Best time to visitOctober to March
Open hoursAll through the week from 6:30 am to 5:00 pm daily
Things to doMeditate in the caves or browse through the museum.
For those who are interested in Buddhism and its teachings, a visit to the Dhankar Monastery is a must. Situated on top of a hill above the village of Dhankar, this monastery has many caves for one to meditate in, a museum that houses Buddhist artifacts and a library as well. The Dhankar village lies on the confluence of the Rivers Spiti and Pin and has been labeled as an endangered sight out of 100 such places by the World Monument Funds.
Reviews of Dhankar Monastery • 22
Dhankar Monastery - A monastery listed under World’s Hundred Most Endangered Site, stands on a slippery structure like Ant hill. - Nature & Architecture Lover
After visiting Tabo, one can start their journey back to Dhankar on the same day. To my surprise Dhankar was astonishingly beautiful and was one of the best places in Spiti.
There are two monasteries in Dhankar, old and new one. The trail starts near the new monastery.
Dhankar Village and Monastery situated at an elevation of 3,894 meters (12,774 feet) is at the perfect setting for any monument in this world. The monastery complex is built on a high spur overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers – one of the world’s most spectacular settings for a gompa. The monastery was built approximately one thousand years ago and now belongs to the Gelugspa School of order since the 1450s.
There is absolutely no sound, no houses, no crowd, just the lake, snowy mountains, layers of rocky barren terrain and an overwhelming silence. I could feel the force of the wind inside out and that’s the only sound that even existed there.
Dhankar was the old capital of Spiti (before the capital was shifted to Kaza), and it consists of a monastery perched on a high cliff top, and a large village built on a bluff that opens out into the main valley, ending in a sharp cliff. The view from top is indeed breathtaking, with azure blue sky, patches of orchards and yellow mustard fields lining the hill-sides, lighting up the barren mountains that surround the monastery.
Dhankar Monastery perched over the Dhankar village, was one of my favourite, built over a 1000 feet spur, overlooking the confluence of The Spiti and The Pin river. Not only does it have breathtaking views but it is also one of the most serene places you can visit. With ancient murals and thangkas, I sat there trying to get a moment with myself. There is a lovely lake there, which requires an hours trek. We decided to drive ahead to Pin Valley before reaching Kaza.
Dhankar Monastery:It is situated at an elevation of 3,894 metres (12,774 feet) in the Spiti Valley above Dhankar Village, between the towns of Kaza and Tabo. The complex is built on a 1000-foot (300-metre) high spur overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers - one of the world's most spectacular settings for a gompa. Dhang or dang means cliff, and kar or khar means fort. Hence Dhangkar means fort on a cliff.
At the Dhankar monastery, Dolly welcomed us with a sweet smile and a cup of tea. The village women were out for their monthly visit to the monastery that day. A happy bunch looked like being on a picnic than out for spiritual purposes. But then why should men have all the fun? Dolly and her other women folks want to know if we are married. To their dismay we aint. They want us to return as couples next year, we say we cannot find good guys. The women are generous enough to suggest sons of the older women around, we politely decline. We ask Dolly, was her marriage arranged? With a blush she says she chose her husband on her own, we ask the other women around, all seem to have chosen their life partners out of their own choice. In a beautiful place like Himachal, it is difficult not to fall in love.At Dhankar we also found a love story of another kind. Rose, was hitch hiking with us to our next stop –Tabo and she identifies a hindi song playing in the car faster than us. “Is that from the movie, mera brother ki dulhan,” she asks. “My ex-boyfriend whom I met in Kathmandu showed me the movie in a theatre there with subtitles,” she explains. Love needs no subtitles though.
• Visit Dhankar monastery, fort• Trek to Dhankar lake• Explore the village
The name can be split into, Dhang or Dang means cliff, and kar or khar means fort, hence Dhangkar means fort on a cliff. It is situated at an elevation of 3,894 metres in the Spiti Valley above Dhankar village, between the towns of Kaza and Tabo.Dhangkar one of the five major monasteries in spiti, is in danger of collapsing. Built on a 300 metre high spur overlooking Spiti-Pin confluence is listed as one of the 100 most endangered sight in the world by World Monument Fund. so it is highly recommended to visit this monastery.PLACE- Sichling-Dhankhar Gompa, Dhankhar, Spiti, Himachal Pradesh. Around 35km from Kaza, Spiti.
4) DHANKAR MONASTERY
05/06/2016 - 09:00I am parting with my Israeli friend today and so decided to make our day special. I had rented a private cab for just both of us on my expense to save our time and also because I saved some rupees sharing room with her and travelling for free previous day. We went to Dhankar. She checked in dormitory at Dhankar new monastery. We had visited Dhankar old monastery. Then , we trekked to Dhankar lake which are the most memorable moments of my trip and one of the few of all my trips so far.The whole trek and at the lake , there was just both of us. Only few local Lamas were present far from us on other side who came on a picnic.The peace and calm among the high altitude mountains on the banks of pure and serene high altitude lake and only one person around.Those are the moments I wished in this trip and my purpose of travelling alone to Spiti is granted.We came back to Dhankar and had a tasty,healthy fish meal in Mobastery kitchen. Monastery serve free to its visitors , but its our responsibility to make donation as gratititude and for them to serve more.I bid farewell to my Israeli friend and thanked her for her time spent with me , for lot of things I learned from her and for making part of my trip memorable.I moved to Kaza in same cab and I paid 2000 rupees for whole day trip.
A high altitude Gompa which overlooks the confluence of Spiti and Pin rivers.
Take a cab, trek or hitchhike and bask in the glory of the available options on your way up to the Dhankar Monastery --built in a fortress-like fashion, atop a cliff overlooking the Dhankar village-- because, once there, the only way to soothe your eyes at the sight of the Dhankar Lake is to slog all the way up further on your feet! And yes, despite more than an hour of uphill trek from the Dhankar Monastery, we couldn’t find our way up to the lake as we only kept meeting dead-ends!
It was my 5th day since I left my home, and I was adapting to high altitude and long continues drives and random sudden changes in temperature & culture. After Tabo, there is diversion from the main road going for Dhankar Monastery and you are liking to miss this diversion if you are too tired to pay attention to your surrounding. Windows of this monastery provides perfect picture of confluence of PIN and SPITI Rivers. Monastery itself in a devastating conditions, You may not see it after few years. It needs to be saved and requires attention of authorities at exigency basis.
32 kilometers downstream from Kaza village, Dhankar Gompa at 12, 774 feet is a village between Tabo and Kaza. The Dhankar monastery is considered to be 1200 years old(The oldest monastery of the valley) and is built on a 1000 foot(300 meter) high cliff. Hence the name-Dhang(cliff)-kar(fort) The biggest reason to visit this site is because in 2006, The World Monuments Fund listed Dhankar Gompa under the 100 most endangered sites in the world.
A place not to miss in Spiti is the most beautiful Dhankar village, which can be reached by a shared cab from Kaza in about 2 hours. Dhankar fort, monastery and lake are the primary attractions in the village. But what makes this village unique is its odd shaped cliffs, that add so much beauty and character to the skyline of this village. Homestays are easily available and dal chawal will be served hot with a lot of love. Chatting with the locals about culture, movies and politics, you realize that they are updated about most current affairs of the country, despite being cut off by electricity and internet.
The expanse of the snaking rivers shrouded around endless barren mountain land, stretched like the blue-grey veins in the monk’s hand (at Dhankar), is one such moment that I add to my bag of memories that already has a star-spangled Kaza night snuggled up with my family…