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Lamayuru Monastery (yuru Gompa)

Lamayuru Monastery, also referred to as the Yuru Gompa, is an infamous Tibetan Buddhist Monastery (Gompa). The monastery is located in the Western Ladakh of Kargil district in India. This Gompa is located on Leh-Kargil-Srinagar road at a distance of almost 15 km in the east side of Fitu La. The monastery is at an elevation of 3510 m from mean sea level. This monastery is widely accredited as the “The Tharpa Ling”, that actually means “The Place of Freedom”. This monastery is actually one of the largest as well as oldest monasteries in the Jammu & Kashmir’s Ladakh area.

The Yuru Gompa belongs to the popular Red-Hat division of the Buddhism society. This monastery currently houses almost 150 monks (only Buddhist monks). This monastery is crafted up by variety of beautiful shrines and also possesses a wide collection of incredible wall paintings along with remarkable Thangkas. The outset of the monastery incorporates 5 buildings. But today, only the central building exists.

The core attraction for monastery is rich collection of Buddhist Thangkas, beautiful wall painting, murals, and statues of several forms of the God Buddha, incredibly artistic scriptures and statues of many deities. Along with these artistic views, this monastery is famous for one more thing – the annual festival that is held here. This festival is known as “Yuru Kabgyat”. The core highlight of this festival is the Mask Dance that is performed and done by the Lamas. Moreover, the effigies are burnt during festival which stands as a symbol of demolition of ego inside every human being.


Lamayuru Monastery has a kind of strange history. Actually, there are three legends associated to this monastery. No one is sure which one is exact or which one not. According to first legend, this monastery was founded and initiated in the 11th century by Mahasiddhacharya Naropa. Naropa came to this place for the purpose of meditation. It is believed that the foundation of Yuru Gompa was actually predicted and that was in Bodhisattva Madhyantaka.

According to another legend, the prediction was that the lake of this area would dry up soon and a Gompa (monastery) would then be crafted at the place of lake. The same happened and this is how this monastery came into existence. Naropa constructed total of 5 buildings but today only one is there.

According to second legend, this building was constructed by ruler of the Ladakh region. He built it in 10th century. But later on, this building was donated as a monastery to Rinchen Zangbo.

There is one more story legend according to which there occurred a problem of leprosy to Jamyang Namgyal who was the ruler of Ladakh in the era of 16th century. The king’s leprosy problem got cured & healed by Buddhist Lama. So with gratitude, the king decided to build a monastery and gift it to that lama. Moreover the king also provided some privileges to lama and that area where monastery was made. This includes tax free as well as no arrest zone. The term ‘Tharpa Ling’ of the Lamayuru is supposed to be related to third legend.


Lamayuru Monastery was supposed to have 5 buildings when it came into existence in early times but today it has only one building left. The Gompa has one assembly hall (Dukhang), the temple (Gonkhang) along with some residential buildings that are there for monks who live here. The Dukhang walls are beautifully painted with some incredible artistic colorful pictures and images of deities of Buddhists. Gonkhang is the area which has been devoted to Buddhism’s guardians.

The front of the temple possesses 3 small chortens. There is a famous cave, Naroma cave at the side of the temple. It is believed that this is the cave where Naroma performed his meditation. The temple is quite small but has several images and pictures of Avalokitesvara that is having 11 heads and 1000 arms. Along with Avalokitesvara, the temple also has images of Padmasambhava as well as some statues of 8 Bodhisattvas.

The monastery is all surrounded by serene nature. Size wise this monastery is one of the largest and oldest Buddhists monasteries in the area of Leh.

Reaching There

Lamayuru Monastery is in Kargil district of Ladakh in India. So to reach Lamayuru Monastery one has to reach Kargil in Ladakh. To reach Lamayuru, one can opt for options, by roads, trains or by air.

The nearest airport is in Leh while the nearest railways station is in Jammu. From these two, buses or cabs can be taken since cabs and buses go directly to Lamayuru.

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