Zongkhul monastery, (near) Ating, Jammu and Kashmir, IN

Raw data

"Zongkhul Monastery is an impressive cave monastery situated in Zanskar Valley, Leh District of Jammu and Kashmir. Zanskar is about 20 km south of Rangdum.
Lying on the Padum-Kishtwar trekking route, the monastery is connected with Naropa, a famous India Yogi. It is believed that the two caves around the monastery were used by Naropa for solitary mediation. One of the stones near the entrance of the cave has a foot print, which is believed to be that of the yogi.
This splendidly set monastery has an impressive location, situated like a Swallow's nest on the rock face of the Ating George, overlooking the Zongkhul falls and the ascent of Umasi Pass.
The murals on the cave walls reflect a high degree of artistic achievement. Zhadpa Dorje, a celebrated scholar-painter of the same monastery who was active about 300 years ago, is believed to have painted the cave walls."
Zongkhul Monastery is easily accessible from Stongdey (20 km) and Burdan (10 km).

"After Naropa meditated here, the monastery became the sacred place of meditation for all the mahasiddhas of Zanskar. Enlightened people like Dubchen Kunga Gyatso, Dubchen Nawang Tsering, Dzadpa Dorje, Karmapa, Kunga Choslag, etc have used Zongkul for meditation purposes" - http://www.buddhist-temples.com/buddhist-monastery/ladakh/zongkul.html

"Zongkhul monastery - Its founding is ascribed to Naropa, the celebrated Indian teacher who lectured in the universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila."

"For two brief days, we hiked from the Omasi-la pass down to Zongkhul Gonpa in the Ating Gorge. […] we arrived at Zongkhul monastery, a cave monastery where Naropa, a Nalanda University scholar a millenium ago. Inside the cave where Naropa meditated for two years, we talked with Phuntsog Tsering. At the time, the glaciers were much larger, as Naropa left his hiking stick on a cliff high above, supposely at the level of the glacier at the time, but now high above and the glacier has retreated several miles. From this location, he saw the two caves and decided to meditate there.
The cave today is surrounded by a monastery structure, with 15 old monks and 23 young monks. Inside the cave is a stone footprint, soot-covered murals, a large drum, a ritual bell, scriptures, and idols of Tulku Nawang Tsering, a lama who renovated the monatery a century and a half ago. Buddha, Padmasambhava, Mitukpa and Mahakala are also present.
In two other rooms are small, detailed 600 year-old statues housed behind glass, reliquary stupas with remnants of Buddha's ash, and thangkas depicting Marpa's life story."

"[A way to reach Zongkhul via the Omas0la pass - tmc, 17 Apr 2012]
Day 05: Gulabgard/Atholi to Kunal bridge (zampa) 6-7 hrs walk
Day 06: Kunal bridge to Marchel.6hrs
Day 07: Marchel to zardung gup 6-7 hrs
Day 08: Zardung gup to Base OmasiLa 6hrs
Day 09: Omasi La to Tsogpochey or gawara, 5-6 hrs
Day 10: Gawara to Atting. To Padum by car enrouts visit zongkhul and sani Gompa. 1 hr drive to Padum camp / hotel"

"The other spectacular cave monastery of Zanskar, Zongkhul falls on the Padum-Kishtawar trekking trail, just before the ascent to the Omasi-la pass begins. Built like a swallow's nest on the rock face in the Ating gorge, the monastery is associated by legend with the famous Indian Yogi, Naropa, who is believed to have used for meditation the two caves around which the monastery has been developed. A footprint on a stone near the ingress of the lower cave is highly revered as that of the yogi. The frescoes on the cave walls are very old and reflect a high degree of artistic achievement. These are believed to be the original murals executed by Zhadpa Dorje, the famous scholar-painter of Zanskar who was active in the same monastery about 300 years ago."

Input by: tmciolek, Apr 17, 2012

Final data (and their sources)

Last updated: 17 Apr 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 Zongkhul Monastery monastery, IN.

General location of the Zongkhul Monastery monastery, IN.
Lat 33.5748 Long 76.6816
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:State of Jammu and Kashmir

3. Monastery's alternative/historical names

4. Monastery's lat/long coordinates

  • Approx. Lat 33.5748 Long 76.6816 - based on the visual identification of the site in satellite imagery, maps.google.com - tmciolek, 17 Apr 2012.

5. Other known nearby Buddhist monasteries

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

7. The settlement's alternative/historical names

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8. The settlement's coordinates

9. Monastery's major Buddhist tradition

10. Monastery's Buddhist sub-tradition

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11. Date-early

12. Date-intermediate

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13. Date-late

14. Details of contacts with other monasteries

15. Type of evidence regarding the monastery

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16. Additional notes

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

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