Phugtal Monastery: Into the Cave of Liberation

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Price
From₹72,000
Price
From₹72,000
Available: 20 seats
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11 Days
Leh
Zanskar Valley
Min Age : 12
Max People : 20

A 2,500 years old cave serving to the liberation of bodhisattvas, an oasis of spirituality.

Why this experience is unique?

  • Scenic drive to remote region
  • Spiritual journey
  • Uncommon heritage sites
  • Stay with locals
Experience Details

Trekking far away from modern civilization to a place blessed by the bodhisattvas for thousands of years, the perfect epitome of serenity. The Phuktal monastery in Lungnak valley of Zanskar region is the remotest monastery in the whole Ladakh. Established in the early 12th century by the great Buddhist scholar Changsem Sherab Zangpo, this cave monastery shelters some 70 monks living high up in the mountains, detached from the rest of the world. Despite being inhabited since the early 12th century, the village remained a mysterious treasure until 1800, when one Hungarian scholar Alexander Csoma de Koros visited the place and stayed for a year.

The name Phuktal translates to the cave of liberation. Many bodhisattvas including 16 arhats the legendary disciples of the Buddha are believed to have stayed here.

The journey you will be taking
Know the region: Day 1 – Day 3
  • Arrive in Leh and get acclimatized
  • Visit local spots and enjoy the leisure
  • Drive to Kargil via ‘Moonland’ and Gandhara arts statues

Day 1Acclimatization at Leh

We will pick you up from Leh airport at 3500m, and escort you to the hotel in a car. Today just take rest and acclimatize yourself for the high altitude and low oxygen level. In the evening, take a stroll to the town of Leh. Sleep overnight at the hotel in Leh.

Day 2Sight seeing around Leh

After breakfast, head out to tour the monasteries here. Visit the largest monastery in Ladakh, the Hemis Monastery. Visit the Thiksey Monastery, to admire the stunning statue of Buddha Maitreya and its traditional Tibetan architecture. In the evening, spend some peaceful moments at the Shanti Stupa watching the beautiful sun going behind the ghostly mountains.

Day 3Leh to Kargil

After a relaxed breakfast, drive to Kargil via Lamayuru. On the way, you can visit the 10th century built Alchi Monastery to see the ancient Gandhara arts statues and wall paintings. On the way, you can visit the dramatically located Lamayuru monastery and the adjoining “Moonland” hills. After a drive of 5-6 hours, we’ll reach Kargil city. Stay overnight at the Hotel.

In the most scenic valley: Day 4 – Day 6
  • Long drive through Suru Valley via high passes and glaciers
  • Explore the unique small town of spirituality
  • Trek to the remote hamlets

Day 4Kargil to Padum

Today we embark our journey to the Zanskar valley. We ride through the roads of Suru valley that very well symbolizes the beauty of the mountains. We pass by Penzi La, the gateway to Zanskar. In the middle, the Drang Drung Glacier greets us to the eastern flank of Penzi La. We reach Padum after a long journey from Kargil.

Day 5Sight seeing around Padum

Padum, named after the Great Odiyana Padmasambhava is the only town and administrative center in Zanskar. Several notable Buddhist monasteries are located near Padum including Bardan Monastery and Karsha Monastery and the newly built Dalai Lama Photang. Soak in the calmness of the town that is spiritually rich and still not adulterated.

Day 6Padum to Phugtal

From Padum towards the south, our drive leads us into the diverse valley, Lungnak. A 4-hour drive on a rough gravel road we’ll reach the end of the road at a beautiful village, Cha. From Cha, we must trek 2 to 3 hours along the Tsarap River to reach the Phugtal monastery. Hidden in the valley sitting in a cave, the sight of the Phugtal monastery is something out of the world.

Experience the spirituality in remoteness: Day 7 to Day 9
  • Visit the medieval monasteries and meet the monks
  • Trek in Zanskar Valley
  • Stay in with locals in Buddhist villages

Day 7Stay at Phugtal

After having your breakfast proceed to visit the monastery. The stupa at the center of the cave is the main attraction apart from the library and praying hall. Spend some quality time with the novice monks studying there. Take a visit to Yugar village, on the other bank of the river crossing a wooden woven bridge. Take a stroll into the simple life of the Zanskari people and learn their culture.

Day 8Phugtal to Padum

With beautiful memories to cherish, start walking back towards Cha village. The way back is much harder as most of the trek is ascend. While continuing on the right of Tsarap river walk for 3-4 hour until Cha village. The pickup taxi would be waiting for us as the trekking comes to an end. Another 3-hour ride through the dusty road and you will be at Padum. Stay overnight at Hotel.

Day 9Padum to Rangdum

After morning breakfast proceed to the Rangdum Monastery. A few hours of drive from Padum you will be climbing the Penzila pass(4200m). This area is very scenic and you will find many shepherd’s huts here. Rangdum Monastery is an important temple of Zanskar. Built in the 18th century, the monastery belongs to the Gelugpa order of Buddhism and home to some 40 monks.

Return to leisure: Day 10 – Day 11
  • Drive back to the main town
  • Spend a day in scenic valley
  • Return to Leh and enjoy the leisure
Photos

Price Includes

  • 6 nights in village family homestay
  • 6 nights in hotel stay
  • All meals included
  • Tour Guide
  • Entrance Fees
  • All transportation in destination location

Price Excludes

  • Air Fare
  • Visa fee and Travel insurance
  • Any Private Expenses
  • Room Service Fees