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
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.
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.