Phuktal is one of the if not the most isolated monasteries in the remotest corner of Lungnak Valley in the region of Zanskar.
The Monastery was built around the 12th century by Sherap Sampi, but remained a well preserved hidden secret until the 19th century when it was discovered by Hungarian Alexander Cosmo de Koros. In the ancient days of old, the cave in which the monastery was built used to be inhabited by sages and hermits 2500 years B.C. It is today an active monastery where approximately 39 young monks ranging from the age of five to twenty years, who are taught the ways of Buddhism by senior lamas and monks.
The fact of it being built into or around a natural cave in the cliffside, like a honeycomb, adds all the more fascination to the trek of Phugtal Monastery.
The monastery claims to owe its illustrious legacy of scholars and teachers to this cave. Also, there is a mystical hollow in the rock inside the cave from which water never reduces to spill from it. It is said to have healing powers.
Image Credit: gesartravel
The monastery is accessible only by foot, and the paved road ends a three-day trek away from it. And that adds to the beauty and serene isolation of this place. one has to trek from Icher to Anmo to Cha to Phuktal or Icher to Anmo to Purne which lies at the other side of Lungnak river and then to Phugtal monastery.
Image Credit: gesartravel
Some parts of the trail, and the three bridges you have to cross to reach Phuktal were washed away during the last flashfloods of 2014 and 2015, but they have been restored.
The supplies to the monastery are brought on horses, donkeys, and mules in the warmer months of summers and in the frozen winters, they are transported through the frozen Zanskar River by walking over it.
Image Credit: greathimalayannationalpark
Phuktal monastery hosts an Amchi, a traditional tibetan physician who provides natural Sowa-Rigpa medicine. These medicines are mostly prepared at the traditional tibetan clinic in the monastery.
There are home stays available at Anmu, Chah and Purne villages. There is also a guest house at Phuktal. Camping sites are available at almost all villages including Purne or you can ask the local villagers to let you camp in their farms.
You can reach Phuktal via Padum, which is connected to Srinagar. Padum is the base for the trek to Phuktal.
Read Also: Did You Know Of The Enchanting Valley Of Nubra In Ladakh
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