A dash of green at the only house you will encounter on the way on the way to Phugtal (Phuktal) from Purne. 

Read : Stunning experiences from the most remote monastery in the world

Beginning of the trail, golden colours of the mountains – Tsarap Chu flows by.


Fabulous terrain sculpted by nature itself. My path passes through these rocks.

Read : Leh-Ladakh : Amalgamation of Cultures

Sand and stone formations enroute Phugtal Gompa, I can also spot a cave sort of opening on that huge mountain.


The slender path clings to the right side of the river, loose gravel shifts and falls into the river making it a precarious walk.


Dramatic scenery in Lungnak Valley, Tsarap Chu (the river responsible for the debacle of Chadar Trek in 2015).

Read : Wanderings in Lahaul – Tayul Monastery

The lama stationed by the monastery starts waving to me even as I wonder ‘What if?’ 


First glimpse of the swaying bridge over Tsarap Chu… Isn’t is a classic photograph?


The path periodically comes down to the dizzying river and then makes for a steep climb again. 

Read : Wanderings in Lahaul : Kardang Monastery

Can you spot a monk in the picture? A tiny dot of red, lama of Phugtal Monastery.


You really want these prayer flags to help for just that little bit. One of the scariest bridges ever!


Don’t be a gama in the land of the lama!


I will be forever grateful to that person from Yal village for sewing up my torn shoes, only with these could I reach the elusive Phugtal Monastery.

Read : Lamas at Phuktal Monastery

How often do you see that?! Lamas posing with the coolest caps.


Checking up on me, eh! Bloody fingers and all that. He he.


Chortens, monks, a monastery guesthouse and the greatest of all sights; built inside a cave Phuktal Gönpa also written as Phugtal Gönpa.
A place that I’ve aspired to visit, after falling in love with the monasteries of Spiti, Lahaul and Ladakh.

Read : Can you help me ‘do’ Ladakh in 6 days?

Stunning colours of the mountains, a hanging monastery built on a rock face, Tsarap Chu river flows… This is Phugtal!


My favourite picture of Phuktal Gönpa.


An eternal spring flows inside the cave; notice the lone Cypress tree on top.

Check : Waltzing to Happiness on a Houseboat in Srinagar

We are literally on top of the river, on a limestone cliff, within a cluster of buildings made of mud and stone. Gloriously old.


Monks having lunch in the picturesque courtyard of the cute monastery school.


Lunch time meant it was a good opportunity to mingle with these little kid monks.

Read : Portraits that speak, from Turtuk

Families from all across Zanskar send their kids to the monastic school in Phugtal Monastery.


A view from inside the labyrinth of houses and scrabble of white washed buildings.


Artistic treasures lie scattered; a team of artists from Chilling has made some beautiful Bodhisattvas inside the monastery.

Check : Bhutan : Experiences & Tips

Classes being held at the hanging courtyard (come to think of it). Quite a classroom, I must say!


We can hardly imagine how that wonderful structure was built on that vertical cliff.


The oldest part of Phugtal monastery is said to be more than a 1000 years old and the paintings are similar in style to Alchi & Tabo

Want to know more about Zanskar?

Read : Doing the unthinkable – Solo Trekking to Zanskar

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21 responses to “Trekking from Purne to Phugtal Monastery, in Pictures”

  1. arv! Avatar

    Looks like a different world altogether.. as if the time has frozen! Very difficult to imagine by those living in cities, in luxuries!

    1. shubhammansingka Avatar

      Perfect words ‘As if time has frozen’; couldn’t have said it better. Lets go there together this time, Arvind bhai!

      1. arv! Avatar

        Sure. Shubham! That’ll be awesome!

  2. Ragini Puri Avatar

    Striking landscape beautifully captured for posterity. I remember reading about the Phukta Gutor festival celebrated here, to mark the end of the Tibetan year.

    On another note, all these difficult to access monasteries seem like a faraway dream.

    And about the ‘almost invisible’ monk – he is standing on the left riverbank, close to the rivulet.

    1. shubhammansingka Avatar

      Thanks for the generous words, Ragini. The Phuktal Gutor appears like a dream and I hope to return someday.
      Perfectly spotted!

  3. hackernewbie Avatar

    Intriguing. Scary. Fantastic.

    1. shubhammansingka Avatar

      Thanks. Thanks and Thanks! Epic comment, Rajiv.

      1. hackernewbie Avatar

        Bellcome bellcome bhaijaan 🙂

  4. pc73 Avatar

    loved the idea of doing a ‘photo story’!!

    1. shubhammansingka Avatar

      Hey Pooja. I shall be doing more of the same. Glad you liked the idea.

  5. bhishma Avatar

    macha rakha hai bhai apne 🙂
    bahut badhiya

    1. shubhammansingka Avatar

      Ohhhoooo Bhishma bhai. Glad to see you here. Thanks.

  6. Charanpreet Avatar

    I fall in love with this place. You are such a lucky person on earth. I have marked this place in my bucket list. Is it possible to visit there with you?

    1. shubhammansingka Avatar

      It is indeed a surreal experience to be there. Send me an email and perhaps we can go again, this year!

  7. […] tattered state was realised and I decided to take it slow and explore the remote cave monastery of Phuktal. The path was treacherous and a swaying bridge had almost blown me […]

  8. […] Also read : Trekking from Purne to Phugtal Monastery, in Pictures […]

  9. Sherab Tenzin Avatar

    The whole place looks wonderfully ancient. In Bhutan, Lingzhi, the northern most point of Thimphu that is close to Chinese border looks like them.

    1. shubhammansingka Avatar

      It was an epic journey Sherab. Thanks for checking. I hope to make it to Bhutan again for slow travel experiences and experience the high altitude northern side, as you mention!

  10. […] Read : Trekking from Purne to Phugtal Monastery, in Pictures […]

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