Dhankar Monastery, Himachal Pradesh, India

Dhankar Gompa is village and also a Gompa, a Buddhist temple in the district of Lahaul and Spiti in India. It is situated at an elevation of 3,894 metres 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.

The spectacular 1200-year-old Dhankar Gompa perches precariously between eroded rocky pinnacles on the edge of a cliff. One glance at the crumbling cliffs and it’s clear why it was listed in 2006 as one of the world’s 100 most endangered monuments. The top-floor courtyard of the main building has a stuffed blue sheep hanging above the stairwell and four rooms around it, including one where the Dalai Lama slept, a meditation cave, and a shrine containing ceremonial masks.

Another prayer hall stands on the hilltop above, accessed by a separate set of concrete steps. The views from these buildings are phenomenal.

Visit India, Epic India Route © Monika Newbound

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