All About Lamayuru Monastery
Lamayuru Monastery is one of the largest as well as the oldest monasteries in India. It is also known to be named amongst the wonderful and significant monasteries of Ladakh for a lot of reasons. The amazingly designed monastery is perched on an astonishing 3511 m above sea level. The creation or establishment of this monastery dates back to the 10th century. Lamayuru is also amongst the most significant gompas in all of Ladakh and it is also referred to as the “Tharpa Ling” or “The Place of freedom.” There are multiple legends associated with the monastery one of which is about the founding person or the founding Lama.
It is said that the founding Lama named Mahasiddhacharya Naropa dried a huge lake that was present instead of the Lamayuru Village and the monastery. And when the entire lake dried up, the land started to get creator just like the moon’s surface. Although there are no proofs or manuscripts that are connected to the legend, still the locals believe strongly in this. Also, because the land around the village and monastery resembles moon land- people have started calling it Lamayuru Moonland.
History of Lamayuru Monastery
There is a popular legend that we have already discussed relating to the creation and existence of the monastery. Apart from this, there is no definite history related to the creation or establishment of the monastery. Some say that the monastery was built by a kind in the 11th century and then donated to a Lama.
But whatever the history of Lamayuru be, one thing is certain and that’s the beauty, peace, and amusing things to enjoy around the place. But some legends do have in them that at the time of establishment, Lamayuru had 5 structures in total but only one remains today. Also, currently, the monastery houses approximately 300 monks.
What you should not miss out in Lamayuru Monastery
- Naropa’s Cave
- Dukhang (Tibetan name for Prayer Hall)
- Yuru Kabgyat Festival
- Sengge Lhakhang Temple
- Gonkhang Temple
- Bird’s Eye View of the entire valley
Things to do while visiting Lamayuru Monastery
While you enjoy the jaw-dropping beauty of Lamayuru Monastery, let us elevate your experience by adding some things to do around the monastery. While you visit the village, you can try any of these:
One of the best things to do around Lamayuru Monastery is camp. There are multiple places close to the village where you can put up your camp and enjoy the experience of sleeping under the sheet of stars.
Hiking and short trekking
Both these amazing things can be enjoyed all over Ladakh, including around the Lamayuru Monastery. There are actually a few popular short treks that can be taken from Lamayuru in the Trans-Himalayas. There are some extensive treks or we can say long treks too. To be specific, enthusiasts can trek from Lamayuru to Darcha over Zanskar. The entire trek would take approximately 20 days to complete.
On the other hand, people who wish to take short treks can go for Lamayuru- Wanla- Chilling which can be in under a week.
Meditation and practice Yoga
One of the legends about the village says that the Lama who created the entire place did that in order to attain eternal peace and much more with the power of meditation. Therefore over time, things changed and Lamayuru became the hub for meditation and yoga. So, if you are keen or interested in any of this, you can enjoy it here.
Taking a ride or drive
Ladakh is all about thrill and road trips. While you plan on visiting Lamayuru you can take a bike drive or drive up to the destination. If you are on a road trip to Ladakh, just take the Leh-Srinagar highway to reach this village.
Timings and Fees of Lamayuru Monastery
The visitors can take a trip to the monastery between 6 am and 6 pm and there is an entry fee for entry in Lamayuru Monastery which is currently just 50 INR. You can spend some time in the ancient cave.
Location of Lamayuru Monastery
Lamayuru is located in the Leh district and is approximately 125 km from the Leh city. It is almost the mid-point between Kargil and Leh. While you cross Fotu La, the monastery is about 15 km from that pass.
How to reach Lamayuru Monastery
As already discussed above, Lamayuru Monastery is located on the Leh-Srinagar Highway which is approximately 15 km east of Fotu La. The village is located between Leh and Kargil, approximately midway. If you are traveling throughout this highway, you will have to cross this village no matter what- unless you take the Hangroo Loop or the Dah-Batalik route.
Best time to visit Lamayuru Monastery
The best time to visit Lamayuru Monastery is between June and August when the entire place looks amazing. The weather during these months remains mostly comfortable. But there is no certainty about the weather in Ladakh. But that’s not it, you can visit Lamayuru throughout the year.
Places to stay around Lamayuru Monastery
While you take a trip to the Lamayuru Monastery, it is advised that you stay there. Firstly because it is roughly 125 km from Leh and will be not advisable to travel at night. Additionally, while you stay here it will give you a chance to enjoy the serenity and peacefulness of the village here. Many people choose to stay here for weeks and months and enjoy yoga sessions and meditation throughout this period. So, if you too decide on staying here; the options are:
- You can simply pitch your camp or take one from the villagers (whosoever has it.)
- Siachen Guesthouse
- Even the Lamayuru Monastery offers accommodation to travelers.
- Hotel Moonland
- Dragon Hotel
- Hotel Niranjana
Places to visit near Lamayuru Monastery
Like those who plan to stay here for weeks or at least for days; you can take the trek that we have already mentioned above or take a trip to these amazing places.
- Wanla Gompa- 14.4 km from the monastery
- Uleytokpo- 46.1 km from the monastery
- Moonland- 3.1 km from Lamayuru
Where to eat in and around Lamayuru Monastery
While you look for a place around the monastery to kill your hunger, you will not have to go any further than the monastery itself. While you visit here, you can sit at the amazing Niranjana Lamayuru Restaurant which is located inside the monastery. It serves delicious cuisines to the visitors.
Apart from this, there are multiple other dhabas and shacks that are available en route, you can also visit them for a quick bite.
Tips for Lamayuru Gompa
- One should respect the rules of the Lamayuru Gompa
- Photography is not allowed at the monastery
- There is an accommodation in the monastery but do not rely on that
- Stay silent around the meditation cave and the monastery
- There are good toilet facilities in the monastery
- There is also a small parking space for people who are traveling in their vehicle
- One can find a museum inside the monastery where they can enjoy their time.