'DHANKAR GOMPA' casts its subtle spell upon a person. Anyone, who visits
it, finds himself unable to forget this place. It is about 25-km east of
Kaza and serving eastern part of central Spiti.
Dhankar is a big village and
erstwhile capital of Spiti King. Dhankar means " a place in the
mountains unreachable for strangers" and which is home to another
monastery associated with the Great Translator, Rinchen Zanggpo.
On top of a hill there is a fort, which used to be the prison in olden times. The Monastery has about 100 Lamas and is in possession of Buddhist scriptures in Bhoti language. Principal figure is a Statue of "Vairochana" or Dhayan Buddha consisting of 4 complete figures seated back to back. It has relics in the shape of paintings and sculptures.
Set against a lunar landscape of crumbling cliffs, the 'Lha Opa Gompa' dates back to the 12th century. The main interest, however, lies in the small chapel on the uppermost peak behind the village of Dhankar- the 'Lkhang Gompa'- with its brilliant murals depicting the life of the Buddha. Probably printed in the 17th century, the dominant bright red pigment has survived especially well.
Although some work has been vandalised, the scenes depicting the Buddha's birth in the heavenly realm, his birth and life in Kapilvastu and his rejection of worldly ways are spectacular.