Explore Dhankar Village: Monastery, Culture, and Treks in Spiti Valley

 In Hotels, India, Places To Visit, Spiti, Things to do, Travel, Travel Tips, Valley

Dhankar Village, located high up in the Spiti Valley of Himachal Pradesh, India, is known for its stunning beauty and ancient history. Situated at about 3,894 metres (12,774 feet) above sea level, it offers amazing views and is a great place to visit in Spiti if you love nature and adventure.

The village is famous for its old Dhankar Monastery, which sits on a cliff overlooking where two rivers, Spiti and Pin, come together. This monastery is very old and has beautiful Buddhist art inside. It’s a peaceful place where people go to feel calm and think about life and is one of the best things to do in Spiti.

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If you enjoy hiking, there’s a short walk from the village to Dhankar Lake, a quiet lake surrounded by mountains covered in snow. It’s a perfect place for taking photos and relaxing. Listing certain Things To Pack For Your Spiti Valley for a safe and memorable travel experience.

The people who live in Dhankar Village are mostly Tibetan and are friendly and kind. They live a simple life, farming and taking care of animals. Visiting Dhankar lets you experience their culture and traditions firsthand.

Whether you’re walking around, exploring the monastery, or just enjoying the views, Dhankar Village is a place you won’t forget with our Spiti Tour Packages!

How to reach Dhankar Village

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Reaching Dhankar village is an adventure in itself. The village is around 34 kilometres from Kaza, in Spiti Valley. You can get to Kaza by road from either Shimla or Manali. The roads are often rough and winding, but the views are awesome. You’ll see the Spiti River, mountains, and deep gorges along the way. Despite the challenging roads, the journey is worth it for the beautiful scenery.

A Village with a Rich History

Dhankar village has a fascinating history. The name ‘Dhankar’ means ‘Fort on a Cliff,’ and the village is home to an ancient fort that is over a thousand years old. This fort, which once served as a jail, stands tall on a cliff, offering a glimpse into the past and the strategic importance of the location.

The Dhankar Monastery

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One of the main attractions in Dhankar village is the Dhankar Monastery. This ancient monastery is perched on a cliff, overlooking the point where the Spiti and Pin rivers meet. Built around 1200 years ago, the monastery is a treasure trove of Buddhist art and culture. Inside, you’ll find beautiful murals, thankas (Buddhist paintings on cloth), and statues, including a unique statue of Dhyan Buddha with four figures seated back to back.

Visiting the monastery allows you to witness the monks’ daily prayers and rituals. These spiritual practices offer a peaceful and enlightening experience. Additionally, the monastery provides stunning views of the valley and mountains, making it a perfect spot for photographers and nature lovers alike.

The Dhankar Lake

A short trek to Dhankar Lake from Dhankar Village will take you to Dhankar Lake, a calm and beautiful high-altitude lake. The trek is moderately challenging and takes about 1-2 hours. Once you reach the lake, you’ll be greeted by crystal-clear waters surrounded by snow-capped peaks. It’s an ideal place for relaxation and meditation, with its peaceful environment and stunning scenery.

Experiencing Local Culture

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Dhankar village, like the rest of Spiti Valley, has a rich Tibetan Buddhist culture. The locals are primarily of Tibetan descent and are known for their warmth and hospitality. They lead simple lives, mainly relying on farming and livestock for their livelihood. You’ll see fields of barley, peas, and potatoes, which are the main crops grown here.

Festivals are an important part of life in Dhankar village. Losar, the Tibetan New Year, is celebrated with traditional dances, music, and rituals. Another significant festival is the Chaam dance festival, where monks perform masked dances to drive away evil spirits. Participating in these festivals can give you a deeper understanding of the local culture and traditions.

Suggested Read: Stargazing in Spiti Valley

Staying in Dhankar

Accommodation in Dhankar village is basic but comfortable. There are a few guesthouses and homestays where you can stay. Staying in a homestay is a unique experience, allowing you to live with a local family, enjoy home-cooked meals, and learn about their way of life. While you won’t find luxury amenities, the simple and cosy accommodations, along with the warm hospitality, make your stay memorable.

Things to Do in Dhankar

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  • Trekking and Hiking: Besides the trek to Dhankar Lake, there are several other trekking routes around the village. These treks in Spiti offer stunning views and the chance to explore the natural beauty of the area.
  • Photography: Dhankar village is a paradise for photographers. The unique landscape, ancient monastery, and views provide endless opportunities for capturing stunning images.
  • Cultural Immersion: Spending time with the locals, learning about their way of life, participating in their festivals, and experiencing their daily routines can be a deeply enriching experience.
  • Visit Nearby Villages: Exploring nearby villages of Spiti Valley like Lhalung and Kungri can offer more insights into the local culture and traditions of Spiti Valley.

Best Time to Visit Dhankar

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The best time to visit Spiti, Dhankar village is during the summer months, from May to September. During this period, the weather is pleasant, and the roads are generally open and accessible. Winter, on the other hand, can be harsh, with heavy snowfall blocking the roads and making travel difficult. However, if you’re well-prepared for the cold, winter can also be a fascinating time to visit, offering a chance to see snow-covered landscapes.

