Exploring the Spiritual Serenity of Stakna Monastery in Ladakh

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Stakna Monastery or Stakna Gompa is a Buddhist monastery of the Drugpa sect in Leh district, Ladakh, northern India, 21 or 25 kilometres from Leh on the left bank of the Indus River. Stakna Monastery has a residence of approximately 30 monks. The name Stakna, literally means ‘tiger’s nose,’ since the hillock in the monastery appears to be of the shape of the nose of the tiger. Discover the major point of interest of Stakna Gompa in our Ladakh travel packages which is the sacred Arya Avalokitesvara statue that was brought from Kamrup, Assam.

The architecture of Stakna Monastery in Leh Ladakh is of Tibetan style. It has an assembly hall or the Dukhang which is adorned with several murals and paintings of Sakyamuni and Amchi. There’s a 7ft tall silver gilded chorten in the courtyard. Several stunning paintings of Buddhist gurus like PadmaSambhava and Bodhisattva decorates the monastery. Do check our ultimate guide to Ladakh to get your queries answered.

Stakna Monastery in Leh Ladakh Timings

The monastery is open for visitors from 6 AM to 6 PM every day, including Sundays. It is open even on all public holidays but remains closed from 1 pm to 2 pm during lunch hours.

Stakna Monastery Entry Fee

There is an entry fee of Rs. 30 per person for visiting the monastery.

Permits

No, you do not need to obtain a permit for visiting the monastery. You can just reach there, buy the ticket and enter. Inner Line Permit is in fact not required to visit anywhere in Leh City.

It is only needed when you travel from Leh to other areas of Ladakh like Nubra or Pangong. You can just reach Stakna and visit the monastery without needing to get any permit at all.

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History of Stakna Monastery

The history of Stakna Monastery states that it was founded in the 16th century by a Bhutanese scholar and saint, Chosje Jamyang Palkar.

Best time to visit Stakna Monastery 

You might be wondering what is the Best time to visit Stakna Monastery ? 

The best time to visit Stakna Monastery is between July and September as the roads are clear of snow and the weather is also pleasant. In these months, the weather is favourable, roads are all open and accommodation is easily available. 

If you are travelling to Ladakh in November or winter months, you will have to board a flight to Leh and then reach Stakna from there.

How to reach Stakna Monastery 

The best way to reach Stakna Monastery is to take a taxi or rent a bike from Leh, which is 25 km away.

  • How to reach Stakna by Bus

If you were not travelling by your own vehicle and were depending on public transport, then there are several buses that you can board to reach Stakna Monastery.

There is a direct Bus to Stakna from Leh City , then arrives at the village. For the reverse journey, there is a daily bus from Stakna at 8.45 am that reaches Leh. But this is really not the only Bus that you will have to rely upon. Apart from the bus, there are 5 other buses to Sakti from Leh and you can board either of them.

The only condition is that you will have to get down on the Manali Leh Highway near the bridge and walk a little to get to the monastery which is less than a kilometre away.

  • Rented Bikes, Scooters & Bicycles

This is among the next best options for sightseeing in Leh town. Even if you were not a confident rider and did not want to go crossing high altitude passes on your own, you can still rent a bike in Leh town.

An automatic scooter will cost about Rs. 800 – 1000 per day and a motorcycle will cost about 1200 – 1500 per day.

  • Private Taxis

You can also rent a private taxi either for just Stakna or an entire day sightseeing around Leh City. This also is a great option if within budget.

Attractions at the Stakna Monastery

There are so many attractions at the Stakna Monastery which you can explore. One thing that you should know about every monastery is that they are religious places where people pray. So everything in there is going to be related to Buddhist or Tibetan culture, religion, and history.

If that is not something of your interest, then you should best skip visiting any monastery at all. But most of the monasteries also have an ace up their sleeves in the form of the location where they are built.

That is also the best part of Stakna Monastery. From its roof, you will get a panoramic and stunning view of the wide ranges, the Indus River, the green valley, and the barren peaks. There are so many places to visit near Stakna Monastery.

Among other places to visit in Ladakh, this is the less crowded monastery that not many tourists visit. The inside of the monastery is very colourful with beautifully painted wooden pillars and walls decorated with intricate paintings of many Buddhist gurus like Bodhisattva, Tshong-san-Gompa, and PadmaSambhava.

Some places to visit near Stakna Monastery which you can include with your trip to Stakna are the monasteries of Thiksey, Hemis, Shey, and Druk White Lotus School (Rancho School). 

