Sani monastery, (near) Padam, Jammu and Kashmir, IN

Raw data

"Sani Monastery of Ladakh belongs to the southern branch of the Drukpa Kagyupa School. It is situated on the road to Kargil, at a distance of approximately 6 km to the west of Padum. The entire Sani Monastery of Ladakh has been built in parts, each dating back to a different century. The chorten inside the oldest part of Sani Monastery is believed to be erected in the 2nd century AD. On the other hand, the Dukhang (assembly hall) of the monastery is said to be constructed in the early 17th century.
The monastery is built in the form of a castle and has the Kanika Stupa in the backyard of its walled complex. Because of the existence of this stupa, it is believed that the monastery was associated with Kanishka, Kushan ruler of 2nd century AD. The central praying hall is situated in the main building of the monastery and stands ornamented with a rich collection of the statues of popular Buddhist divinities and Kargud-pa high lamas. Even the walls of the praying hall are adorned with frescoes and thangkas.
The Sani Gompa of Leh Ladakh is also alleged to be connected with the famous Indian Yogi Naropa. It is believed that the Yogi meditated under the Kanika Stupa, situated in the backyard of the monastery."

"Sani Monastery (also written Sanee), Sa-ni-[tshog], is located next to the village of Sani where the Stod Valley broadens into the central plain of Zanskar in Jammu and Kashmir in northern India. It is about 6 km to the northwest of the regional centre of Padum, a gentle two hour walk. Like Dzongkhul Monastery, it belongs to the Drukpa Kargyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, and is the only one of this order in Zanskar which has nuns.[1] It is thought to be the oldest religious site in the whole region of Ladakh and Zanskar.[2]
The gompa is built to accommodate an ancient chorten 6 m (20 ft) high[3] and of unusual shape, known as the Kanika Chorten, is presumed to date back to the time of the famous Kushan emperor, Kanishka.[4] Kanishka's era is now thought to have begun in 127 CE. "

"Sani Monastery - Emperor Kanishka (Aka Kanika) had got 108 chortens constructed in the first century AD. One of them is in Sani. The holy site at Sani is called Turtot Gyat and is one of the 8 holiest Buddhist sites in the world. That is why most of the Luminaries of Himalayan Buddhism including Padma Sambhava, Naropa and Marpa have visited Sani. This venerable monastery had ancient and medieval frescoes."

"Situated on the way to Kargil, about 6 km to the west of Padum is the Sani Monastery. Also known as Turtot Gyat, the monastery is one among the 8 most sacred places of the Buddhists. Built by the Emperor Kanishka during 2nd century, the monastery is visited by most of the Luminaries of Himalayan Buddhism which includes Padma Sambhava, Naropa and Marpa. Housing some of the ancient paintings, the monastery is a worth visiting place."

"The Sani Monastery was built in prehistoric times of the 2nd century, with other outlandish structures noted as its supplementary attractions. This monastery is a part of Drukpa Kagyupa School. The interesting collections of frescoes and stucco murals, cemetery, veiled bronze image of Naropa are the additional attractions of this monastery."

"En-route to Karsha there is another big Gompa at Sani, which is the oldest in Zanskar & the only one built on the valley floor. The gompa of Sani […] Behind the main temple is "Kanishka Chorten" which is believed to be established by Kushan King Kanishka during 1-2 century,The main hall houses a prayer hall with an array of statues of Buddhist legends and the Drugpa. there are two other temple, one of them is permanently locked, where "Naropa" is said to have Meditated 900 years back & the other one is "La-khang" which enshrines unique bas-reliefs of gold faced icons of manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava , apart from the temple there is one 2 mts high stone figure of "Maitreya" carved out some time between 8-9 centuries."

Input by: tmciolek, Mar 14, 2012

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 12 Jul 2014

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 Sani monastery, IN.

General location of the Sani monastery, IN.
lat=33.5051 long=76.80972
Mapping & images: Falling Rain Genomics (, 2012.

Google Map link:,%20IN)&ll=33.5051,76.80972&spn=05.0,05.0&t=k&hl=en

Final data - explanatory notes

1. Monastery's name

2. Monastery's modern country & province

  • India:State of Jammu and Kashmir:Zanskar

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 33.5051 Long 76.80972 - based on the visual identification of the monastic site (and the nearby stupa) in satellite imagery, - tmciolek, 14 Mar 2012.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

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: <=0200 - tmciolek 12  Jul 2014
<=0200 0200-32c 0233-66c 0267-99c 0300-32c 0333-66c 0367-99c 0400-32c 0433-66c 0467-99c 0500-32c 0533-66c 0567-99c 0600-32c 0633-66c 0667-99c 0700-32c 0733-66c 0767-99c 0800-32c 0833-66c 0867-99c 0900-32c 0933-66c 0967-99c 1000-32c 1033-66c 1067-99c 1100-32c 1133-66c 1167-99c 1200=> dated-el

12. Date-intermediate

  • [missing data]

13. Date-late

  • the Dukhang (assembly hall) of the monastery is said to be constructed in the early 17th century.


MBM chrono-tag: 1200=> - tmciolek 12  Jul 2014

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

  • [missing data]

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

  • [missing data]

16. Additional notes

  • [missing data] (incl. details of the size of the monastic population)

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

  • [missing data]

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