Phuktal Monastery

  • imageZanskar
  • Ladakh

About Phuktal Monastery Ladakh

Known for being built along the natural caves, Phuktal Monastery is one of the few monasteries in Ladakh that can only be reached by trekking. Situated in the remote Lungnak Valley, Phuktal or Phugtal Monastery is amongst the top attractions in Zanskar. And why it shouldn’t be, the Buddhist Gompa has an impressive facade with rock-cut caves that look embedded in the mountain.

The monastery is a one-day trek from the village of Cha or Khangsaar in Zanskar. The view from the monastery is also something to cherish; one can relish the panoramic vistas of the meandering Lungnak River and the valley.The major attraction of Phuktal Gompa is its natural caves which are said to have been visited by many sages, scholars, and translators more than 2550 years ago.

Belonging to Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, Phuktal Monastery celebrates a number of festivals which a must-see here. This attraction in Zanskar can also be visited during the festivities to experience it in the best way. Some of the important festivals celebrated in Phuktal Gompa are Smonlam Chenmo, Chudsum Chodpa, Chonga Chodpa, Gyalwe Jabstan, Jigched Lhachusum Ceremony, Initiation of Vajrabhairava, Syungnas, Yarnas, Gadam Nagchod, and Phukta Gutor.

History of Phuktal Monastery :

The history of Phuktal Monastery states that the present day gompa was established in the early 15th century by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo, a disciple of Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. The natural caves here are said to have existed before 2500 years.

According to the legend when Jangsem Sherap Zangpo came here, he showed miraculous signs and caused a spring to run from the cave, a tree to grow on top of the cave, and the size of the caverns to grow larger.

Architecture of Phuktal Monastery


The architecture of Phuktal Monastery is primarily Tibetan in style. The monastery has a main temple, prayer rooms, a library, living quarters, teaching facilities, a kitchen, and the sacred spring which was miraculously was created by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo.

Major Highlights of Phuktal Monastery

  • Natural Caves
  • Main Temple
  • Trekking to the Gompa
  • Festivals

Best Time to Visit Phuktal Monastery

The best time to visit Phuktal Monastery is during one of the festivals celebrated here. Other than that, Phuktal can be visited between June and September.

How to Reach Phuktal Monastery?

Phuktal monastery is accessible only on foot. The trek to Phuktal Gompa begins from the villages of Cha or Khangsaar. It is a day’s hike to Phutkal from the villages.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Where is Phuktal located & what is the best way to reach?

Phuktal Monastery is situated in Lungnak Valley in Zanskar Region of Ladakh. The only way to reach Phuktal is by trekking from the villages of Cha and Khangsaar.

Q. Is there a festival to see in Phuktal Monastery?

Yes, there are a number of festivals celebrated in Phuktal Monastery like Smonlam Chenmo, Chudsum Chodpa, Chonga Chodpa, Gyalwe Jabstan, Jigched Lhachusum Ceremony, Initiation of Vajrabhairava, Syungnas, Yarnas, Gadam Nagchod, and Phukta Gutor.

Q. How old is Phuktal Monastery & which sect of Buddhism does it belong to?

The current Phuktal Monastery is a 15th century structure but it has caves that are as old as 2500 years. It comes under Gelug or Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Q. What is the major attraction in Phuktal Monastery?

The natural caves, festivals, main temple, and the opportunity of trekking are the major attractions of Phuktal Monastery.

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