The Oldest Surviving Religious Structures Dedicated to Future Buddha (MaitreyaBuddha) at Basgo Buddhist Monastery

Basgo monastery or Basgo gompa  is situated near to Ladakh district, Jammu & Kashmir state,India. This Buddhist monastery  is situated  on the Himalayas. This monastery was established by  Namgyal dynasty rulers in 1680.
Basgo Buddhist Monastery or Basgo GompaBasgo Buddhist Monastery or Basgo Gompa

Basgo gompa was the cultural and political center of the Namgyals. This place is rich in culture and heritage. It is one of the unexplored gems of Ladakh. The monastery overlooks the ruins of an ancient city. View of sunset from the monastery is stunning. You can see the basking Himalayan mountains.

Basgo Buddhist monastery is famous for the Buddha statue and murals paintings. There are three Temples Chamchung, Chamba Lakhang and Serzang; dedicated to Maitreya Buddha  inside the monastery. These temples were built during the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, using mud bricks.  14 meter tall Maitreya Buddha statue is the tallest one among the statues here. The interior walls of these temples have mural paintings, depicting the life of Lord Buddha and others helped in building these temples.

These temples are the oldest surviving religious structures dedicated to Maitreya Buddha (Buddha of the future).

The monastery  and the temples were damaged due to old age. The mural paintings, statues and the floors were damaged. Repair works were carried out in the last decade. These temples are now almost back to its original state. Boundary walls were also constructed for the temples.

Hemis National Park and Hemis monastery are situated close to the the  Basgo Monastery. The nearby monasteries like Hemis Monastery and local people are also dedicated to the cause of preservation of the temples inside Basgo gompa.

How Do I Go to the Buddhist Monastery, Basgo Gompa?

Jammu, the winter capital of the state of Jammu & Kashmir, is at around  650 kilometers away. The nearest railway station is at Jammu.

Srinagar, the summer capital of the state, is at around 380 kilometers away. This road passes through Kargil, the site of the conflict between India and Pakistan in 1999, known as Kargil war or Operation Vijay.

Basgo gompa is at around 42 kilometers from Leh, the largest city and administrative headquarters of  Ladakh district.

Manali is at around 500 kilometers away from the monastery.

Stok Kangri – Himalayan High Altitude Climbing Even for Non-Technical Trekkers After Acclimatization

Stok Kangri is the highest mountain with a height of 6,153 meters or 20,187 feet, in the Himalayan Stok Range. It is situated at a distance 15 kilometers away from Leh, in Jammu and Kashmir state of India.

View of Stok Kangri
View of Stok Kangri

The mountain peak is situated inside the Hemis National Park. Its very popular with High Altitude Climbing community. Base Camp for trekking is at an altitude 4,980 meters or 16,339 feet. Climbing normally takes anywhere between 8 hours to 14 hours. The 3,281 feet trekking time varies, depending on the weather conditions.

The shortest route for the Stok Kangri expedition is through Stok Chu and Stok village. This route is often used while descending. Stok Kangri mountain peak can be be trekked even by the non-technical trekkers, during July and August.

Please bear in mind that High Altitude Climbing requires a lot of stamina and is not for the mentally weak. Acclimatization is also required in most cases.

How Do I Go to Stok Kangri?

Stok Kangri is situated in Stock village, 15 kilometers southwest of Leh, the second largest district in India.

Leh–Manali Highway National Highway, 1D, connects Leh to Srinagar, the Summer capital of the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Manali is at 479 kilometers distance from Lah through this highway. National Highway, 1D, is open only for 4 to 5 months in a year, depending on the snowfall.

There is an International airport and railway station at Srinagar.

Hemis National Park and Hemis Monastery

Hemis National Park is the largest national park in India, spread over 4400 square kilometers and is a world renowned high altitude national park, near Ladakh. Its regarded as the best place to see snow leopards in the wild. Hemis Park is situated in Jammu and Kashmir state of India.

A Snow Leopard in Hemis National Park
A Snow Leopard in Hemis National Park.

The National park is bounded by Indus River on the northern side. This National Park is rich is flora and fauna. A large species of Endangered mammals, including the snow leopard numbering around 200, are found here. Shapo alias Urial or Arkars; a subspecies of wild sheep; are found in this National Park and is the only place to spot them in India. 16 species of mammals and 73 species of birds are found in this park.

