Sumda Chun Monastery: Explore the Powerhouse of Spirituality in Ladakh

 In India, Ladakh, Travel

Tucked away in Ladakh’s gentle and untamed surroundings, Sumda Chun Monastery is a masterpiece of architecture as well as spiritual devotion. Without a visit to this undiscovered treasure, a Ladakh trip package isn’t complete for those looking for an intensive cultural experience. This historic monastery, which was founded in the eleventh century and is housed in the charming town of Sumda Chun, showcases the rich history and Buddhist customs of the area.

Stunning views of desolate mountains juxtaposed with verdant surroundings welcome guests to the monastery, providing a unique atmosphere that encourages reflection and peace. The monastery’s elaborate paintings, colourful prayer flags, and elaborate stupas captivate tourists with their timeless beauty and ethereal air, providing a window into Ladakh’s rich cultural tapestry.

Any solo trip package or family trip package to Ladakh must include a visit to Sumda Chun Monastery, which offers a tranquil escape from the bustle of everyday life as well as a window into the region’s spiritual past.

History & Origin

Image Source :

With a history spanning more than a thousand years, the origins of Sumda Chun Monastery are lost in the mists of time. Nestled in the isolated town of Sumda Chun, Ladakh, India, this historic monastery is an important part of the religious and cultural legacy of the area.

According to legend, the 11th-century Buddhist sage Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo was the founder of Sumda Chun Monastery. Known as the Great Translator, Rinchen Zangpo established many monasteries and temples in the Himalayan area and was a key figure in the spread of Buddhism during his lifetime. Among his numerous contributions to the growth of Buddhism in Ladakh is thought to be the Sumda Chun Monastery.

The monastery saw several renovations and additions over the ages, reflecting the changing regional architectural trends and religious customs. Its remote setting in the middle of Ladakh’s rough terrain provided monks and practitioners on spiritual retreat and enlightenment with a safe sanctuary.

Sumda Chun Monastery has endured natural calamities and political changes throughout its history, yet it has always been a stronghold of Buddhist devotion and scholarship. Due to its historic artifacts, colourful paintings, and tranquil atmosphere, it still draws pilgrims and visitors today.

Sumda Chun Monastery, which embodies the spiritual tenacity and cultural diversity of the area, is a monument to the long tradition of Buddhism in Ladakh. Its beginnings and history serve as a poignant reminder of the significant influence that visionary leaders such as Rinchen Zangpo had in reshaping the Himalayan religious landscape.

The Story behind the Sumda Chun Monastery 


There are several monasteries in Ladakh out of which Sumda Monastery is very famous. According to legend, the Sumda Chun Monastery in the Markham area, part of the famous Hemis National Park of Ladakh was constructed more than a millennium ago in a single night!

Lotsawa Ringchen Zangpo, a Tibetan scholar, travelled to India in the eleventh century to research spirituality. He spent a long time studying Buddhism, Sanskrit, and dharma here. He collaborated with several academics, translated significant literary works into Tibetan (a native Tibetan translator is known as Lotsawa), and wrote commentary on a wide range of crucial Buddhist subjects.

Up to 108 Buddhist temples in what is now India, Nepal, and Tibet are credited to Lotsawa, including three monasteries that he gave the command to build in a single night. Among them was the Monastery of Sumda Chun.

Our elders think the complex hilltop monastery wasn’t built by humans because of its courtyard, assembly hall, main shrine, two adjacent Bodhisattva chapels, prayer wall, and numerous stupas.

It is thought that the three monasteries (Sumda Chun, Alchi, and Mangyu) were constructed by flying “fairies.” Their ability to fly allowed them to effortlessly traverse the rugged terrain in a single night, erecting the monasteries at a distance equal to that of a crow’s flight from one another.


Nestled in the stunning scenery of Ladakh, an area known for its immaculate valleys, snow-capped mountains and historic monasteries, lies Sumda Chun Monastery. This undiscovered treasure may be found in the isolated village of Sumda Chun, which lies in the northern region of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.

The village of Sumda Chun is located in Ladakh’s Leh district, around 90 kilometres southeast of Leh, the region’s capital. With expansive vistas of snow-capped peaks and meandering rivers along the route, the trip to Sumda Chun, which is reachable by a network of winding mountain roads, gives visitors a taste of Ladakh’s breathtaking natural splendour. 

A landscape studded with traditional Ladakhi dwellings and terraced fields greets tourists to Sumda Chun Monastery, providing a stunning setting for this historic sacred institution. It’s a great place to experience snowfall in India. The monastery, which is perched on a slope overlooking the settlement, provides a tranquil haven from the rush of contemporary life with expansive views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.

For anyone seeking a genuine cultural and spiritual experience in the Himalayas, visiting Sumda Chun Monastery is a worthy venture, even though the trek there can be difficult owing to its isolated position and rough terrain.

