After having a tight sleep on the warm and comfortable beds, we got up quite early the next day. We had to start the journey early as we had a lot of places to cover. We had our breakfast at the hotel and jumped inside the cab that we had booked to take us to all the pre-decided locations.
We started with the Phyang Monastery since we had to cover some distance before we could reach it. It is located at a distance of 17km on the western part of Leh and is the only second monastery which belongs to Tibetan Buddhists’ Dri-gung-pa sect. Since we were travelling in the month of May when there was hardly any snowfall, all the entry points were open. We had to pay a nominal entry fee of Rs 20 per head.
We came to know that the term Phyang has been obtained from Gang Ngonpo which in turn refers to the blue mountain which could be spotted at the backside of the monastery. Legends say that it was Denma Kunga Drakpa who had laid the monastery’s foundation. It is believed that he was meditating inside a tent at this place when he spotted protectress Achi riding her beautiful blue horse. It was this dream which drove him to build the monastery on the hill.
Some people even sat that Denma Kunga Drakpa got a number of offers from the then Dharmraja Jamyang Namgyal regarding monastic properties. We were extremely mesmerized with the collections of age old wall paintings, murals of Mahakala and ancient thangkas. We learnt that the monastery serves as home to around 100 monks and is equipped with a school that offers modern education along with training related to Buddhism.
We also visited the museum inside the monastery which is equipped with Mongolian, Tibetian and Chinese weapons and firearms, scriptures, Kashmiri bronze statues and idols which are said to be more than 900 years old. A monk also told us the festival celebrated at the Phyang monastery attracts different types of tourists who come to enjoy mask dance, music and cham dance.