Flora consists of alpine vegetation. Hemis National Park is home to around 15 endangered medicinal plants.

Hemis Park is the lone national park in India, which lies north of the Himalayas.

Hemis Monastery, a 400 year old Tibetan Buddhist Monastery, is situated here at Ladakh.

Hemis Monastery (gompa) at Ladakh
Hemis Monastery (gompa) at Ladakh

How Do I Go to Hemis National Park?

Hemis National Park is situated at around 10 kilometers from Leh, the nearest city. The road routes to Leh are Srinagar-Leh highway and Manali-Leh highway; both these passes through some of the highest passes of the continent.

Srinagar railway station and Jammu Tawi railway station are at around 232 and 253 kilometers distance respectively from Hemis National Park. Kalka railway station in Haryana is at around 326 kilometers away.

Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is at around 5 kilometers from Hemis National Park.

Maitreya Statue at Nubra Valley known for Wild Bactrian Camels and Himalayan Trekking

Nubra Valley is a tree-armed valley at an average altitude of 3048 meters or 10,000 feet, located along the Himalayan mountain ranges, in Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir state in India.

Maitreya statue in Nubra Valley
33 meter tall Maitreya statue, a symbol of peace, facing Pakistan, in Nubra Valley.

Nubra Valley is situated to the north-east of Ladakh valley. Buddhists constitute majority of the population. Lower altitude and western end of the Valley has Muslim populated areas.

Shyok River, a tributary of the Indus River, meets the Nubra river (which originates in the Siachen glacier), in Nubra valley and then the widened river flows from here. Siachen Glacier is situated to the north of Nubra valley.

Diskit town in the valley is the main town here. Diskit Monastery, established in 1420 A.D, is situated here. The 33 meter tall Maitreya Buddha statue, facing Pakistan as a symbol of peace, is maintained by the Diskit Monastery inside the Monastery premises. As per Buddhist belief, Maitreya Buddha is the future Buddha of this world.

Baktrian Camel
A Baktrian Camel.

Wild Bactrian Camels can be seen here. They have two humps on their back. (There are wild Bactrian camels and domesticated Bactrian camels). Known for its tolerance for cold conditions as well as drought conditions and high altitudes, people here use thse domesticated Bactrian camel for riding.

Due to the rivers that flows through the valley, the villages along the valley are fertile. Many a fruits, nuts and pulses are grown in the valley.

How Do I Go to Nubra Valley?

Nubra Valley can be accessed from Leh town, through the Khardung La pass, which was once regarded as the highest motor-able road in the world and is open all through the year. Diskit town is the main town in the valley which is connected to Leh.

In 2008, an alternative route was built from Sakti, connecting the main Nubra road, via Agham and Khalsar, along River Shyok. For the trekking enthusiasts, there are many passes over the Ladakh Range of mountains, from the Indus Valley.

Leh is connected to Srinagar, the state capital, by buses. There is an airport and a railway station at Srinagar.

Inner Line Permits to Nubra Valley

Foreigners are required to get the Inner Line Permits to visit Nubra Valley. Indian citizens are not required to get this permits from 1st May 2014.

Dachigam National Park Near Srinagar

Dachigam National Park alias Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary is located near to Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir state, India.

Sarband Lake with Dachigam National Park in the background
Sarband Lake with Dachigam National Park in the background

Dachigam National Park is spread across an area of 141 square kilometers. Dachigam in local language means 10 villages; named in memory of the ten villagers that were forced to move out of this protected national park.

Dachigam National Park is a protected area from 1910. Initially, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir declared this as a protected area. Later on, the concerned government authorities took charge of the area. Though the area was first created as a a game preserve and for the drinking water needs of Sri Nagr city, in 1981 the area was declared as a National Park.

Dachigam National Park is part of the Zabarwan Range of Mountains, which is part of Western Himalayas. It is located at an altitude of 5500 feet to 14000 feet. Marsar lake is located deep inside the National park. This lake is the source of Dagwan river.

This National Park is rich in flora and fauna. Meadows of Dachigam National Park is known for its brightly colored flowers. The forests are heavily wooded.

How Do I Go to Dachigam National Park?

Dachigam National Park is at a distance of around 22 kilometers from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir state in India. National Highway 1A and National Highway 1D passes through Srinagar. Srinagar railway station is the nearest railway station to Dachigam Wildlife Sanctuary. There is an airport at Srinagar which is connected to other parts of the country and abroad.