Takthok (Buddhist Monastery in Jammu Kashmir )

Takthok Monastery : approximately 50 km away from Leh, this monastery is the only one of its kind in all of Ladakh or Kashmir. It belongs to a sect of Buddhism known as the “Old Order”, or locally, the Nying ma pa. The name Takthok literally translated, means Rock Roof, and this may be owing to the cave chapel found inside, and a cave which is also believed to have served as a meditative spot for Guru Padmasambhava. In front of this cave chapel one finds statues of him and Avalokiteshvara. A temple a little higher up, connected to the courtyard by a flight of steps, houses the well preserved 108 volumes of Buddhist teachings. There are two statues of the Buddha along with his two primary disciples, and four more statues of the Buddha can be found in another temple placed right across from this one. The assembly hall of this monastery is particularly noteworthy, for along with rows of low seating for monks and a throne for the Dalai Lama , it also boasts three magnificent statues of the Maitreya Buddha, two statues of Padmasambhava, one of his own self, and one of a future manifestation, Dorje Takposal. In addition to these one finds brilliantly executed wall paintings of Padmasambhava, Buddha Shakyamuni, and guardian divinities. There are two annual festivals celebrated here, the Tak Thok Tse Chu, and the Tak Thok Manchong, between the 9th and 11th day of the ninth Tibetan month, and the 20th and 29th of the sixth Tibetan month respectively.