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Lamayuru is the oldest and the most interesting monastery of Ladakh, situated 125 kilometers from Leh. On the way to Leh from Srinagar, you come to this amazing region of dusty mountains with a bizarre but beautiful texture. Here, Lamayuru village is settled inside a small, bowl-shaped valley formed out of a badland area. A tale accounts that once this valley was filled with a lake, but upon the prayer of a pious Buddhist, the valley was emptied of the water. Geologists have also found signs of there being water in this area a long time ago. It may be due to the presence of water that the land has eroded in a strange way so as to form large and fascinating shapes in the mountain that give Lamayuru its identity.


It is believed that this monastery was founded by Rinchen Zangpo, the founder of the Alchi monastery, which falls on the same route. Zangpo, the great translator and builder, a monk himself, had been given a charge by the kings of Ladakh of building 108 monasteries. Of all the monasteries he founded, Lamayuru is the set in the most unusual and interesting place.


This monastery that once housed hundreds of monks is today the home to hundred and fifty monks. The main gompa here had five buildings originally. However, four of those are mostly in ruined state today. There are some attractive murals in the monastery. The gompa also exhibits statues of bodhisattvas, chortens adorned with jewelry and ancient masks of chaam.


Lamayuru makes a good visit on your way to Leh from Kargil, or opposite. It is a place you should definitely take a halt at. You can plan your visit to the monastery along with your lunch at a fine restaurant nearby the monastery. Lamayuru also offers hotels for the night stay.


The way to Leh from Lamayuru is divided between two options. The new road is quick and less troublesome for the drivers. However, soon after Lamayuru, the old road passes in a snaking formation descending down the hill. This can be a rare and interesting site. The road is famously known as ‘jalebi mod’


This wonderful and the oldest monastery of Ladakh, a true joy for the photographers, is definitely worthy of your visit if you are on the Leh-Srinagar road trip. Of all the wonderful attractions on this journey, this is certainly one.


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Quick Reference

Lamayuru is situated around 125 kilometers away from Leh. It is one of the oldest monasteries of Ladakh. The most astonishing feature of this place is its unique and picturesque view that attracts photographers and tourists alike. It is believed to be founded by Rinchen Zangpo. Lamayuru is the residence of one hundred and fifty monks today. The main gompa has five buildings originally, but four of them are ruined today. This monastery has attractive murals and also exhibits statues of Bodhisattvas, chortens adorned with jewelry and ancient masks of chaam. At Lamayuru, hotels are available for night stay and food is not a problem.


Destination Grade: B (What is this?)
Rating: 7/10
Population: 150 monks
Airport: Leh (125 km)
Railway station: Jammu Tawi in Jammu.
How to reach: Well connected by road from Kargil and Leh and almost all the major parts of the state.
Major Tourist Attraction: Lamayuru Monastery, Masked Dance, Wanla Gompa, Yangdrung Kabgyat festival
Speciality[Famous for]: Monastery
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Total Reviews : 2
Reviews by users : (2)
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Trek and Lamayuru - by Philip  Dated : 2011-03-17
It was the last day of our trek, the 10th one and I was really annoyed because the rain was not ready to stop. We were to cross the seventh and last pass, the Bongbong La. It was a difficult trek, but I was too determined. I was one of the two to reach the Bongbong La first; it was almost 10.00 am then. After a short while, all the six people that constituted our group got there and we descended another 500 meters to reach our jeeps. The jeeps took to Khalsi, which was filled with shops and restaurants, something that we had seen from quite some time.
At around 1.00 pm we got back into our jeeps, by then the rain had stopped but the weather was cloudy. We were now at Lamayuru, to visit the Lamayuru monastery after an hour drive. The road that had brought us to Lamayuru was beautiful, it wound the mountains and we could see the snake like river below. We were also scared at times for the jeep came dangerously close to the edge of the road. The town was something wonderful though. The houses were in despair and the place smelled very bad. Legends suggest that the place was under a lake but after some determined Buddhist prayed hard to the guardian angels, the water drained away. Bad that the smell remained!
The Lamayuru Gompa or monastery is situated on a cliff. It was worth a visit. It is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh and dates back to the 10th century. The roof of the gompa offered beautiful views of the valley. The monastery had an assembly hall and it was one of the most colorful room I had seen in my entire life. The Lamayuru monastery today houses hundreds of monks.
After the visit to this beautiful gompa we returned eastwards to our final campsite called Ulitokpo. We had a great time at Lamayuru.
Lamayuru on the way to Leh - by Roshan Kumar Dated : 2011-03-06
I went to Lamayuru during my road trip to Ladakh with my family. It was a wonderful trip as my newly married brother and his wife had joined us and so had some very old family friends along with my parents. We arrived at Lamayuru in the afternoon and we were astonished at the site of this small colony. There are houses and trees settled on the slope of a hill and the hill has a very unusual appearance. We went into the town and to the monastary which is the most famous place. Although the monastarey was not any different from the other monasteries in Ladakh this town was definitely very different from any I had seen in India.

The lunch at Lamayuru was very nice. There is only one good restaurant here near the monastery but serves nice food. But it can be dark inside. You can also take your food outside but in summers there is very strong sun outside.

Lamayuru is very nice to visit on the way to Leh. There are many monks here who are friendly and tell interesting experiences. It was a pleasure to visit Lamayuru