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Photographer's Note

The Dhankar Monastery or Goompha dates back to around the 12th Century. Like Kea & Tangyud Monastries, it is built as a Fort.
Located between the towns of Kaza and Tabo - Dhankar was the traditional capital of the Spiti Valley and was the seat of the early rulers of Spiti, the Nonos, who had the right to cultivate the government lands nearby and were required to keep the fort in repair. They also dispensed justice to the people and were noted for their harsh penalties until the British replaced them.
The monastery is also referred to as Lha-'od-pai-dgon-pa; so named after the famous lama - Zla-od. who was born in 1121, according to the Reu-mig. Zla-'od-pa would then mean "a follower of Zla-'od." He is apparently the founder or renovator of the monastery which now belongs to the Gelugpa order. The monks assert that it was not only of earlier origin than the Tabo monastery, but also earlier than Srong-btsan-sgam-po. They have, however, nothing to show of any really ancient relics.
The notable sights at Dhankar Gompa include a statue of Vairochana (Dhayan Buddha) consisting of 4 figures seated back to back in addition to various crumbling thangkas.
There is a small museum in the gompa. In 2006, World Monuments Fund selected Dhankar gompa as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world. A nonprofit group, Dhangkar Initiative, is attempting to organize its conservation.
Dhankar was the traditional capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom during the 17th century and has some features dating back to the 12th century. It was the seat of the early rulers of Spiti, the Nonos, who had the right to cultivate the government lands nearby and were required to keep the fort in repair. They also dispensed justice to the people and were noted for their harsh penalties until the British replaced them.

Today this monastery is simply disintegrating. The Cliffs on which the Monastery was built centuries ago is being eroded by the very strong winds and snow.The walls made of stone and mud is too heavy to stand on loose soil. The "Dhankar Initiative" is a non-profit organisation which has taken positive steps towards its preservation.... Still a lot need to be done before we lose this ancient treasure house.

Tigerlily, bayno, daddo, holmertz, Budapestman, Noel_Byrne, aliabazari has marked this note useful

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Additional Photos by Arunava Ghose (Highmountains) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 278 W: 37 N: 570] (2255)
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