Photographer's Note

Dhankar village is situated at an elevation of over 3,890 metres in the Spiti Valley. It is connected to the rest of the valley through a motorable road, which is good for small vehicle only. Schichling is a small village lying on the main road between Kaza and Tabo about 24 kms away from Kaza and 22 kms before Tabo. From here, there is a well paved branch road upto Dhankar,8 kms away. No public transport available on this branch road till Dhankar Village. To reach Dhankar, one has to either hire a taxi from Tabo or Kaza.
Dhankar is just like another small village in the cold desert of Spiti Valley. Untouched and away from tourists exploitation , the population of this village is not more than 100. From the top of the hill that extends above the village, Dhankar looks like a bowl-shaped structure in the hills. It seems like almost all the old Dhankar houses emerged straight from the mountains with their main wall on the back being merged on the hills. This is a specialty of Dhankar houses and from wide angle or from distance provides spectacular views.

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.
The monastery is also referred to as Lha-'od-pai-dgon-pa'.

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Additional Photos by Arunava Ghose (Highmountains) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 307 W: 38 N: 676] (2674)
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