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Accommodation at Stakna Monastery 

There is no option of staying overnight at the monastery which a lot of people plan for. The best thing to do would be to stay in Leh and plan a day visit to Stakna.

Things to do in Stakna Monastery 

There are so many things to do in Stakna Monastery which offers a blend of spiritual, cultural, and scenic experiences. Moreover, there are many other things to do in Ladakh that must be experienced. 

  • Explore the Monastery
  • Main Temple: Visit the main temple, which houses a beautiful statue of Avalokitesvara and various other deities.
  • Prayer Hall: Observe the monks chanting prayers and performing rituals in the prayer hall. It is the best thing to do in Stakna Monastery.
  • Murals and Artworks: Admire the intricate murals, frescoes, and thangkas adorning the walls of the monastery.
  • Interact with Monks
  • Learn About Buddhism: Engage with the resident monks to learn about the teachings of Buddhism and their way of life.
  • Attend Prayers and Ceremonies: If allowed, participate in or observe the daily prayers and ceremonies.  It is the best thing to do in Stakna Monastery.
  • Enjoy Scenic Views
  • Panoramic Vistas:  It is the best thing to do in Stakna Monastery. Enjoy the breathtaking views of the Indus Valley and the surrounding mountains from the monastery’s elevated location.
  • Photography: Capture the serene landscape and the architectural beauty of the monastery. You will love capturing the beautiful shots at Stakna Monastery.
  • Meditation and Reflection
  • Peaceful Environment: Use the tranquil surroundings for meditation and self-reflection. It is the best thing to do in Stakna Monastery. 
  • Meditation Sessions: Some monasteries in Ladakh offer guided meditation sessions; check if Stakna provides such opportunities.
  • Explore the Surroundings
  • Indus River: Take a walk along the banks of the Indus River and enjoy the natural beauty of the area.
  • Hiking: Explore nearby trails for short hikes that offer stunning views of the region. 
  • Photography and Sketching
  • Landscape Photography: The monastery’s location provides excellent opportunities for landscape photography. It is the best thing to do in Stakna Monastery.

Sketching: Artists can bring their sketchbooks to capture the beauty of the monastery and its surroundings.

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Festivals Celebrated at Stakna Monastery

  • Spituk Gustor Festival

Spituk Gustor Festival is a celebration of peace and prosperity. A symbol of traditional Ladakhi culture and traditions, this two-day festival showcases vibrantly colourful festivities. It is celebrated at the Spituk Monastery which is located approximately 8 km away from Leh.

This festival is an annual celebration held at the Spituk Monastery in Ladakh, India. This vibrant festival, occurring in the 11th month of the Tibetan calendar, typically falls in January. The monastery belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, and the festival has been celebrated for centuries as a tribute to the victory of good over evil.

  • Dosmochey Festival

The Dosmochey Festival, also known simply as Dosmoche, is one of the significant annual festivals in the Ladakh region of India. Celebrated with much enthusiasm and religious fervour.

The origins of the Dosmochey Festival date back to the reign of King Lhachen Gyalpo, a king from the Namgyal dynasty of Ladakh. The festival was established to ward off evil spirits and ensure the well-being and prosperity of the region. Traditionally, it marks the end of the Tibetan New Year celebrations, falling in the last and first month of the Tibetan lunar calendar, which corresponds to late February or early March. The Dosmochey Festival is a captivating blend of spiritual rituals, cultural performances, and community spirit.

  • Stok Guru Tsechu Festival

Stok Guru Tsechu Festival is a significant religious event celebrated in the quaint village of Stok, located in the Leh district of Ladakh, India. The festival is celebrated in honour of Guru Padmasambhava, which is also known as Guru Rinpoche, who is credited with bringing Buddhism to Tibet.

The Stok Guru Tsechu Festival is a fascinating blend of spiritual rituals, cultural performances, and community bonding.

  • Matho Nagrang Festival

Matho Nagrang Festival is a vibrant and spiritually significant event celebrated at the Matho Monastery in Ladakh, India. This annual festival in Ladakh, held on the 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. 

The festival is dedicated to the Buddhist deities and the practice of oracles. Matho Monastery, the only Sakya monastery in Ladakh, plays a crucial role in preserving the unique cultural and religious traditions of the region. The festival is believed to have been initiated by Lama Dugpa Dorje in the 16th century.

The Matho Nagrang Festival is a unique celebration of Ladakh’s rich cultural heritage and religious traditions. It is an event that combines spiritual rituals, traditional performances, and community engagement. For those interested in experiencing the mysticism and vibrant culture of Ladakh, the Matho Nagrang Festival is an unmissable event that promises an unforgettable experience.

