Sunday, 26 February 2012

Diskit Monastery - Nubra Valley, Ladakh

Diskit Monastey

A very sought after jeep safari from Leh is that of Nubra Valley. After starting at early morning from Leh and covering  40 km, one is delighted to have visited the highest motorable pass in the world - Khardung-la. Another 56 km drive and one arrives at Khalsar. From Khalsar one can take a detour to Shyok valley and proceed to Sumur and Panamik. Alternately one can drive on 20 km to Diskit, famous for its ‘cold desert’, which is full of sand dunes. 

On 2nd of June 2010, on our return journey from Hundar village, with plenty of time in our hand, it was worth while visiting Diskit monastery - the largest in the Nubra valley. On the way we came  across a beautiful looking Monastic School, run by Monastery administration. 
Lama School
Alighting from jeep, we entered the huge compound.  The gigantic Buddha statue structure was being freshly painted and spruced up on the eve of His Holiness Dalai Lama’s visit.
Buddha statue being painted
From School compound we got an awesome view of seven storied Diskit Gompa clutching the mountain side.

View of Diskit Monastery from Lama School
We resumed our short journey towards the Diskit Gompa and on the way come across students from Monastic School carrying the big diameter cable or pipe, whatever.
Lama Students on job

A climb to seven storied Diskit Gompa through a few hundred steps takes some time and effort; but the effort is adequately rewarded. From elevation of upper stories of the Gompa, the panorama of hills and the greenery around the Diskit village looks spectacular. After negotiating Final flight of steps, we get a view of Gompa hall; it looks spectacular, with the court yard painted with murals.
Vista from Diskit Monastery
The Lama School, with gigantic Buddha statue, on the backside on a small hillock looked imposing.
View from Diskit Monastery
The Gompa Hall, housing Buddha idol, was dimly lit compared to other Gompas like Shey and Thiksey. As camera flash is not supposed to be used hence a good shot in low lighting conditions proved to be difficult. Also, there was objection to video camera to be used in this monastery. The Buddha idol appeared to be installed in a rectangular box, recessed into wall.  

Inside Diskit Gompa
I get another image of a close-up of Buddha idol.
Buddha idol - a close-up
The Gompa Hall walls are decorated with Thangkas or painted scrolls. 
From Nubra Valley, we drove towards the Shyok valley. From road, a view of Shyok river with a very low level of water during early summer, breaking into many small rivulets, created some kind of abstract painting in sand.
Shyok river in Shyok valley
Having written a few words on various Gompas of Ladakh, some readers may feel tad monotonous on this aspect of Ladakh. If one is at Ladakh, he cannot wish away Gompas and Chortens, which are fountain heads of Buddhist religion and will make their appearance in every possible destination. These mountain clutching multistoried structures, invariably give a kind of divine dimension to the mountains of this Trans-Himalayan region and from layman’s point of view, break the monotony of the rugged hills.  

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