Lingshet is the administrative centre of the Singelalok block in Ladakh’s Leh district. It’s in the Khalsi tehsil, about a day’s walk from the nearest road, and the nearby Lingshed Monastery is approximately 900 years old.
Lingshet or Lingshed monastery is one of Zanskar’s most remote and important monasteries. It was a hidden monastery, only accessible by long and arduous climbs across mountain passes until recently. It was most famous for its location on the frozen Zanskar river trek known as Chadar. It is a large monastery affiliated with the Gelugpa order that houses approximately 60 monks. Lingshed also has an Austrian school.
Lingshed Monastery, founded in the 1440s, is also known as Kumbum, which means “A Hundred Thousand Images.” Ngari Rinpoche, the Dalai Lama’s younger brother, leads Lingshed Gompa. When the Dalai Lama visited the Lingshed Monastery in 2009, he stayed for one night, blessed the land, and spoke to the monks and other people of the Lingshed region about important teachings.
The dukhang within the Lingshed monastery houses many Buddha deities and a colourful collection of Tangyur and Kangyur (sacred Buddhist texts). The trail to Lingshed monastery begins near Zangla and lasts about two days, including a 4000 m pass crossing. Visitors can inquire about and stay at a few homestays in the village.
Yamandhaka and Mahakala are the primary deities of the Lingshed Monastery and surrounding areas. The Gompa also houses Metriya Jamba, the future Buddha. Yamandhaka is shrouded in a veil that is only removed once a year on the 15th day of the fourth month of the Tibetan calendar. During this time, pilgrims and tourists flock to the monastery to worship and catch a glimpse of the deity. The monastery’s monks use ritual prayers to educate others on modern education and Buddhist philosophy. These monks carry out all sacred rituals in the monastery and the surrounding areas of Lingshed.
The Lingshed village appears to be lost in time and is completely isolated from the rest of the world. Lingshed Monastery, located on top of Lingshed village, was founded in the 12th century. It is located on the trail between Zanskar and Lamayuru and is thus one of Zanskar’s lesser-visited monasteries. On the same path, the monastery of Photoksar contains some rare images.
The monastery provides basic accommodation. Near the monastery, there are budget and mid-range hotels. If you want to stay in a luxury hotel, travel 224 kilometres to Leh. Lingshed village has few dining options. In contrast, a few small shops in the village serve Indian and Tibetan cuisine. Furthermore, the Lingshed Monastery is best visited between May and September.
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