How to Reach 


By Air: 

Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, located in Leh, the capital of Ladakh, is the closest airport to Sumda Chun. Major cities including Delhi, Mumbai, and Srinagar have flights to Leh operated by many local carriers. Sumda Chun hamlet is around 90 kilometres southeast of Leh. From Leh, you may arrange for a private car or rent a taxi.

By Road: 

Sumda Chun Monastery is accessible by road if you are already in Ladakh. You can easily take a road trip from Delhi to reach Ladakh.  Leh-Manali Highway (NH3) and Leh-Srinagar Highway (NH1) both lead to the hamlet. Depending on the route and the weather, the drive from Leh to Sumda Chun takes three to four hours. The local buses that run on these routes are also an option, or you may rent a cab.

Local Transportation: 

Since the monastery is frequently perched on a hillside above the settlement, you might need to walk or climb a short distance after arriving in Sumda Chun village. It’s possible to go some distance on dirt trails, so it’s a good idea to wear supportive shoes and pack food and drink.

Guided Tours: 

As an alternative, you can sign up for treks or guided tours that incorporate stops to Sumda Chun Monastery into their schedule. These excursions frequently include lodging, transportation, and knowledgeable guides who may share their knowledge of the area’s history and culture.

It is imperative that you research local travel warnings and weather before making travel plans, particularly if you are visiting during the winter when certain roads may be closed off by snowfall. It’s also a good idea to have any permissions needed for travel in the Ladakh area with you.

Festivals Celebrated In Sumba Chun Monastery 

Nestled in the secluded and gorgeous town of Sumda Chun in Ladakh, India, the Sumda Chun Monastery celebrates a number of festivals all year long, each having a strong cultural and religious component. These festivals in Ladakh, which have their origins in Buddhist customs, are times for communal gatherings, spiritual devotion, and colourful cultural displays. Let’s examine a few of the major occasions that Sumda Chun Monastery observes:


Losar or Tibetan New Year

Tibetan New Year, or Losar, is one of the most significant celebrations held at Sumda Chun Monastery. It ushers in the Tibetan lunar new year. It often lasts for several days and occurs in February or March. To call for blessings for the upcoming year, prayers, customs, and offerings are made before the celebrations start. Monks conduct traditional Cham mask dances, which represent the victory of good over evil and feature a variety of Buddhist deities. Families get together during Losar to celebrate, exchange presents, and enjoy special feasts.

Saga Dawa

Saga Dawa, also called the Triple Blessed Festival, honors Gautama Buddha’s conception, enlightenment, and eventual parinirvana. It is one of the most sacred days in the Buddhist calendar and often occurs in May or June. Saga Dawa is commemorated at Sumda Chun Monastery by sombre ceremonies, prayers, and meditation sessions. Acts of charity performed by devotees include giving to the monastery and releasing animals as a sign of compassion. It’s said that good actions carried out on Saga Dawa multiply exponentially.


Birthday of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava Jayanti): 

In Tibetan Buddhism, Guru Rinpoche, also called Padmasambhava, is regarded as the “Second Buddha”. At Sumda Chun Monastery, his birthday, which generally comes in June or July, is enthusiastically observed. In observance of Guru Rinpoche’s teachings and spiritual heritage, devotees congregate to make prayers, carry out rituals, and recite scriptures. There are special rituals that involve the recitation of mantras and the exhibition of holy artifacts connected to Guru Rinpoche.

Yuru Kabgyat: 

Celebrated in Sumda Chun Monastery, Yuru Kabgyat is a unique celebration that combines traditional masked dances with Buddhist ceremonies. It generally happens in July or August and draws travellers and pilgrims from all around the world. The celebration honours Buddhism’s triumph over evil forces and is said to bestow benefits and safety upon the neighbourhood. Sacred dances are performed by monks dressed in ornate masks and costumes, to the accompaniment of chanting and traditional music. The celebration also includes customs intended to banish evil and advance peace and prosperity.


Buddha Festival, or Tsechu (Tibetan for “tenth day”): 

According to the Tibetan calendar, Tsechu is a religious celebration held on the tenth day of the lunar month. Tsechu is commemorated at Sumda Chun Monastery via prayers, customs, and cultural events. Monks dress in vibrant clothes and elaborative masks that depict deities and other spiritual entities while they conduct holy dances known as cham. The celebration offers the locals a chance to unite, reaffirm their beliefs, and obtain blessings from the spiritual authorities of the monastery. 

Drukpa Tseshi: 

Drukpa Tseshi honours Gautama Buddha’s first discourse, often referred to as the “Turning of the Wheel of Dharma.” It is often observed in July or August and signifies the start of the Buddhist monsoon season. Drukpa Tseshi is commemorated at Sumda Chun Monastery with prayers, lectures, and ceremonies that highlight the significance of Buddhist teachings in directing one’s life. Offerings are made to the monastery by devotees, who also carry out deeds of merit including walking around revered stupas and lighting butter lamps.


