It is one of the most dramatic sights in Ladakh. Precariously positioned on a high, craggy spur overlooking a barren mountain, Lamayuru Gompa (nullmonastery) draws wide eyed wonder from first time travelers. Even those who do not visit the monastery make the mandatory stop at the base of the valley while travelling on the Srinagar-Leh highway. Such is its eerie appeal of Lamayuru! The surrounding landscape has often been described as 'Moon Land '.
A major landmark on the legendary Silk Route, the 11th century Lamayuru is Ladakhâs oldest surviving monastery. Naropa, a Buddhist scholar from Kashmir is said to have established this monastery. The monastery got its next infusion of life from Rinchen Zangpo. A Tibetan, he came to India to study Buddhism and went on to become a great translator of Sanskrit Buddhist texts into Tibetan. Along with taking Lamayuru to a high, he went on build many significant monasteries in present day Ladakh, Spiti and Kinnaur. The Lamayuru Monastery belongs to the Drikung Kagyu sub-sect, of the Kagyu School of Tibetan Buddhism.
Lamayuru also serves as the starting point of a popular trek between Lamayuru and Alchi.
Restaurant - Most of the eating joints are in the village below the monastery. Momos, thupka, chowmein, and rice-dal-roti are easily available. For those with a yen to try local preparations, we recommend tsampa. Made of fried barley flour, it combines well with eggs and meat.
Located 130 kilometers (null miles) west of Leh, Lamayuru enjoys an important position in the pecking order of monasteries in Ladakh. While most important monasteries in Ladakh are part of the Gelugpa (nullYellow Hat order), Lamayuru belongs to the Drikung Kagyu sub-sect of the Kagyu (nullRed Hat) order of Tibetan Buddhism.
Lamayuru significance stems from the fact that it is the oldest surviving monastery of Ladakh. It was founded by Naropa, a Buddhist scholar from Nalanda University who came looking for his guru Tilopa, a master of Tantra. After a twelve year stint with his guru, Naropa established this monastery in the 11th century. He scripted the famous treatise, The Six Yogas of Naropa. Among Naropaâs followers was Marpa, who is regarded as one of the founders of the Kagyu order.
Lamayuru stands at a height of 3,510 meters (null,515 feet). It is flanked by Fotu La, and the Zanskar. Like the rest of Ladakh, Lamayuru experiences cold and arid climate. Short summers and long winter months mark local conditions. Temperatures vary between summer highs of 33 °C (null.4°F) and winter lows of upto -28 °C (null-18.4°F). Lamayuru receives negligible rainfall like the rest of the Trans Himalayan region.
Surface - Lamayuru is on the main Srinagar-Leh highway. Open through the year, Lamayuru can be reached from either side. It is located 130 kilometers (null miles) west of Leh, and most travelers do a day trip to Lamayuru from Leh. Transport is easily available.
Train - Udhampur, around 500 kilometers (null miles) approximately, is the closest broad gauge railway station that connects with the rest of India. Although Srinagar has a railway station, it operates only in the Kashmir Valley.
Air - Lehâs Kushok Bakula Rimpochee airport is the only commercial airbase in the Ladakh region. Around 130 kilometers (null miles) from Lamayuru, the airport is serviced by Air India, Kingfisher and Jet Airways. Delhi, Srinagar and Mumbai enjoy good connectivity. Although the flight services are regular, unpredictable weather conditions during winters can result in delayed and cancelled flights.
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