A mere 24-km west of Leh, Phyang Gompa looms large at the
head of a secluded side valley that tapers north into the rugged
range from the Srinagar
Treasures Inside The Gompa
The Gompa itself, a tall buttress-walled building, houses a fifty strong community of Brigungpa lamas, members of the larger Kagyu sect, but few antique murals of note, most having recently been painted over with brighter colours. Its only treasures are a small collection of 14th century Kashmiri bronzes (locked behind glass in the modern Guru Padmasambhava temple), and the light and airy Du-khang's three silver Chortens, one of which is decorated with a seven-eyed coffee coloured Dzi stone. The gem, considered to be highly auspicious, was brought to Phyang from Tibet by the monastery's former head lama, whose ashes the Chorten encases.
Tucked away around the side, the shrine in the Gompa's gloomily atmospheric Gon-khang, lit by a single beam of dusty sunlight, houses a ferocious veiled protector deity and an amazing collection of weapons and armour plundered during the Mongol invasions of the 14th century. Also dangling from the cobweb covered rafters are various bits of dead animals, including most of vulture, an ibex skull, and several sets of Yak horns, believed to be nine hundred year old relics of the 'Bon' cult.
Phyang Tsedup Festival
Phyang's annual festival, Phyang Tsedup, formerly held during the winter but recently switched to summer (falls between mid-July and early August) in order to coincide with the tourist season, is the second largest in Ladakh . Celebrated with the usual masked Chaam dances, the event is marked with a ritual exposition of a giant 10 metre brocaded silk Thangka.
Road: Of the three daily buses that run Phyang from
the capital Leh
, the 8.00 am departure (1hr 15min) is the best option, and then hitch a
lift on a truck.
Note: No photography is allowed, as Phyang is a Military Zone. Phyang Lake, to the north of the Gompa, is in a restricted area and off limits.