Phugtal Monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, in Kargil district, Jammu & Kashmir state. Phugtal Monastery is located in the remote Lungnak Valley in south-eastern Zanskar taluk. The Phuktal Monastery is built like a honeycomb around a natural cave, which is believed to have been in existence for more than 2,550 years. The present Phuktal Gonpa of the Gelug lineage was established here in the 14th century by Jangsem Sherap Zangpo.
Phugtal Monastery is also known as Phuktal Monastery or Phugtal Gompa and the Monastery can only be reached by foot. Supplies to the Phuktal monastery are brought on donkeys, horses, and mules in the warmer months. In the frozen winters, supplied are brought through the frozen Zanskar River.
Monastery here houses about 70 Buddhist monks. The monastery is built on a cliff, right under a cave entrance. The foundation is built with clay and twigs. The earliest inhabitants of the cave were the 16 followers of Gautama Buddha, whose images are there on the cave walls of the Phugtal Monastery.
How do I Go to Phugtal Monastery?
Phugtal Monastery is very difficult to reach . One can drive up to Zanskar from Padum by road and then need to trek, the remaining part. It requires lot of trekking (anywhere around 7 to 9 hours trekking alone) and its not a place for ordinary tourists. You need to cross many a Himalayan mountain passes to reach the Monastery via villages of Anmu and then Cha. A few houses offer home stay facility in Cha.
Another option is to go to the village Purne, on the opposite side of the river Lungnak and you need to cross wooden bridges en route. The second route is wider and not so high as mentioned in the first option.
Its advisable to opt for a group tour package from any reliable tour operator.