of goodwill than on purely commercial consideration. Of course
the guest is expected to compensate the monastery suitably.