Dhankar Fort And Monastery
This beautiful monastery is locked between the rocky spurs at the top of clif in the Dhankar village at an elevation of over 3,800 meters in the Spiti valley. It is a 16th century old fort monastery, which has also served as a prison in the erstwhile era. The Dhankar Gomba is over 1000 years old and is connected to the rest of the valley through a Motorable road, which is good for small vehicle only. There is a new monastery in the small village of Shichilling below the old monastery. The old monastery is associated with the Great Translator, Rinchen Zanggpo, and its complex comprises a number of multi-storey buildings perched together.The fort of Dhankar now lies in ruins, but still is a place worthy of a visit. From the remnants of the fort one can see vast expanses of the Spiti valley. It is also of art and historical importance. Founded between 7th and the 9th Centuries, Dhankar's old temple complex occupies the southern part of the steep mountain slope of the village. It is known by the name of Lha-O-pa Gompa (monastery of the followers of Lha-O). The monastery consists of a number of multistoried buildings perched together, giving a fortress like impression. There are five different halls including Kanjur, Lhakhang, and Dukhang where a life size silver statue of Vajradhara, the Diamond Being, is placed in a glass altar embellished with scarves and flowers. Most interesting at the Lha-O-pa gompa is the small chapel on the uppermost peak above the main monastery - Lhakhang Gongma. The building is decorated with depictions of Shakyamuni, Tsongkhapa and Lama Chodrag on the central wall. Dhankar's main attraction, although least publicised, is a fresh water lake about 2.5 km from the village at a height of 13500 ft. Set amidst lush green pastures, the lake offers an idyllic camping site. Some boating facilities are proposed to be introduced in the near future. Under the Desert Development Project of Spiti the common carp variety of fish has been introduced in this lake. No angling is however, allowed in the lake. There is no rest house in the village. If you plan to halt for night, do carry tents, sleeping bags and other provisions.