Lamayuru is well-known for its ‘lunar’ scenery and monastery. But, interestingly, this tiny little town is marketed to tourists as a “moonscape,” owing to its unique yet strange geological characteristics.
It’s a little village in Ladakh, but it’s a great location to stop on the way from Kargil to Leh. Legend has it that this location was originally a lake that dried up, and it is now home to one of Ladakh’s oldest monasteries.
The Lamayuru Monastery in Lamayouro is one of Ladakh’s oldest and most important monasteries. It is located at the height of 3,511 metres above sea level. Apart from being one of Ladakh’s largest monasteries, this Tibetan Buddhist monastery is also the region’s oldest gompa known as “the place of liberation” or “Tharpa Ling.”
Its origins may be traced back to the 11th century when a scholar named Mahasiddhacharya Naropa placed the monastery’s foundation stone. His prayers caused a lake that supplied a whole community to dry up, and as the water drained, the area began to develop moonlike craters.
The monastery once had five structures, but only the central one remains. Even though it has lost much of its bravery, it is still a popular destination for photographers and curious travellers.
This monastery is home to around 150 Buddhist monks, though it once housed over 400.