Chotrul Duchen: 

Also called the “Festival of Miracles,” Chotrul Duchen is observed on the fifteenth day of the first Tibetan month, which falls in February or March on the Gregorian calendar most of the time. It honours Gautama Buddha’s miracles over the first fifteen days of the Tibetan New Year. Chotrul Duchen is commemorated at Sumda Chun Monastery with unique prayers, customs, and offerings. In order to gain merit and purge negativity, devotees participate in virtue-based rituals and acts.

Lhabab Duchen: 

Known also as the “Buddha’s Descent from Tushita Heaven,” Lhabab Duchen honors the Buddha’s descent from heaven and his subsequent return to earth following his mother’s sermon. It is one of the four main Buddhist feasts and typically occurs in November. Lhabab Duchen is observed at Sumda Chun Monastery with prayers, sacrifices, and good deeds. Rituals performed by devotees include prostrations, chanting sutras, and giving alms to monks.

The cultural and religious life of Sumda Chun Monastery is greatly influenced by these events, which draw visitors, practitioners, and enthusiasts from a wide range of backgrounds. These festivals serve as a reminder of the everlasting wisdom and compassion exemplified by the Buddha and the enlightened masters of the Buddhist tradition via rituals, prayers, and cultural performances. Devotees strengthen their ties of compassion and community, revitalise their faith, and gain a deeper grasp of the Dharma as they come together to rejoice.

Nearby Places to Visit 


Even though Sumda Chun is tucked away in the rough environment of Ladakh, there are a number of breathtaking lakes and famous places to visit in Leh and Ladakh that provide tranquil settings and chances for exploration

Likir Monastery: 

Renowned for its breathtaking setting and historic Buddhist relics, such as a massive statue of Maitreya Buddha, Likir Monastery is around ten kilometres from Sumda Chun.

Alchi Monastery: 

Alchi Monastery is about 15 kilometres from Sumda Chun, this monastery is well-known for its magnificent sculptures and wall paintings from the 12th century.

Pangong Lake: 

About 150 kilometres from Sumda Chun sits Pangong Lake, one of the most well-known lakes in Ladakh. Its glistening blue waters offer a captivating scene when set against the backdrop of majestic mountains.

Tso Moriri Lake: 

Tso Moriri Lake is a high-altitude lake surrounded by bleak hills and snow-capped peaks. It is located around 200 kilometres from Sumda Chun. It is renowned for both its varied birdlife and unspoiled beauty.

Tso Kar Lake: 

The distance between Tso Kar Lake and Sumda Chun is around 180 kilometres. Situated amidst extensive salt flats, this saltwater lake plays a crucial role as a migratory bird’s nesting habitat.


Nestled amidst Ladakh’s harsh mountains, the Sumda Chun Monastery is a monument to the region’s rich spiritual and cultural tradition. With its historic beginnings and peaceful atmosphere, the monastery gives guests an insight into the enduring customs of Tibetan Buddhism. Sumda Chun Monastery enthrals visitors with its elaborate construction, colourful festivals, and breathtaking position that overlooks the town of Sumda Chun.

Visitors are given a deep sense of tranquillity and spiritual connection whether they explore the monastery’s hallowed halls, take part in ceremonies, or just relax in the serene surroundings. Sumda Chun Monastery continues to inspire pilgrims, practitioners, and tourists from all over the globe as a beacon of faith and enlightenment in the Himalayas, urging people to set out on a journey of self-discovery and cultural exploration in the heart of Ladakh.

What is the best time to visit Sumda Chun Monastery?

The summer months of May through September are ideal for visiting Sumda Chun Monastery because of the excellent weather and accessibility to the area. Clear skies, pleasant temperatures, and perfect weather make this time of year perfect for seeing the monastery and its environs. This is also the time of year when a lot of festivals and cultural events happen, giving guests the chance to see customs and festivities up close and personal, adding to their entire vacation experience.

Are there any nearby accommodations for visitors to stay near Sumda Chun Monastery?

Even though Sumda Chun is a far-off village, there are lodging alternatives close by, such as Likir, which has guesthouses and homestays. An alternative is to stay in Leh, the capital of Ladakh, which offers a variety of lodging options to fit different tastes and budgets, including hotels, guesthouses, and homestays. It is possible to travel to Sumda Chun from Leh in a few hours by road, which makes it a viable choice for day visits or overnight stays.

What are the opening hours of Sumda Chun Monastery?

Depending on the time of year and the monastery’s schedule, Sumda Chun Monastery’s operating hours may change. Monasteries in Ladakh usually close after sunset and reopen early the next day. Before making travel arrangements, guests are urged to find out the precise operating hours locally or by contacting the monastery administration. Respecting any rules or limitations that may be in place is also advised, particularly during religious festivals or rituals.

Recent Posts

Leave a Comment