July 17, 2016, 1235 hours.
#Dhankar is a village in the Laghpal Tashi Choling Gompa mountains. It is the home of the Dhankhar Monastery and Fort, both said to be established and built in the time of and by the first King of #Spiti, #Nimagon and his son #DichokGon. I know this 😇 because I read the information board at the main gate of the Monastery.
The Monastery and fort are a marvel if you consider the layout, extent, and the precarious positioning of the whole complex.
The views are stunning. But that’s probably not the reason why it was built here. The location seems to have inherent strategic advantages, if one imagines the two routes into the complex – from the #Tabo side and from the #Lalung side. There is one other possible entry into the complex from the mountains right across and adjacent, the ones which are home to the age-old Formations, but that is easily visible and also a difficult entry point.
From the Monastery, one can view the expanse of the Spiti valley, parts of the #Pin valley, the Confluence, and the valleys and gorges and passes of the surrounding mountains. The complex runs across the mountain on which it is built and it provides excellent strategic advantage.
The Monastery itself is ancient and is a functional monastery with well preserved artefacts and inscriptions, but it has been facing the ravages of time and natural elements and is now at apparent risk.
Efforts seem to be on to fund its preservation and I hope more people visit Dhankhar and support the preservation initiative.
The peace, calm and serenity of the institution is to be felt and experienced and it will mean different things to different people, depending on when one visits, in what state of mind, and which stage of life.
I intend to return again and again, for, there are stories awaiting me, the winds call me, and the beats of life bid my spirit to explore and learn more about this bit of history of the people that I am part of and the land to which I am born.