The Hidden World of Himalaya’s - Phugtal(Phutkal) Monastery, Ladakh

I am sure many of adventure travel enthusiasts would like to visit places that are hidden from rest of the world or that are inaccessible.

places to visit in ladakh
Phugtal(Phutkal) Monastery - Ladakh
There is an isolated location in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir which is still not known by many of us. I am sure many of you who are reading this blog must have visited Ladakh once in your life but not aware of this place. The place is called as Phugtal Monastery or Phutkal Gonpa.
Phugtal Monastery is a Buddhist Monastery located in the remote Lungnak Valley in south-eastern Zanskar, in the Himalaya region of Ladakh in Northern India who is the home for monks from several years and it is the only Monastery in the Ladakh that can be accessible through foot (Trek) as no road, transport is available to reach Phutkal. So if you are planning to visit Phugtal Monastery better do preparation first as it’s a day walk from Dorzang village, the end of the road leading from Padum.

Phugtal Monastery is built around a natural cave, which is believed to have been visited by numerous sages, scholars, translators and monks around 2550 years ago. The monastery is a unique construction of mud and timber built at the entrance of the cave on the cliff face of a lateral gorge of a major tributary of the Lugnak (Lingti-Tsarap) River. From a distance, the monastery looks like a giant honeycomb.

The remote location of the monastery is ideal for sages & monks looking for peace and solitude to Meditate. Among the earliest residents of Phuktal caves were the 16 Arhats or the legendary followers of Buddha, whose images appear on the caves walls.

Phugtal caves, Buddhist monasteries in India
Phugtal Monastery During Monsoons

Phutkal Gompa was hidden treasure from many until Hungarian scholar and linguist Alexander Csoma de Koros visited the place and stayed between the periods of 1826-27 working on the first Tibetan-English dictionary. He studied at Phuktal Gompa with his Tibetan tutor. There is a stone tablet at Phugtal Monastery which serves as a reminder of his stay.

The Phuktal Gompa owes its legacy to powerful and renowned scholars and teachers who resided in the cave, around which the monastery has been built, and has for long a place for retreat, meditation, learning and teaching. The name Phuktal (or Phukthal) reflects this, coming from the two words “Phuk” meaning “cave” and “tal” or “thal” meaning “at leisure”; second Phukthal – “Thar” meaning “liberation”. Hence the name Phuktal means ‘the caves of leisure’ or ‘the cave of liberation’.
Recently a team of volunteer’s set-up solar micro-grid that produces Green Energy. So now electricity is available at Phugtal Monastery through Solar Panel.

So now if you are planning your next trip to Ladakh do visit Phugtal(Phutkal) Monastery.