Zongkhul Monastery, Zanskar

  • imageZanskar
  • Ladakh

About Zongkhul Monastery Zanskar, Ladakh

Once the meditation place for Naropa, a celebrated Indian Buddhist yogi, from the renowned Vikramshila University in Bihar, Zongkhul Monastery is an important attraction in Zanskar Region. Located on the south-western end of Bardur River in Stod Valley, Zongkhul Gompa or Dzongkhul Gompa belongs to the Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Zongkhul has been famous as the meditation place for many yogis. In fact, at the entrance of this popular monastery in Zanskar, one can see the footprint of Naropa in the rock. Impressions of his ceremonial dagger and staff are also said to be in the rocks in his meditation cave.

Apart from this, the monastery contains images and thangkas of famous Drukpa lamas along with the some of the frescoes on the cave walls created almost 300 years ago by Zhadpa Dorje, a famous painter and scholar. The gompa also houses a rich collection of artifacts like an ivory image of Samvara, a crystal stupa, and spiritual songs and biographies.

Another major attraction of Zongkhul Gompa is the Zongkhul Huchot festival which is held on the 16th and 17th days of the fourth Tibetan month. The festival is indeed the best time to visit Zongkhul Monastery but expect no masked dance performances in it.

History of Zongkhul Monastery


The history of Zongkhul Monastery dates back to the time of Naropa (956-1041 CE) who is said to have meditated here in a cave around the gompa. Thus, Zongkhul can be called a 10th or 11th monastery. However, it became a flourishing Kagyu meditation centre under the Zanskari yogi, Ngawang Tsering (1717-1794).

Highlights of Zongkhul Monastery :

  • Footprint of Naropa in a rock
  • Impressions of Naropa’s ceremonial dagger and staff
  • 300 years old frescoes created by Zhadpa Dorje
  • Ivory image of Samvara
  • Crystal stupa
  • Zongkhul Huchot festival

Best Time to Visit Zongkhul Monastery

The best time to visit Zongkhul Gompa is during the annual Zongkhul Huchot festival during which one can see celebrations in the monastery.

How to Reach Zongkhul Monastery?

The best way to reach Zongkhul Monastery is by trekking since there are no motorable roads leading up to the gompa.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How far is Zongkhul from Padum & what is the best way to reach?

Zongkhul Monastery is situated at a distance of 29 km from Leh. Hiring a cab or renting a bike till a specific point and then trekking to the monastery is the best ways to reach here.

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

Yes, Zongkhul Huchot festival is an annual event that can be witnessed in Zongkhul Gompa.

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

Zongkhul Monastery is a 10th or 11th century monastery. It comes under Drukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism.

Q. What is the major attraction in Zongkhul Monastery?

The footprints and impression of the ceremonial dagger and staff of Naropa are the major attractions of Zongkhul Monastery.

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