Dhankar monastery, (near) Kaza, Himachal Pradesh, IN

Raw data

Dhankar Gompa - approx. 1000 AD
"Situated around 1 km away Dhankar Gompa is the small village of Shichilling, which houses the new Dhankar Monastery. The new monastery belongs to the Gelugkpa School of Order and serves as the residence of approximately 150 monks."

"The monastery was built approximately one thousand years ago" - http://www.buddhist-temples.com/buddhist-monastery/himachal-pradesh/dhankar-gompa.html

"Founded between 7th and the 9th centuries, Dhankar's old temple complex is known by the name of Lha-O-pa Gompa (monastery of the followers of Lha-O). The monastery consists of a number of multi-storeyed buildings perched together, giving a fortress like impression. There are five different halls including Kanjur, Lhakhang, and Dukhang where a life size silver statue of Vajradhara, the Diamond Being, is placed in a glass altar embellished with scarves and flowers."

"Dhankar Monastery : It is situated about 25 kms. east of Kaza and serves eastern part of central Spiti. Dhankar is a big village and erstwhile capital of Spiti King. On top of a hill there is a fort which use to be a prison in olden times. The Monastery has about 100 Lamas and is in position of Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language. Principal figure is a Statue of "Vairochana" (Dhayan Budha) consisting of 4 complete figures seated back to back. It has relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures."

"Dhankar Gompa (also Drangkhar or Dhangkar Gompa; Brang-mkhar or Grang-mkhar) is a Gompa, a Buddhist temple in the district of Lahaul and Spiti in India. It is situated at an elevation of 3,894 metres (12,774 feet) in the Spiti Valley between the towns of Kaza and Tabo. The complex is built on a 1000-foot (300-metre) high spur overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers - one of the world's most spectacular settings for a gompa. Dhang or dang means cliff, and kar or khar means fort. Hence Dhangkar means fort on a cliff.
Dhankar, like Key Monastery and Tangyud Monastery in Spiti, and Thiktse, Likir and Rangdum monasteries in Ladakh, was built as a fort monastery on the Central Tibetan pattern. It was reported in: Handa 1987:131, 149 - tmc] to have had 90 monks in 1855." -

The monastery is also referred to as Lha-'od-pai-dgon-pa:
"Lha-'od seems to be the local pronunciation of Zla-'od, the name of a famous lama who was born in 1121, according to the Reu-mig. Zla-'od-pa would then mean "a follower of Zla-'od." He is apparently the founder or renovator of the monastery which now belongs to the Gelugpa order. The monks assert that it was not only of earlier origin than the Tabo monastery, but also earlier than Srong-btsan-sgam-po. They have, however, nothing to show of any really ancient relics. They explain this fact by stating that the monastery was plundered many times, lastly during the Dōgrā war." - Francke (1914), vol. I, p. 43. cited in http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dhankar_Gompa

Input by: tmciolek, Mar 10, 2012

"[W]e are provisionally inclined to believe that the religious establishment of Brag mkhar was correctly referred to, at least orally, as lHa ‘od pa’i dgon pa , the monastery of lHa ‘od or perhaps of lHa ‘od’s followers. […T]he year 1121 […] might be acceptable for the time of the monastery renovation." LOBSANG Nyima (2010:9-10)
Input by: tmciolek, Dec 16, 2012

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 16 Dec 2012

Lat/Long coordinates' accuracy:
The monastery in question is assumed to be situated actually no farther than 200 m from the point defined by the coordinates below.

Location of Dhankar monastery, IN.

General location of the Dhankar monastery, IN.
lat=32.0908 long=78.2123
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (http://www.fallingrain.com), 2012.

Google Map link:


Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • India: Himachal Pradesh: Spiti Valley

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx., Lat 32.0908 Long 78.2123 - based on visual identification of the site in satellite imagery, maps.google.com - tmciolek, 10 Mar 2012.
  • Approx., Lat 32.090130 Long 78,212331 LOBSANG Nyima (2010:9)

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

  • [missing data]

6. Modern name of the known nearest city, town, or village

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

  • Vajrayana

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

  • [missing data]

11. Date-early

  • MBM chrono-tag 0967-99p 1000-32c 1033-66c - tmciolek 16 Dec 2012
  • 0967-99p 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • "[…T]he year 1121 […] might be acceptable for the time of the monastery renovation." - LOBSANG Nyima (2010:9-10)

13. Date-late

  • MBM chrono-tag 1200c - tmciolek 16 Dec 2012

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

17. Corrections & addenda to this page were kindly provided by

  • [missing data]

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