Lamayuru Monastery in KargilLamayuru Monastery in Kargil offers you a journey to the past of this region. It is one of the oldest and probably, most enchanting monasteries in Kargil district. The beauty of this place is intensified by its serene environs and mysticism. It is beautifully set in the lap of unending mountains of the cold desert. It is locally known as Yuru Gompa as well.
It is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery with around 150 resident monks. It has elevation of 3510 meters above the sea level and the monastery is built around a small cave. The peaceful atmosphere of Lamayuru is unruffled by the humdrum of big cities. Perhaps, this is the reason why it offers such tranquility to mind and soul.
History of Lamayuru Monastery in KargilLamayuru is believed to the most ancient monastery of this entire region. It is also said that this was originally a Bon monastery affiliated to Yung Drung school of Bon. Its name Lamayuru signifies Eternity. This helps to trace the ancient roots of this monastery.
Legends say that this monastery was built by great Naropa, who was an Indian scholar. To build this monastery, he dried up a giant lake existing in the valley. As a result, the moon land of Lamayuru was also formed here. However, it is hard to find such old structures anywhere in this monastery except for the ancient temple called Seng Ge Sgang. This temple structure was constructed by Rinchen Zangpo during 10-11th century. In earlier times, this gompa comprised of five buildings. Remains of four structures are still existent.
Structure and Architecture of Lamayuru Monastery in KargilLamayuru is a large monastery with some unique features alluring the visitors. It is the residence for 150 monks currently. The complex has three large Chortens that are neatly white washed. Rows of Prayer wheels are placed in rows under these Chortens.
Inside monastery, there is a large courtyard. It leads to the magnificent Prayer Hall called Dukhang. This hall is decorated beautifully with colorful murals, though not ancient. The pillars of hall are decked with silk and Thangkas beautifully hand from the ceilings. It houses the idol of Vajradhar Buddha. Also, there is an 11th century cave where Naropa is said to have meditated for long time. This cave has figurines of seated Naropa with his 2 disciples.
Events at Lamayuru Monastery in KargilEvery year, this monastery host two grand mask festivals. These festivals are held in 2nd and 5th months of Tibetan calendar. The first festival called as Yuru Kab Gyat is a two days long festival marked by masked dances by the monks. Their masks denote their guardian theologies. Another festival is Hemis Tse Chu, which is also a two days long Monastic festival. This festival is devoted to Lord Padmasambhava who laid foundation of tantric Buddhism.
During both these festivals, many tourists visit the monastery. Monks from all around the region gather here to participate in these eclectic events while local villagers too attend them in their traditional attires.
Where to stay around Lamayuru Monastery in KargilThe monastery is located in a small village of Kargil district. It is quite hard to find any big hotel in this area. As such, you can expect only budget accommodations at nearby motels while another option is to stay at the monastery itself. You can also find some interesting garden restaurants offering continental, Chinese, and Indian food.
How to Reach Lamayuru Monastery from KargilThis serene monastery is located at distance of 85 km from Kargil city. It is nearly 15 km away towards the east of Fotu La Pass of Srinagar Leh Highway. To reach here, Kargil is the best place to have a halt. From this city, regular buses are available daily to reach there. These buses depart during morning 10 am and noon 12 pm. The bypass of highway is the shortest route to reach this monastery if you are not keen on trekking. Prikiti La Pass is the best trail to reach this coveted monastery of Kargil district.
Best Time to Visit Lamayuru Monastery in KargilDue to its soaring height, you cannot visit this place anytime during the year. Visiting Lamayuru is viable in the months from June to September when the weather I tolerable in this region. This is the time when it is not cut off from mainland due to heavy snowfall.
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