Diskit Monastery: Ladakh Travel Guide

Diskit Monastery
Introduction

Diskit Monastery in Ladakh is not only the oldest but also the largest Buddhist monastery in the region. Also known as Deskit monastery, this famous Buddhist Gompa is located in Nubra Valley, Ladakh. The main attraction of the monastery is the statue of Maitreya Buddha placed in the prayer hall of the Gompa. Besides, various images of other guardian gods, as well as a huge drum, adds awe to the sight. The monastery’s cupola is the same as the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet. Diskit Gompa in Ladakh is controlled by the Gelugpa sect (Yellow Hat) of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo, a disciple of Tsong Khapa, founder of Gelugpa, during the 14th century. Diskit Monastery is operated under the administration of Thiksey Monastery. It also runs a school for Tibetan children supported by an NGO named Lungta.

Every year Diskit monastery plays host to the popular Dosmoche festival, held during the month of February, which is a famous tourist attraction in Nubra Valley.

Things to see in Diskit Monastery

Diskit Monastery is one of the major attractions in Nubra Valley, Ladakh. There are many things to see in and nearby the monastery. Below is what you can see in and around Diskit Monastery.

The Diskit Monastery Complex

The milky white monastery nestled at the top of a hill is a delight to the eyes and the soul. The hiking trail that takes you to the monastery goes alongside the beautiful white Chortens.

The monastery is gorgeously decorated with intricate frescoes and wall paintings. The huge drums and images of the Buddhist guardian deities inside the prayer hall Dukhang welcome visitors in the world of classic Buddhist art. There is a cupola in the Diskit Monastery that really charms you with a mural depicting the Tashilhunpo Monastery in Tibet.

The storehouse of the Diskit monastery is a treasure trove of Tibetan culture.  You can explore various memorials, and Mongolian and Tibetan religious documents preserved here. Diskit Monastery has an interesting story connected with it.  The story says, Once there was an evil and anti-Buddhist demon lived near the monastery. The demon was killed in the monastery but was resurrected many times even after his destruction. The demon’s wrinkled head and hand are said to be there in one of the temples of the monastery even today.

You can enjoy the panoramic view of the Diskit Village and the surrounding spectacular landscape from the top of the monastery. This is the most attractive part of the Diskit monastery that you just cannot miss.

Diskit Village – Nubra

Diskit is the headquarter of Nubra Valley and the village is amongst the popular destinations in Ladakh for the double-humped Bactrian camel, scenic landscapes, its amazing night sky, and the exciting desert. 

The Nubra River

The Nubra River which is a tributary of the Shyok River flowing parallel to the Indus River on the northern side of the Ladakh Range is another attraction in the valley. You can visit the river to enjoy the stunning scenery. Nubra valley for being located at a lower altitude enjoys a favorable climate for lush vegetation. This is the reason Nubra Valley is known as the “Orchard of Ladakh”.

Hunder village

Hunder village is a top attraction in Nubra Valley for its sand dunes. It is located just 8 km from Diskit. Hunder is popular among tourists for its double-humped Bactrian camel rides, charming hamlets, and stargazing.

A trip to Nubra Valley including Diskit and Hunder is the primary attraction in Ladakh tour itinerary. A 2-day trip from Leh to Nubra Valley will allow you to enjoy all these things.

How to Reach Diskit Monastery

Diskit Monastery is located in Nubra Valley at a distance of 116 km from Leh. One has to cross the snow-clad Khardung La Pass to reach the valley. You can hire a cab or taxi to reach the monastery from Leh. The state-run buses also run in the route but the convenient way is to hire a taxi. For adventure seekers, a bike trip in Ladakh is a popular option to visit Diskit Monastery in Nubra Valley.

The route from Leh to Diskit Monastery goes like this: Leh – Khardung La Pass (40 KMs) – Khardung Village (34 KMs) – Khalsar (23 KMs) – Diskit (19 KMs) = 116 KMs.

Best Time to Visit

Like the rest of the Ladakh, the best time to visit Diskit is from May to September. During this time the roads are open for the tourists and the weather is favorable for sightseeing.

If you can beat the chill then visiting Diskit in January / February will allow you to enjoy the ‘Dosmoche’  festival in Diskit. Also known as the festival of the scapegoat, this is a popular festival in Diskit celebrated with a lot of enthusiasm.

During winter, both the Manali-Leh and Srinagar-Leh roads remain closed. So one needs to fly to Leh and from there to visit the Diskit Monastery.

Opening and Closing time

Diskit Monastery remains open every day of the week from 7:00 AM to 12:00 PM & again from 01:00 PM to 7:00 PM. You can enter the monastery by paying an amount of INR 30 per head.

Mobile Connectivity

BSNL postpaid connections and Airtel gets the best network signal in Ladakh. Once you cross the high Khardung La pass and reach Nubra Valley, you will receive the signal. BSNL postpaid connection works fine in Diskit and Hunder Village.

Road condition to reach Diskit Monastery

The road condition from Leh to Dikit, the headquarter of Nubra valley, is quite good. The higher ground clearance vehicles are most preferred to travel from Leh to Nubra Valley. SUVs are ideal to cross the high passes of Khardung La to visit the Diskit Monastery.

Other Important tips

Diskit Monastery is a popular tourist sight and also a revered religious place. One needs to follow some strict rules while visiting the place. Find below travel guide for Diskit Monastery in Nubra valley.

  • It’s important to note that photography is not allowed inside the prayer hall and the museum at Diskit Monastery.
  • Please follow the monastery rules and ask before taking a photograph of any monk. 
  • Do not touch the statues or any other asset and respect the holy place.
  • Travelers are advised to consult their doctors before starting the trip to Nubra Valley and Ladakh to avoid mountain sickness.
  • Once you reach Leh, take rest to acclimatize yourself properly.
  • Ladakh experiences extreme climatic conditions, especially in winter.
  • As of 2016, the Diskit petrol pump remains fully functional even during the winter season in Nubra Valley. 
  • You can undoubtedly rely on the Diskit petrol pump for fuel availability to travel to nearby places.

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