All About Spituk Monastery
If you visit Ladakh, there will be a lot of things you get to see and notice. From amazing panoramic landscapes to beautifully designed monasteries. Everything here is ancient and absolutely breathtaking. Needless to say during your trip to Ladakh, you will come across a lot of attractions that would give you a lot of reasons to amuse.
One of the attractions that people often visit during their trip is Spituk Monastery (Pethup Gompa) which is also known as Spituk Gompa. The locals also refer to the gompa as Pethup Gompa. There are a lot of interesting things that are to be seen inside the gompa and around it too. So, if you are keeping this attraction in your list of visiting places then give a quick read to the blog so that you know at least the important things about Spituk before visiting there.
History of Spituk Gompa
- Spituk Monastery in Leh is believed to be built in the 11th century by the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od. The name of the founder of Spituk Monastery according to the records is Od-de. The word ‘Spitok’ means exemplary.
- He was on his visit to Maryul when he predicted that the location would give rise to a new community.
- This prediction was given by another priest named Lotsewa Rinchen Zangpo.
- Lotsewa also formed Spituk Monastery as the founding place of the Red Hat institution but in the mid 15th century the place was overtaken by the Yellow Hat Sect.
The architecture of Spituk Gompa
- Spituk Monastery is built a few meters inside the cliff and is completely made of white color from the exterior.
- There are 3 chapels inside the gompa and numerous statues of Lord Buddha at various places inside the vicinity.
- The monastery also has multiple thankas throughout the chapels.
- The gompa also has a Dukhang Hall which is also the highlight of this place. Seats are aligned in two rows in the hall and it starts from the entry gate and ends to a throne. This is one of the unique things about this monastery. You won’t find any such thing anywhere other than here.
- Do not miss out on the amazing chortens and sculptures while visiting the Spituk gompa which is another highlight of this place.
Highlights of Spituk Gompa
Spituk has a long and strong history in Leh Ladakh and it is one of the most important attractions from a tourism point of view as well as religious affairs. This monastery is has a few highlights and they are given below:
- There is a giant statue of goddess Kali.
- One can explore the museum that is located inside the vicinity of the monastery.
- Gustor Festival is a festival that is celebrated in Spituk Gompa with a lot of zeal.
- The sculptures and chortens are also an intriguing things in the gompa.
- While you visit here during the festival, you can also enjoy the cham dance performed by monks and Lamas.
- The monastery is home to approximately 100 monks who are connected to the Yellow Hat sect.
Location of Spituk Gompa from Leh
Leh to Spituk monastery distance: 8 km
One of the most important things to know about Spituk Monastery is its location. The amazingly built monastery is situated in Leh and is approximately 8 km from Leh’s main market. The monastery is located at an altitude of 3307 m above sea level.
Best time to visit Spituk Monastery
The best time to visit Spituk Monastery is between May and October. Its location in Leh makes it a great place until the winters arrive. Between these months, the temperature remains comfortable and enjoyable so people love exploring at ease. You too will have a lot of comforts if you visited here during this time.
Temperature and Weather in Spituk Monastery
The monastery shares the weather and temperature of Leh and remains the same throughout the year as of the city. In summer you can expect the temperature to be between 10°C to 28°C. In winter it can go down to -1°C and the higher side will be 8°C.
How to reach Spituk Monastery
Another important piece of information to keep as notes is how to reach the monastery. As we already know it is approximately 8 km from the Leh main market, you can either rent a car or a bike. There is an option of hiring a cab too. It will be a quick journey to and from the monastery.
Entry Fee and Timings of Spituk Monastery
There is a small fee that every person has to give as an entry fee and that’s 20 INR. The amount remains the same for Indian as well as international travelers. Coming onto the timings- people can visit Spituk Monastery either between 6 am and 1 pm or 1:30 pm to 6 pm.
Keeping this time schedule in mind, you can plan your trip accordingly. Just make sure you are not here during the resting hours because that is when no traveler is allowed inside the premises.
Attractions around Spituk Gompa
Being in proximity to Leh; this monastery has a few other attractions around itself. While you go on a sightseeing trip to Leh (maybe during the day of acclimatization) you can also plan to visit these attractions together.
- Leh Palace which is about 8 km from the monastery
- Stok Palace Museum which is roughly 16 km from the monastery
- And Gurudwara Pathar Sahib which is 18 km from Spituk Monastery
So while you create the itinerary of the day, do include the timing factor of each attraction too.
Festivals celebrated in Spituk Gompa
Spituk Gompa witnesses a grand celebration of the Spituk Gustor Festival which is celebrated between the 27th and 29th day of the eleventh month according to the Tibetan Calendar. This happens to fall in the month of January. Monks perform a lot of rituals and cham dance throughout the festival. This 3-day festival is enjoyed by people from nearby villages too.
Some tourists who visit Ladakh for snow sports, also attend the festival and enjoy it throughout. If you are visiting here in January, you can be a part of this festival too.
Things to do in and around Spituk Gompa
As already defined that Spituk Gompa is located almost on a cliff, it offers a breathtaking view of Leh and the valleys around. Here are some amazing things that can be done in and around Spituk Gompa:
- Take a bird view of the valleys around the gompa.
- Enjoy a heightened view from the monastery of the Leh city.
- Photography is one of the best things to do from this point.
- If your body and time allow, take a trek to the monastery and back.
- Enjoy exploring the museum with relics and artifacts.
- Offer prayers to the statue of goddess Kali and Lord Buddha.
Places to eat around Spituk Monastery
There are a number of places where one can eat around the monastery. If you wish, just stop by at any of these joints and enjoy a quick bite.
- Chopsticks Noodle Bar
- Sorriso Pizza & Meal Mastiyaan
- Bon Appetit
- The Tibetan Kitchen
- Yama Coffee House & Restaurant
- Lamayuru Restaurant
Things to keep in mind while visiting the Spituk Monastery
There are a few things that every traveler should keep in mind while entering the monastery. Here are some of the important ones:
- Respect all the rules and regulations of the gompa.
- Do not try to enter or enter the religious place under the influence of any intoxicating material.
- Drinking and smoking inside and around the gompa are strictly prohibited.
- If you are planning on visiting here do not commit anything that would hurt the religion or sentiments of the monks and lamas here.
- Do respect all the monks and other insiders irrespective of their age.
- Take permission before clicking pictures of the rooms, with monks and even theirs alone. Do not click or record without their permission.
Some important tips to remember while you visit the Spituk Monastery
There are certain things that you might have to keep in mind while you visit Spituk Monastery. Here are some of the important things that you must know.
- Spituk Monastery is a religious site, so it’s important to dress appropriately. Wear clothes that cover your shoulders and knees, and remove your shoes before entering the temple.
- When visiting a religious site like Spituk Monastery, it’s important to be respectful of local customs and traditions. For example, it’s customary to walk around the temple in a clockwise direction and to avoid touching or pointing at religious artifacts.
- Spituk Monastery is a peaceful and serene place, so be mindful of your noise level while visiting. Avoid talking loudly or making unnecessary noise.
- If possible, consider taking a guided tour of Spituk Monastery. This will give you a deeper understanding of the history and significance of the monastery.
- Spituk Monastery is located in a remote area, so it’s important to bring water and snacks with you. There are no restaurants or food vendors nearby, so it’s best to come prepared.
- Try to visit Spituk Monastery during one of the many festivals that take place throughout the year. These festivals are a great way to experience the local culture and traditions.