Phuktal Monastery Trek
Phuktal Monastery is built into the cliffside like a honeycomb. It located at the mouth of a cave on the cliff face of a lateral gorge of a major tributary of the Lungnak River.
Route : Raru → Chatang → Purne → Phuktal → Purne → Anmu → Raru
Day 1 : Raru to Chatang
We took a cab from Padum to Raru (where the road ends) and started trekking from there.
The entire stretch from Raru to Chatang is completely deserted except for one tea stall on the way.
Chatang is a tiny village with just 2 houses. Our guide managed to get a room for us, while he stayed across the river at his neice’s place.
Day 2 : Chatang to Purne
Purne is one of the larger villages in the area with a guest house and 2 tea shops. It is quite popular since couple of treks criss cross through Purne.
The supplies come in all the way from Raru on horseback.
In Ladakh, the kitchen doubles up as a living/dining room. The stove is usually in the center with mattresses along the walls to sit and enjoy the warmth from the stove.
Day 3 : Purne to Phuktal
Phugtal Monastery, situated on the north bank of the Tsarap river, is about 7 Kms from Purne.
At the very last turn, the magnificent Monastery suddenly appears in front of you.
This cave monastery clings to the near vertical cliffs along the Shadi Gorge.
It was established by Phagspa Sherab, one of the 6 disciples of Tsongkhapa, who brought Gelugpa teachings to Ladakh in the fifteenth century.
This unique monastic establishment is inhabited by a resident community of about 70 monks.
We stayed at a ‘Home Stay’ run by Stanzin Samphel’s family.
Mani stones are flat stones inscribed with the six syllabled mantra of Avalokiteshvara “Om mani padme hum”, which loosely translates to “Hail to the jewel in the lotus”.
The Bardam Monastery, located between Raru and Padum, sits on top of a rocky spur overlooking the Tsarap river.