The Stakna monastery is a Buddhist monastery located 25 kilometers from Leh on the bank of the Indus river. The monastery is affiliated with the Drukpa sect in Stakna, Leh, Ladakh. The name “Stakna” literally means ‘Tiger’s Nose’ because the monastery is situated on a hilltop and appears to be the shape of a tiger’s nose.
Located at an altitude of 11,800 ft (3,600 m), the Stakna monastery offers a fantastic view of Hemis monastery and its nearby surroundings. The gompa is home to 30 Buddhist monks. It is the only Bhutanese Drukpa monastery in Ladakh managed by Je Khenpo in Bhutan. The other Drukpa monasteries in Ladakh belonging to the Gyalwang Drukpa’s school are based at Hemis. The split in the Drukpa lineage occurred in the 17th century when a dispute arose over the true reincarnation of the 4th Gyalwang Drukpa.
Stakna Monastery Travel Guide
We have compiled a comprehensive travel guide in this blog post for exploring the Stakna Monastery in the best possible way. It will cover all the vital information, including accommodation, transport, and all the famous nearby attractions to see while visiting the breathtaking monastery.
If you are planning a trip to Stakna Monastery, our travel guide will help you plan a fantastic and memorable trip. Our team of dedicated specialists from Ladakh offers customized tour packages at discounted prices to all our customers who wish to spend a fabulous holiday in Ladakh. If you have any queries related to Stakna Monastery, feel free to contact us.
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Highlights of Stakna Monastery
- Silver-painted chorten
- Arya Avalokitesvara statue
- Paintings and murals
- Amazing view from the monastery rooftop
Itinerary Guide – How to plan your Itinerary for Stakna Monastery
Planning an Itinerary for the Stakna monastery without an expert guide is not an easy task. We have built an Itinerary with our experts and planned a trip to Stakna monastery to share our unforgettable experience with you. You should read it to know all about Stakna monastery to plan your itinerary easily.
Preparing for Stakna Monastery Trip
We booked a cab early in the morning and were ready for our trip to the Stakna monastery. We headed towards the Stakna monastery which is situated on the other side of Leh, Ladakh. After crossing a small bridge we reached the banks of the Indus river. The dry terrain was gone and all we could see now were lush green fields.
While driving on the smooth roads we came across the snowcapped Stok ranges, yellow mustard fields, and towering poplar trees in the far distance. All through our journey to the monastery, we could see the Leh city nestled between the barren mountain peaks and the lush greenery.
Reaching the Monastery
After driving for half an hour, we finally reached the monastery. The view of the monastery was a sight to behold in the backdrop of the rocky terrain. Although the monastery was not very attractive from the outside, the interiors were mesmerizing.
The Monastery Interiors
On entering the monastery, we saw a courtyard with exquisitely painted wooden pillars. Most of the structures of the monastery were constructed with wood and adorned with sophisticated paintings. As we walked around the courtyard, we reached the main prayer hall of the monastery.
Main Prayer Hall of the Monastery
As we entered the main prayer hall of the monastery, we saw several colorful paintings of Buddhist saints. The colors used in the paintings were mostly red, blue, green, and yellow along with golden boundaries. Inside the prayer hall, there were numerous intricately carved statues, artifacts, and bells made of silver and bronze.
The monks sat on their velvet seats while meditating and performing their prayers. Photography was not allowed inside the main prayer hall, so we walked around the hall for some time, and then the chief lama took us to another hall.
Another Prayer Hall of the Monastery
We entered the second prayer hall where some sacred rituals were being performed by the lamas. We could hear the monks chanting their prayers and the music of the drums reverberating in the entire monastery.
After clicking some pictures of the prayer hall, we had a brief conversation with one of the monks, and then we headed towards the roof of the monastery.
On the rooftop of the monastery, a beautiful chorten was built. The best thing about the monastery was the scenic view of the Indus river, Stok ranges, the Indus valley, and the barren peaks as seen from the rooftop of the monastery. We could also see the famous Thiksey monastery perched on a hilltop far across the valley.
No trip to Ladakh is perfect without a visit to a couple of prominent monasteries. Every year the Stakna monastery attracts a large number of tourists in Ladakh. You can enjoy the panoramic views of the Indus valley and its surrounding areas.
The craggy landscape has been home to the people of Ladakh from ancient times. Hence, the people have built many impressive monasteries in the territory dating back to the 7th century. The monasteries are popular not just for their stunning architecture and culture, but also for the mind-blowing views they offer from the viewpoint they are built at.
If you are planning a trip to Ladakh, this article will help you make a memorable and adventurous trip.
Best time to visit Stakna Monastery
The best time to visit the Stakna monastery is from May to October. During these months, the weather is most favorable for traveling. The roads to Ladakh are also open for travelers.
However, if you visit Ladakh other than these months, the things to do and explore might be limited. Since the roads to Ladakh remain closed due to heavy rain and snowfall, therefore you should visit during the summer season to enjoy your fullest.
If you want to know about the local culture of Stakna monastery, you can visit the during the months of April to September. A local festival is also celebrated in the nearby village which is quite unique from the usual ceremonies. The festival includes music, mask dance, and a spectacular display of paintings, murals, handicrafts and much more.
