(monastery) dominates the valley. It is easy to see why in bygone times this
site served as an outpost to guard the caravan route. Like all Buddhists
monasteries it is adorned by frescoes and statues.
The last sign
of Buddhism, as you shortly
head into the Muslim-dominated regions near Kargil and beyond. Mulbekh's
main claim to fame is the impressive eight meter high Chamba statue, an
image of a future Buddha, cut into the rock face, dating back to about 700
AD. There are also two gompas serdung and Gandentse, which offer great views
of the valley.
Situated 45 kms East of Kargil on the road to Leh, Mulbek (3230 m) in an
area dominated by the Buddhists. It is situated along either banks of the
Wakha River, which originates. Many monuments of the early Buddhists era dot
the landscape and are accessible from the road.
complex spills out of the mouth of a huge cave high up in the sheer mountain
face of a lateral gorge through which a major tributary of the southern Lungnak (Lingti-Tsarap) River flows. Perhaps, the most isolated monastic
establishment of Zanskar, its foundation date back to the early 12th century
; at least one old chappel, among the several several of which it is
composed, has frescos and ceiling decorations reflecting strong Indian
artistic and iconographic influence.
Phugthal is accessible from the Padum-Manali
trekking route through a 7 km long trail that branches off from the Purney
Bridge on the main trail. A visit to Phugthal, including Bardan and Muney
monasteries enrooted, makes a good 5-days round trek from Padum.
Alternatively, one can add one extra day to Padum-Manali trekking itinerary
to include a day-return visit to this unique monastic establishment
inhabited by a resident community of about 40 monks.