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Serzang Temple

Leh, the northern most tourist hotspot of Jammu and Kashmir is also home to the beautiful Serzang Temple. It is believed that this temple was originally built with copper and gold in the 17th century and it is the abode of a 30 ft tall gilded idol of Maitreya Buddha. This picturesque shrine, set amongst sky blue skies and sparkling lakes of Ladakh, can be reached via the main Leh-Srinagar Highway and is situated at a motorable distance of 40 km from Leh town.

About Serzang Temple

Serzang Temple, built exclusively with gold and copper as its raw materials, is one of the most revered places of worship in the higher confines of Jammu and Kashmir. Devotees travel from across the globe to visit this venue of religious significance set in rough and harsh terrains; which boasts of narrow unbeaten paths, harsh climate and scenic locales-- far from the maddening bustle of urban towns/cities.

Serzang Temple is home to many colorful murals and paintings of the likes of Naropa, Mila Raspa, Tilopa and Marpa. Ornately painted walls of the temple complex depict various different episodes from the life of Lord Buddha. These pictures along with those of the followers of the Red Hat sect are appreciated, liked and researched upon by historians, art lovers, devotees and tourists alike.

This holy shrine also boasts of a manuscript copy of the famous Tibetan Buddhist Canon. This Serzang manuscript is inscribed in letters of silver, copper and gold and is worshipped along it the presiding deities of the Temple. The manuscript was commissioned to the shrine by King Senge Namgyal in the 17th century.  It was written as an act of merit and has been preserved in the internal chambers of the Serzang Temple ever since.

The temple is also the resting place of the famous volumes of Tandshur and Kandsur, which occupy a pride of place on the right and left sides of the main temple. The main idol of the deity is cased in a glass box like structure, which is raised to the ceiling and can be viewed from a gallery on the top of the monument. The serene and quiet setting of this temple make it all the more sanctified and sanguine and gives rise to the spirit of extreme devotion and meditation.

Devotees visiting Serzang Temple also like to visit the nearby Chamba Lhakhang/ Chamchung Shrine and Maitreya Temple.


Serzang Temple is an important part of the mud-brick fortress connected with the Basgo Gompa. Perched amidst the mountains of Ladakh, the three temples, earthen walls and the citadel of this spectacular venue were constructed by Tibetan king Grags-pa-‘bum way back in the 16th-17th centuries. The Serzang Temple along with the Chamba Lakhang and Chamchung forms the central part of the complex and is located on a round mound.

These temples are dedicated to Lord Maitreya Buddha—who is considered as the 5th incarnation of Sakyamuni. The brightly painted walls of the temples speak volumes of the movement and life of Buddha along with the vignettes depicting those of the temples’ benefactors.

Getting There and Around

By Air

Daily flights from Delhi to Leh are the best option for international tourists reaching India at Delhi International airport. Jammu and Chandigarh are also connected to Leh via flights which operate twice a week. There are weekly flights from Srinagar as well. Affordable cab facilities are available from the Airport to the central parts of Leh.

By Rail

Jammu, located a distance of 734 km from Leh is the nearest rail head for devotees traveling to Serzang Temple. Jammu is connected by many trains and broad gauged lines with important cities and towns of the country. With direct connectivity to Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi, Trivandrum and other important centers of Southern India, Leh is linked to the rest of the country via Jammu.

After getting off at the railway station of Jammu, tourists, visitors and devotees can avail of regular bus services or private taxis to Leh. The trip can be hectic and takes over two days.

By Road

The Srinagar-Leh highway stretches across 434 km and is the easiest and most popular way of traveling from other parts of the country into Ladakh. This road is open to public only in the months of June to November. Tourists traveling by road also choose to find themselves on the scenic Manali-Leh road which is 473 km long and is open for commuting during the period of mid-July to mid-October. Tourists preferring to drive their own vehicles on this road should be wary of bad weather condition and damaged patches on the roads.

Serzang Temple - the Annual Festival

The ceremonies and annual festivals celebrated at the Serzang Temple are well attended by devotees from across the world. The occupants and lamas of the Hemis monastery close by and natives residing in the proximate villages love to participate in the musical festivities and ceremonial acts of Serzang Temple.


The different gompas and shrines connected with the Serzang Temple in Basgo belong to the 15tb century. The original complex had a small shrine and two larger temples. The treasures and precincts of the temple are being preserved and taken care of by a lama from the Hemis Gompa.

The highest point of the shrine in Basgo is dominated by the Maitreya Temple or the Chamba Lha-khang shrine. Built in the 16th century by the famous Tshe-wang Namgyal -a ruler of the Namgyal dynasty of Ladakh, this temple is one of the oldest in the region and boasts of great architectural confines and ornate pictures depicting various chapters of religious significance. These structures flank the famous Serzang Temple which is now in a dilapidated state.

Just a level below the Serzang Temple is a smaller shrine dedicated to Zeze Khatunee- a Balti princess married to Senge Namgyal. This shrine was probably built in the year 1642. The Muslim origin of this princess had led the monks of the region transform her into an incarnation of Tara. It is believed that her shrine contains a mammoth idol of Maitreya (Buddha of Compassion/ Future Buddha). The external and internal walls of this shrine depict various murals and wall paintings which portray various guardian deities protecting the complex.

Best Time to Visit

The Serzang Temple located in the harsh and tough terrains of Leh is best visited between the months of June to September. Leh, one of the two districts of the remote region of Ladakh is distinguished by its harsh and cold winters and comparatively pleasant summers--which offer idyllic settings for travelers wishing to experience its stunning Himalayan terrains.

If you wish to travel to Leh during winters, then be prepared for frost bites, acclimatization problems and loads of difficulties for the infants and seniors travelling with you. The temperature during winters lingers below 0°C, making it one of the toughest seasons for visitors and devotees alike.

The months of June to September are the summer months and the best time to visit Leh. The passes leading into the territory are clear and open during this period and the weather is pleasant and tolerable. With crystal blue skies above and temperatures ranging between 20 ° to 30°C, summers in Leh offer plenty of sightseeing opportunities of the ice capped mountains beyond.

Winters lasting through the months of October to May can be very difficult for tourists and devotees traveling from the warmer regions of the country or from across international borders. Regular snowfalls can lead to severe road blockages which cut off the region from the rest of the world.

Rains in Leh are unpredictable and are sporadically scattered across the year.


Serzang Temple is located about 40 km from Leh in the small village of Basgo. There are no comfortable accommodation facilities in close proximity to the temple and tourists prefer to stay in the scenic town of Leh and visit the shrine by road.

Leh is one of the preferred destinations for adventure and nature lovers travelling to Kashmir. Transforming itself into an oft visited tourist hotspot in summers; the hotels, home stays and other reasonably good accommodation facilities provided by the city boast of well equipped rooms, good food and an overall comfortable stay.

The scenic landscapes of Leh can be best explored by booking an affordable room in the market areas or central parts of the town. With a wide range of simple budgeted and deluxe rooms costing INR 800 to INR 2000 per night, these hotels boast of clean room, essential amenities and mouth watering food options.

Tourists can also book themselves more comfortable facilities at a host of luxury and five star resorts which cost anywhere between INR 2500-8000 per night. These venues provide all the luxurious facilities for modern travelers; which include massages, steam baths, indoor sports, satellite television and 24 hour internet.

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