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Vajra Bhairava Shrine

Enshrining the highly revered deity of the Geluk-pa sect, the famous Mahakala Vajra Bhairava Temple is located in the rigorous terrains of Leh. Visitors from all across the country and international borders come to visit the abode of this protective deity, which sparks instant feelings of reverence and profound devotion in the hearts of tourists and devotees alike. The temple of Vajra Bhairava is also called the “Temple of Horrors” and is considered to be habited by various fierce deities. Deep and protective meditation has to be practiced by the devotees before they can enter the gates of this holy shrine.

About Vajra Bhairava Shrine

Vajra Bhairava Temple situated at Spituk, lures travelers with its imposing and scenic terrains, along with the religious significance of the shrine. Dedicated to one of the most important tantric deities of the Gelug-pa or Yellow Hat order, the sprawling complex of this oft visited temple is in close proximity to the mountain city of Leh. The temple can be accessed during peak seasons by road and takes tourists through the beautiful winding roads of the equally mesmerizing Indus Valley.

The Vajra Bhairava Temple is appropriately one of the oldest shrines in the region and one of the most important places of worship in Spituk. The presiding deity of this powerful temple is believed to possess supernatural powers. Thousands of devotees from across the globe visit this shrine to offer their prayers and seek the blessings of the deities who reside within.

The temple complex is located close to Leh and is surrounded by well watered fields and warm farmhouses. These are the abodes of natives dealing with the harsh adversities inflicted by nature and the weather conditions--which exist in this small village located far away from urban habitation.

The shrine is home to a large collection of antique arms, ancient masks, icons and thankas. The presiding deities of this popular temple are Kali—the Hindu goddess of death and the deity attributed with supernatural powers—Vajra Bhairava.

Tourists and devotees visiting the Vajra Bhairava Temple also like to explore the rich bounties offered by the nearby Mahakal Temple, Spituk Gustor and Spituk Monastery. Located at an elevation of a breathless 3505m above sea level, this shrine overlooks a small old town of quaint accommodations made of timber and mud bricks.


It is understood that Vajra Bhairava Temple was built in the 15th century and was initially attributed to the Kadampa School. It was later converted to the Gelukpa order under the reign of King Gragspa Bumideit.

The temple is an architectural wonder and is adored by lovers of art and paintings. The external and internal walls of this shrine boast of many attractive paintings, which date back to almost 600 years. These paintings attract historians and art lovers alike and speak volumes of the traditional culture and heritage of the region.

Getting There and Around

By Air

Tourists preferring to travel by air can reach Leh via regular flights which operate between this remote city, Delhi and Srinagar. 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 Vajra Bhairava Shrine. 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 and devotees can avail regular bus services or private taxis to Leh. The journey can prove to be hectic and takes over two days. Some tourists prefer to take the Leh-Manali National Highway which crosses 453 km and is open for regular transport only during the months of mid-June 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. \

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.

Vajra Bhairava Shrine - The Annual Festival

Most devotees wait to participate in the annual festival connected with Vajra Bhairava Temple. Held in the freezing month of January, this festival unveils many rare faces and stature of Lord Buddha.


One of the most important and unique features of the Vajra Bhairava Temple is that the main deity is visible for darshan only once a year. At other times, visitors have to suffice with the views of the other deities who share the temple while the guardian deity rests behind the closed doors of a tucked away sanctum. A the main deities of the temple are said to possess supernatural and tantric powers, devotees and natives feel apprehensive of entering this “Temple of Horror” without going through long periods of devotion and protective meditation.

The Vajrabhairava system of supernatural powers is connected with the highest levels of tantric knowledge which is called the Anuttarayoga tantra. According to the well established traditions of the Gelug order propagated by Tsongkhapa, there is a lot of emphasis on the three deities Guhyasamaja, Chakrasamvara, and Vajrabhairava. It is important for devotees to understand and gain knowledge about the strength of these supernatural powers before stepping into the temple of Vajra Bhairava.

Devotees coming from far flung areas often find it difficult to visit the internal shrines of this complex as they feel that they are not ready t absorb the energies emitted by the deities of the temple.

Best Time to Visit

The Vajra Bhairava Shrine 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.

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 beyond. Regular snowfalls can lead to severe road blockages which cut off the region from the rest of the world.

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 f 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.

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


Vajra Bhairava Shrine is located about 8 km from Leh in the small village of Spituk. 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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