Respecting the Environment and Culture

When visiting Dhankar village, it’s important to be respectful of the environment and local culture in Spiti. The region’s ecosystem is fragile, so avoid littering and make sure to carry back any waste. Dress modestly, especially when visiting religious sites, and seek permission before photographing people.

Challenges and Precautions

Travelling to Dhankar village comes with its challenges. The high altitude can cause altitude sickness, so it’s essential to acclimatise properly. Drink plenty of water, avoid strenuous activities initially, and consider carrying medication for altitude sickness.

The roads can be rough and prone to landslides, especially during the monsoon season. It’s advisable to travel with experienced drivers who are familiar with the terrain. Ensure your vehicle is in good condition and carry essential supplies, as facilities can be sparse along the way.

Suggested Read: Travel tips for Spiti

Connecting with Nature

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Dhankar Village offers a unique opportunity to connect with nature. The pristine environment, clear skies, and lack of urban noise make it an ideal place for nature lovers. Whether you’re hiking through the mountains, sitting by the lake, or simply enjoying the view from your guesthouse, you’ll find plenty of moments to appreciate the beauty of the natural world.

A Spiritual Retreat

For those seeking spiritual growth or simply a break from the hectic pace of modern life, Dhankar village is a perfect destination. The peaceful environment, coupled with the spiritual ambiance of the monastery, provides a setting conducive to meditation and reflection. Many visitors find that their time in Dhankar helps them reconnect with themselves and gain a new perspective on life.

Local Cuisine

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Food in Dhankar is simple but delicious. The local food in Spiti is influenced by Tibetan and Himachali flavours. You can enjoy dishes like thukpa (noodle soup), momos (dumplings), and various lentil-based dishes. The ingredients are often locally sourced, adding to the authenticity of the meals. Don’t miss trying chhang, a local barley beer, which is a traditional drink in the region.

Preserving Dhankar’s Heritage

Dhankar’s cultural and historical heritage is something that needs to be preserved. Efforts are being made to restore the old fort and monastery. As a visitor, you can contribute to these efforts by respecting the local customs and supporting local businesses. By doing so, you help ensure that future generations can also experience the beauty and history of Dhankar.

Suggested Read: Monasteries in Lahaul Spiti

Planning Your Trip

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Planning a trip to Dhankar requires some preparation. Ensure you have warm clothing, as temperatures can drop significantly, especially at night. Carry essential supplies like medicines, snacks, and extra batteries, as shops in the village are limited. It’s also a good idea to inform someone about your travel plans and have emergency contacts handy.

Local Wildlife

Dhankar and the surrounding Spiti Valley are home to various species of wildlife. If you’re lucky, you might spot animals like the snow leopard, Himalayan blue sheep, and ibex. Birdwatchers can also enjoy spotting various high-altitude birds. Remember to maintain a safe distance and avoid disturbing the wildlife.

A Photographer’s Dream

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For photography enthusiasts, Dhankar offers endless opportunities. The landscape, changing light conditions, and cultural elements provide a canvas for the best photography spots in Spiti. Whether you’re capturing the sunrise over the mountains, the intricate details of the monastery, or the daily life of the villagers, you’ll find plenty of inspiration.

Community and Sustainability

The people of Dhankar are working towards sustainable living. Many households use solar energy for heating and electricity. By staying in local guesthouses and buying local products, you can support these sustainable practices. Engaging with the community and understanding their efforts toward sustainability can be a rewarding experience.

A Journey to Remember

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A trip to Dhankar Village is more than just a holiday; it’s a journey into a different world. The combination of natural beauty, historical significance, and rich culture makes it a unique destination. Whether you’re seeking adventure, peace, or spiritual growth, Dhankar has something special to offer.

As you explore the ancient monastery, trek to the serene lake, and interact with the friendly locals, you’ll create memories that will last a lifetime. So pack your bags, prepare for an unforgettable journey, and get ready to experience the magic of Dhankar Village.

Suggested Read: Kibber Village, Spiti Valley

What is Dhankar Village famous for?

Dhankar Village is famous for its ancient Dhankar Monastery, situated dramatically on a cliff overlooking the junction of the Spiti and Pin rivers. It’s known for its rich Buddhist history, stunning architecture, and peaceful atmosphere.

What is the best time to visit Dhankar Village?

The best time to visit Spiti, Dhankar Village is during the summer months, from May to September. During this period, the weather is pleasant, and the roads are generally open and accessible, allowing visitors to enjoy trekking, sightseeing, and exploring without weather-related disruptions.

What activities can visitors engage in while in Dhankar Village?

Visitors to Dhankar Village can engage in various activities such as trekking to Dhankar Lake, exploring the ancient Dhankar Monastery, witnessing Buddhist rituals, enjoying photography overlooking pretty landscapes, and experiencing the local culture through interactions with Tibetan-descended villagers.

Are there any accommodation options in Dhankar Village?

Dhankar Village offers basic accommodation options like guesthouses and homestays. These provide comfortable lodging where visitors can experience local hospitality, enjoy home-cooked meals, and immerse themselves in the ambiance of the Spiti Valley.

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