Dhankar Monastery: A Spiritual Journey in the Himalayas

 In Holidays, Spiti, Travel

Dhankar Monastery, also known as Dhankar Gompa, is an ancient Buddhist monastery in the scenic Spiti Valley. With its rich history, unique architecture, and spiritual significance, it attracts visitors from around the world. Spiti Tour Packages has the main highlight as Dhankar Monastery on the list.

The origins of Dhankar Monastery date back over a thousand years, making it one of the oldest monastic complexes in the region. This ancient site served as a fortress in the past, offering strategic views of the surrounding valley. 

Over time, it transformed into a revered Buddhist monastery, showcasing a blend of traditional Tibetan and Indian architectural styles.

Visiting Dhankar Monastery provides an opportunity to delve into its fascinating history. The monastery’s walls are adorned with colourful murals depicting religious stories and legends, offering insights into Buddhist culture and heritage. There are many things to do in Spiti Valley for a great experience on your visit. Exploring the monastery’s various prayer halls and chambers allows visitors to witness the monks’ daily rituals and experience the serene atmosphere of spiritual devotion.


Dhankar Monastery is a place of historical significance and a natural marvel. Perched on a hilltop, it offers panoramic views of the breathtaking Spiti Valley, with its rugged mountains, deep valleys, and winding rivers. 

The monastery’s vantage point allows visitors to witness the interplay of light and shadow as the sun casts its rays on the surrounding landscape.

For adventure enthusiasts, Dhankar Monastery is a starting point for exhilarating treks. The monastery is located near several picturesque villages, offering opportunities for exploration and cultural immersion. 

Nearby attractions include Dhankar Lake, known for its tranquil beauty, and the villages of Lhalung and Demul, where traditional Spitian customs and lifestyles can be experienced.

Photography enthusiasts will find Dhankar Monastery a fascinating subject, with its unique architecture, stunning vistas, and the presence of monks engrossed in their daily routines. The monastery’s festivals, such as the Dhankar Gustor, provide colourful and vibrant scenes for memorable photographs. 

Route to Dhankar Monastery 


Before Dhankar Monastery, you must know the route to reach Spiti Valley for safe travels. To reach Dhankar Monastery in Spiti Valley, you can follow the following route:

  1. Start from Manali: Begin your journey from Manali, a popular tourist destination in Himachal Pradesh.
  2. Manali to Rohtang Pass: Travel from Manali to Rohtang Pass, approximately 51 kilometers away. Enjoy the scenic beauty of the Himalayan landscapes as you ascend to an altitude of 3,978 meters.
  3. Rohtang Pass to Gramphu: From Rohtang Pass, continue towards Gramphu, around 33 kilometers away. The road offers picturesque views of the mountains and valleys.
  4. Gramphu to Chattru: Proceed from Gramphu to Chattru, approximately 18 kilometers away. The route will take you through rugged terrains and river crossings.
  5. Chattru to Batal: Travel from Chattru to Batal, about 16 kilometers away. Batal is a small village situated at the foot of Kunzum Pass.
  6. Batal to Kunzum Pass: Drive from Batal to Kunzum Pass, approximately 12 kilometers away. Kunzum Pass is located at an altitude of 4,590 meters and offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains.
  7. Kunzum Pass to Losar: From Kunzum Pass, continue towards Losar, which is around 19 kilometers away. Losar is the first village in Spiti Valley and serves as a gateway to the region.
  8. Losar to Kaza: Proceed from Losar to Kaza, approximately 56 kilometres away. Kaza is the largest town in Spiti Valley and serves as the administrative headquarters.
  9. Kaza to Dhankar Monastery: From Kaza, head towards Dhankar Monastery, around 32 kilometers away. Follow the road that passes through scenic landscapes and takes you to the monastery on a hilltop.
Image Source : Tripadvisor

The road conditions in the Spiti Valley can be challenging, especially during winters and monsoons. It is advisable to check weather and road conditions before embarking on the journey and to travel in a suitable vehicle equipped for the terrain.

For those seeking inner peace and tranquillity, Dhankar Monastery hosts meditation retreats, allowing participants to immerse themselves in the teachings of Buddhism and find solace in the serene surroundings. The monastery’s spiritual significance is evident in the peaceful ambience that pervades the entire complex. You should also check the weather guide in Spiti Valley for a comfortable experience. 

Accommodation options near Dhankar Monastery range from homestays in nearby villages to guesthouses in neighbouring towns. Staying in these accommodations allows for interacting with the local community and learning about their traditions and way of life.

A visit to Dhankar Monastery offers a truly offbeat experience away from the bustling tourist circuits. Its remote location, ancient history, and spiritual ambience create a unique atmosphere that leaves a lasting impression on all who venture there.

Frequently Asked Questions About Dhankar Monestry 

1. What is Dhankar Monastery, and where is it located in Spiti Valley?

Dhankar Monastery is a Buddhist monastery in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India. Perched atop a hill at an altitude of around 3,894 meters (12,774 feet), it offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding valley and the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers. 

Dhankar Monastery holds immense historical and cultural significance as it served as the seat of the Spiti Valley’s ruling kings in ancient times. The monastery houses beautiful ancient murals, thangkas (scroll paintings), and a collection of scriptures. It is renowned for its architectural splendour and spiritual ambience, attracting Buddhist pilgrims and curious travellers seeking to explore the region’s rich cultural heritage.

2. What is the significance of Dhankar Monastery in Spiti Valley?

Dhankar Monastery holds great significance in the Spiti Valley, historically and culturally. Firstly, it served as the seat of the Spiti Valley’s rulers in ancient times, making it a centre of political and administrative power. The monastery was crucial to the region’s governance and religious affairs. 

Secondly, Dhankar Monastery symbolizes Buddhist spirituality and serves as a religious and educational institution for the local community. It houses sacred artifacts, ancient scriptures, and vibrant murals that depict Buddhist teachings and legends. The monastery attracts pilgrims and visitors seeking spiritual solace and a deeper understanding of Buddhism’s rich heritage in the Himalayan region.

3. Are there any restrictions or guidelines for visiting Dhankar Monastery?

When visiting Dhankar Monastery in the Spiti Valley, it is essential to adhere to specific guidelines to respect the sanctity of the place. Dress modestly, covering your shoulders and legs to show reverence. Maintain a peaceful environment by speaking softly and refraining from disruptive behaviour. 

Seek permission before taking photographs or videos, and be mindful of restricted areas. Respect religious artefacts and customs, and follow the monastery staff’s instructions. By following these guidelines, visitors can ensure a respectful and meaningful experience at Dhankar Monastery.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment