Department of Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir

Diskit Monastery


Withing the Nubra region of Ladakh, Diskit is situated at an altitude of 3142 meters above sea level, and lies 15 km north-west off the Khalsar-Panamik route, at the edge of the desert in Shyok valley. Among the larger villages, Diskit is the administrative centre of Nubra valley.

Diskit is famous for its 14th century monastery, which is believed to be the largest and oldest monastery in Nubra valley. The monastery can be reached from the Diskit village through a rugged and dusty road that crosses a stream in the middle of the village.


The monastery belongs to Gelugpa order or the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhsim. It was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo, the disciple of Tsong Khapa, in 14th century.


Diskit monastery was given to Rimpoche of Thiksey monastery during 18th century. It is still under the management of Thiksey monastery and hence, considered a sub-gompa of Thiksey. The monastery is of Tibetan style construction and boasts of murals and frescos.


The gompa roof of Diskit offers panoramic views of Nubra Valley. Diskit monastery stands on a hill above the flood plains of Shyok River.
Diskit has a mild climate as it is at a lower elevation and thus has lush vegetation, which has earned it the title of “Orchard of Ladakh". Diskit is precisely famous for it's apricot plantations.


Located closeby, is the gompa of Hundar village. This is a small gompa belonging to the Gelug-pa sect, set amidst innumerable chortens and has a huge impressive statue of Chamba in the main prayer hall. The gompa was built at the time King Jamgyal Namgyal came here with his wife Gyal Khatun. Explore the village which has some beautiful old houses.

History:

The Diskit monastery was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo in the 14th century. The history of the Nubra Valley and the monastery could thus be traced from 14th century onwards. Ladakh was then ruled by King Grags-pa-‘bum-lde (1400–1440) and his brother, who unsuccessfully attempted to usurp Nubra Valley, which was under a local ruler named Nyig-ma-grags-pa. The local ruler assisted a Gelugpa order advocate to build the monastery at Diskit and deify the idol of Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Gelugpa sect, in the monastery.

During the rule of King Blogros-chog-idan (1440–1470) who had even controlled western Tibet, Panchen Lha-btsun - a resident of Nubra Valley by birth - studied in Tibet and later became a regent to the founder of Tashilhunpo Monastery and finally during his last stage of life returned to Nubra. His remains have been preserved in Charas. In 1500, Ladakh was ruled by Bkra-shis-rnam-rgyal, who fought the invader Mirza Haider of Central Asia, in Nubra and close to Leh, finally defeated the latter and thus bringing Nubra under Ladakh King’s rule.

Even then, the local chieftains still yielded power in Diskit and Hundar. Shia Muslims started settling in Nubra after this war. Bkra-shis-rnam-rgyal’ son, Tshedbang-rnam-rgyal ruled Ladakh from 1530 and expanded his kingdom. At that time, Nubra people prevailed on him and preventing him from invading Hor in Xinjiang, as trade with Yarkand was considered crucial to Nubra. During the reign of Jams-dbang-rnam-rgyal, historical records indicate that a regular tribute payment was made by the Nubra people to the king. The King Bde-‘Idanrnam-rgyal (1620–45) successfully defeated Baltistan and the Mughals. Rgyal kings were very religious and built mani walls throughout their kingdom.

Monks were specially engaged to recite hymns of Mani-tung chur in Nubra Valley and in other surrounding areas. In mid eighteenth century, Tshe-dbang-rnam-rgyal gave away the control of Diskit monastery to the Rinpoche of Thiksey Monastery and this arrangement has been perpetuated to this day. Since then, Diskit is considered a sub-gompa of Thiksey.
Geography.

The Diskit monastery is situated on the hill, just above the flood plains of the Shayok River. Nubra River is a tributary of the Shyok River, which flows parallel to the Indus River on the northern side of the Ladakh range. Since the valley is at lower elevation, it has a mild climate. This climatic condition has created lush vegetation in the valley and the valley is, therefore, called the "Orchard of Ladakh".


The Monastery


Diskit Monastery has been built at the edge of the approach road. This road links with Parthapur and Those. Approach to the monastery is through a flight of steps made of stones, which lead to the prayer hall of the monastery. A statue of Maitreya Buddha is enshrined in the hall. There is a huge drum located within the hall. In the chamber on the second floor, there are many images of fierce guardian deities. Diskit monastery has an elevated cupola with a fresco of the Tashi Lhunpo monastery of Tibet. The historic and culturally important Tashi Lhunpo was founded in 1447 by the First Dalai Lama near Shigatse in Tibet.

The monastery, which houses about 100 monks, runs a school in its precincts. This school teaches Tibetan children. The school has been upgraded recently to enable teaching of scientific subjects with support from the Lungta, a 'Tibet Support Group' (a Non Governmental Organization -NGO) who have created computer facilities in the school. Lungta has trained the monks of the monastery in computer skills and in the English language so that they could in turn teach the children of the school.

About Jammu & Kashmir Tourism

The Department of Tourism, J&K is the main developmental, promotional and regulatory arm of the J&K Government. Its main role comprises of overall planning and execution of schemes for the development, up-gradation and improvement of the tourism infrastructure in different parts of the State.
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