Phuktal Gompa

Phuktal Monastery or Phuktal Gompa is one of the most isolated monastery in the south-eastern Zanskar region in Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir in northern India. The monastery is a unique construction of mud and timber built at the entrance of a natural cave on the cliff face of a lateral gorge of a major tributary of the Lungnak (Lingti-Tsarap) River. From a distance, the monastery looks like a giant honeycomb.

Phuktal Gompa was founded in the early 12th century by Gangsem Sherap Sampo, a disciple of Gelug founderTsongkhapa. Although the monastery was constructed in 12th century, it was hidden treasure for many until Hungaraian Alexander Cosmo de Koros visited the place and stayed between the periods of 1826-27.

Phuktal’s design and isolated location is of spiritual significance because ancient travelling monks sheltered and meditated in the caves of this area. The monastery has four prayer rooms, a library, teaching facilities, a kitchen, guest rooms and living quarters for approximately 70 monks in residence. Frescoes and ceiling decorate the old chapel and are popular with tourists.

Phuktal Gompa is one of the few Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh that can be reached only on foot. To reach Padum, one has to take a cab from Padum to Raru, where the road ends, and the trekking starts from there. A day’s or two’s walk will lead you to Phugtal via two small villages - Chatang and Purne. The monastery is about 7 km from Purne.