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Exploring the lesser explored India: Phugtal Monastery

 

Taking up my new objective, I have chosen to write about lesser-known places of India that’s exotic, yet unexplored. We are well aware of the fact that the mighty Himalayas is the world in itself & is a home to millions of flora & fauna. The Great Himalayan range spreads across India, Nepal, Bhutan & China. There are some spectacular places in the Himalayas that comprise of vibrant pigments of life. Speaking of which, I am reminded of a serene locale also known as Phugtal Monastery- certainly a delight for the travel enthusiast.

General Description:

Phugtal Monastery or Phugtal Gompa (often recited as Phuktal) is one of the most isolated monasteries located in the remote Lungnak Valley of Zanskar, in the autonomous Himalayan region of Ladakh, Northern India. The monastery sits atop a cliff where Tibetan Buddhists live. Its uncanny honeycomb structure & picturesque location makes it one of the most sought after places in India.

Best Season/ Climate to visit:

The monastery lies in the sturdy terrain of Ladakh region- located at a high altitude. Thus reels under severe cold weather conditions throughout the year, it is advisable to visit the place from mid-July to September. It is the best time to visit Phuktal as rest of the months Kargil-Padum road is closed due to profuse snowfall.

Highlights of the place:

The monastery is home to 70 monks who reside high up in the  monastery in the caves, detached from the rest world. Phuktal welcomes all the aspiring visitors to explore the monastery & attend daily pujas, ceremonies & annual festivals. Overnight accommodation is also available at the guesthouse and camping ground situated just below the monastery, which doesn’t need any reservation.

How to reach down to the place: 

Traveling to the Monastery is not an easy task. Given the remoteness of the place amid mountains & valleys, one had to be prepared for grueling  trekking session coming their way, which can stretch to a duration of as long as 8 hours. A few hours of drive from Padum, the biggest town in Zanskar, brings the “end of the road”. After this, a compulsory walk of a few hours (5 for the locals, in normal conditions it takes a little less than 8 hours) through High Mountain passes of the Greater Himalayas lead to the Phuktal monastery.

Prerequisites, if any: 

The place is strictly a non-commercial zone, so it is recommended to carry the basic requirements in your rucksack. Also, there is no guesthouse or hotels in Phuktal. Tourists can make necessary arrangements for stay at the monastery.

Eating options are quite limited at/near the monastery. If you are lucky, the monks will help you with meals as they do to most of the other visitors otherwise, there’s  not much of an option to eat. It is advisable to carry your food packets during the visit to the monastery.

Conclusion: 

 

Want to relish the best of unexplored India?  Consider visiting this place under the sun, for once.

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