To get more details, you can read the Best time to visit Ladakh.
How to reach Stakna Monastery
The Stakna monastery is located on the Leh-Manali Highway. The easiest way to reach the Stakna monastery is to arrive in Leh via flight and then hire a taxi or cab to reach the monastery. Read how to reach Ladakh to know the most convenient way to reach Leh. Although the gompa is well connected through buses, so you can also use other forms of public transport to reach the monastery.
- Flight: The Leh airport is well connected with some airports in India. You can hire a taxi to reach the hotel and then make a day trip from Leh to Stakna monastery along with other nearby monasteries.
- Cabs: You can take a cab from Leh and take the road leading to Karu. It will take you around 40 minutes to reach the monastery via cabs.
- Train: The nearest railway station from Stakna monastery is the Jammu Tawi railway station which is located at a distance of 812 kilometers from Leh. You can hire a taxi from the railway station to reach Leh. After reaching Leh, you can travel to Stakna monastery as mentioned above.
Accommodation and Food Options near Stakna Monastery
It is advisable to leave from your hotel in Leh early morning and return by evening. During your stay in Leh, you can visit the local tourist places nearby such as Thiksey monastery, Shey monastery, and much more. You can also stay at Hemis monastery or Shey monastery which are nearby Stakna monastery.
There are no arrangements for meals in the monastery. If you feel hungry, you can bring along some light meal, snacks, chips, or biscuits. There are several small restaurants on the Leh-Manali road where you can stop off and eat.
Timings and Entry fees of Stakna Monastery
Timings: The opening hours of the monastery are from 7 am to 6 pm including Sundays. The monastery remains open on all public holidays but remains closed during lunch hours (1 pm – 2 pm).
Entry Fees: The entry fee for the Stakna monastery is Rs 30 per person.
- Thiksey Monastery: The Thiksey monastery is around 8.4 kilometers away from the Stakna monastery.
- Druk Padma Karpo School / Rancho School: also known as Druk White Lotus School. It is around 11 kilometers from the Stakna monastery.
- Shey Palace: The Shey palace consists of a monastery and a palace. It is around 12 kilometers from the Stakna monastery.
- Hemis Monastery: The Hemis monastery is situated in Hemis which is around 20 kilometers from the Stakna monastery.
- Takthok Gompa: The Taktok gompa is a monastery in Sakti which is located approximately 27 kilometers from the Stakna monastery.
Stakna Monastery Travel Tips
Given below are a few travel tips that you should follow while you visit the Stakna monastery:
- Rest as much as possible on your first day of arrival for acclimatization.
- You should wear modest clothes while entering the monastery. Avoid wearing revealing clothes or dress in a way that would seem respectful to the monastery.
- A monastery is a religious place of worship. So, Remain calm and maintain silence inside the monastery.
- Photography is allowed in some parts of the monastery except the main prayer hall. If you wish to click pictures with a monk, you should seek their permission before doing so.
- Avoid smoking and drinking inside the monastery.
- Apply good sunscreen to protect your skin from harmful UV rays.
- Always carry your own water bottle and refill it anytime. It will keep you hydrated and also help in saving the environment from plastic.
- You should be aware of the symptoms of Acute Mountain Sickness (AMS). The lack of oxygen in the atmosphere and high altitude can be dangerous, so you need to be careful.
- Wear sunglasses to protect yourself from high-intensity sunrays.
- Keep some distance from the statues and idols. You should also advise your child not to play and run around inside the monastery.
- Only postpaid connections work well in Ladakh. BSNL, Airtel and, Jio have a better network connection than other SIMs.
- Bring some warm clothes if you are planning to visit during the winter months. If you want to know essential items for Leh, Ladakh trip, read our blog post Things to Carry for Ladakh Trip.
- Book your flight tickets as early as possible because the prices would go higher during the peak season.
- Google flights have an amazing feature of the flight price alert system. So, find your flight on google flights and then subscribe for the alert to get maximum benefits.
Please read the World health organization’s travel advice, before traveling anywhere.
Read Indian Government travel guidelines
Other Essential Information
History of Stakna Monastery
In the 16th century, Chosje Jamyang Palker, a Bhutanese scholar and saint, came to Leh to establish a monastery. There are several other sister monasteries of the Stakna monastery, of which three are situated in the Zanskar valley.
Architecture of Stakna Monastery
The structure of the Stakna monastery closely resembles Tibetan architecture. Just like other monasteries, there is a huge assembly hall. The walls of the hall are adorned with the paintings and murals of Amchi, Tsephakamad, and Sakyamuni. At the same time, one can witness a 7 ft tall chorten on the right side of the courtyard. It portrays a magnificent figure of Buddha along with some notes.
Several paintings of Padma Sambhava, Bodhisattvas, and Tsong-san-gompa are displayed parallel to the hall giving a mesmerizing glamour to the monastery. A glorious marble statue of Avalokitesvara is placed in the heart of the monastery which is considered to be brought from Kamrup in Assam. Also, a stuffed Lhasa Apso is kept in the center of the courtyard which is believed to be the favorite pet of the monks in the monastery a long time back.