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  • Shey Doo Lhoo Festival

Shey Doo Lhoo Festival is an important and vibrant celebration held at the Shey Monastery, located near Leh in Ladakh, India. This festival, also known as the “Shey Festival,” is deeply rooted in the region’s Buddhist traditions and cultural heritage.

The Shey Doo Lhoo Festival is observed to honour the birth anniversary of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), the revered Indian sage who is credited with spreading Buddhism in Tibet and the Himalayan regions. The Shey Doo Lhoo Festival is a vibrant expression of Ladakh’s rich cultural and spiritual traditions. Whether you are a cultural enthusiast or a spiritual seeker, the Shey Doo Lhoo Festival promises an enriching and memorable experience.

  • Saka Dawa Festival

The Saka Dawa Festival is one of the most significant and sacred festivals in Tibetan Buddhism. This auspicious month, particularly the full moon day, is considered extremely holy by Buddhists and is observed with great devotion and enthusiasm.

Saka Dawa is named after the star “Saka” which is prominent during the fourth month, and “Dawa” means month in Tibetan. The festival commemorates the three major events in the life of Buddha Shakyamuni:

  1. Birth: Siddhartha Gautama was born in Lumbini.
  2. Enlightenment: He attained enlightenment under the Bodhi tree in Bodh Gaya.
  3. Parinirvana: He passed away in Kushinagar.

Attending the Saka Dawa Festival offers a profound glimpse into Tibetan Buddhist traditions and the deep spiritual devotion of its followers. For those seeking a spiritual and cultural immersion, Saka Dawa provides an unparalleled opportunity to connect with the essence of Buddhism and its timeless teachings on compassion and wisdom.

  • Sindhu Darshan Festival

The Sindhu Darshan Festival is a vibrant cultural celebration held annually on the banks of the Indus River in the region of Ladakh, India. This festival, usually taking place around the June full moon, is a tribute to the River Indus, which is one of the longest rivers in the world and holds immense historical and cultural significance.

The festival’s name, “Sindhu Darshan,” translates to “a glimpse of the Indus,” highlighting the reverence for the river that has been a cradle of ancient civilizations, including the Indus Valley Civilization.

The Sindhu Darshan Festival is a unique blend of cultural celebration, spiritual reflection, and adventure in Ladakh. Attending this festival offers a profound experience of Ladakhi traditions, natural beauty, and the rich cultural tapestry of India. Whether you are a culture enthusiast, an adventure seeker, or a spiritual traveller, the Sindhu Darshan Festival provides an unforgettable journey into the heart of Ladakh.

  • Hemis Tsechu Festival

Hemis Tsechu Festival is one of the most significant and vibrant religious festivals in Ladakh, celebrated with great enthusiasm at the Hemis Monastery, the largest and wealthiest monastery in the region. 

The Hemis Monastery, established in 1672 by King Sengge Namgyal, plays a pivotal role in Ladakh’s spiritual and cultural heritage. The festival is also an occasion for social gatherings, reinforcing community bonds and cultural identity.

The Hemis Tsechu Festival is a spectacular celebration of Ladakhi culture, spirituality, and tradition. It offers a unique opportunity to witness the rich cultural heritage of Ladakh, the spiritual fervour of the Buddhist community, and the breathtaking beauty of the Hemis Monastery. Whether you are a spiritual seeker, a cultural enthusiast, or an adventure traveller, the Hemis Tsechu Festival promises an unforgettable journey into the heart of Ladakh’s spiritual and cultural life.

Conclusion

I hope WanderOn has provided you with the information about the Stakna Monastery which was of help. Plan your visit today and explore this beautiful place on the roof of the world.

How far is Stakna from Leh & what is the best way to reach it?

Stakna Monastery is approximately 25 kilometres (about 16 miles) from Leh. The best way to reach it is by road. You can hire a taxi or rent a car from Leh. Also, local buses and shared taxis are available from Leh to the monastery.

How old is Stakna Monastery & which sect of Buddhism does it belong to?

Stakna Monastery is a 16th century monastery. It comes under Bhutanese Drukpa Kagyu of Buddhism.

What is the major attraction in Stakna Monastery?

The tall statue of Arya Avalokiteshvara is the major attraction of Stakna Monastery.

Are there accommodation options near Stakna Monastery?

Yes there are accommodations available wherein you can stay. Some of the hotels available are: “Dakpa House”, “Shashi guesthouse”, and so many.

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