All Attractions

Gondhla Castle Or Fort

House of the Thakur of Gondhla, called the Gondhla castle or fort attracts a large number of tourists. The present Thakur, Fateh Chand would like the tourists to believe that the Fort is about 20 generations old, but according to the District Gazetteer of Lahaul and Spiti, the fort was built in 1700 AD by Raja Man Singh of Kullu whose influence stretched till the Lingti plains beyond the Baralacha-la. This Raja also married a daughter of the Gondhla family to cement his ties with the Thakur. The castle is an example of the indigenous timber bonded stone-style of the western Himalayas, consisting of alternate courses of stone and wooden beams cemented together with wet clay. This seven-storey high edifice is topped by a wooden verandah which runs round the upper storey. It looks like a Swiss Chalet. Staircases in the building are partially notched wooden logs and the building has many apartments, which can comfortably accommodate more than 100 people. Its fifth storey, meant exclusively for the Thakur, consisted of personal prayer chamber and a verandah from where he used to listen to the public and later pronounce his judgements. Ganesha is the main deity carved on the facade of the prayer chamber. In one of the prayer chambers the window connecting the outer room is an exquisite work of wood carving. Several weapons including bows, arrows, quivers, catapults, guns and canons besides other articles of antique value can be seen resting in the apartments. Another interesting article to be seen in possession of the Thakur is Sharab Raldi, i.e. 'the sword of wisdom' as Sharab means wisdom and Raldi means a sword. Sword of wisdom (sanskrit Pragya Kharga) has great importance among the Tibetans.

Kardang Monastery

It has been 900 years since the Kardang monastery was established in the foothills of the Himalaya. Kardang monastery is one of the oldest possession of Drukpa lineage. The monastery is historical because it is a part of Kardang village which was once the capital of Lahaul.The monastery is located at an elevation 3500 meters above sea level, on the bank of Bhaga River. As per the facts, the monastery was established in the later parts of the 12th century but was completely ruined after a while; later in the 20th century, it was constructed again by 2 lamas- Lama Norbu Rinpoche (died in 1952) and Lama Kunga. The monastery is famous all over the world for its religious significance and alluring architecture. The monastery houses a phenomenal collection of murals, paintings, frescos, Thangka paintings, old weapons and instrumentals like horns, flutes, drums, etc.   Kanrdang monastery is an important educational centre as well. The library of Kardang monastery is a vault which contains some of the finest books belonging to the bygone era. The monastery is stocked with Kangyur and Tangyur books of Buddhist scriptures written in Bhoti language; there are strips of paper on which the sacred mantra 'Om Mani Padme Hum' is written one million times. Every year in the months of June and July, the monastery hosts an annual Chaam dance where monks are dressed in dramatic masks and head gears. An important center of Buddhist, this charming monastery can enlighten the tourist with its architecture and breathtaking surroundings!

Tayul

This gompa above the village of Satingri has the biggest statue of Padma Sambhava and his two manifestations as Singhmukha and Vajravarahi. The statue is 12 feet tall. The gompa houses the library of Kangyur. Thankas in the gompa depict various episodes from the life of Lord Buddha. Tayul gompa written in Tibetan as Ta - Yul means chosen place. It is one of the oldest Dugpa sect monasteries in Lahaul. One Dugpa lama, Serzang Rinchen of the Khan region of Tibet, founded this monastery in the beginning of the 17th Century. There is a story about how this place was chosen for construction of a monastery. Lama Serzang while making the meritorious circumambulation of the holy peak Drilburi spotted a small glade in the juniper forest above Kyor and Tashikyang villages on the opposite side of the valley. He then told his fellow pilgrims, 'Look, over there, that is a suitable and auspicious place for a gompa'. Thus the building of the gompa began to take shape. This monastery houses an extremely expensive 'mani' wheel, by turning it the minds of the sentient beings to open to the compassion of the Lord. This 'mani' wheel is reputed to be 'self-turning' on auspicious occasions. According to the lamas this wheel last turned on its own in 1986. After almost a century a Ladakhi, Tulku Tashi Tanphel of the Tagna monastery renovated and extended the building of this gompa. He decorated the walls with murals, made giant size stucco images referred to the above and brought in the Narthang edition of the Kangyur from Tibet.