Founded by PhagspaShesrab, the Karsha Monastery or KarchaGompa is also called the KarshaChamspaling. Known to be one of the oldest as well as most sacred monasteries in Ladakh, and also the largest in Zanskar Valley, this holy enclave belongs to the Gelugpa or the Yellow-Hat sect of Buddhism.
The Karsha Monastery is jotted with several shrines that are decked with delightful and livelier paintings by Lama DzapaDorje. Visitors to this pious monastery can also find relics of DorjeRinchen, ancient Buddhist scriptures and inscriptions. It also has an ancient cloth painting that depicts the true essence and meaning of Buddhism, and has an image of Lord Buddha along with his tutelary deities.
This sacred place is located amidst craggy mountains in the picturesque Padum Valley. Visitors during their Leh Ladakh tour, can reach the Karsha Monastery by crossing a wooden bridge at Tungri; around 8km from Padum Valley.
Best Time to Visit Karsha Monastery
Due to heavy snowfalls during the winters, the routes to Karsha Monastery remains closed. However, they are reopened during the months of July to September or summer time. Weather remains calm, temperature also starts rising, making it the ideal time to visit Karsha Monastery.
Tourist Attractions in Karsha Monastery
In addition to the stunning beauty of Karsha Monastery itself, visitors can also witness other religious places like the Thugsjechhenpoi Lhakhang, Lhakhang Karpo, Khagsar Monastery, Purang Monastery and Phagspa Monastery. Visitors on their Leh Ladakh tour, can also find a nunnery called ‘Dorjezong’ dedicated to the 11-headed Avaloketeshvara around the vicinity.
Festivals in Karsha Monastery
Karsha and SpitukGustor:
Celebrated around different months of the year, the Karsha and SpitukGustor is the primary festival in Karsha Monastery. A festival that is celebrated from two consecutive days, it is marked by offering a holy to the Gods to commemorate the victory of good over the evils. Locals believe that by inviting the Gods to witness their sacred dances performed by the lamas, the Gods will bestow all the good lucks to them and the valley. During the festival, the monks wear masks that symbolise guardians, protectors, Gods and the Goddesses. On the last day, the Karsha and SpitukGustor festival ends with the ceremony of burning the effigies of the evils. A riot of colours, music and traditions, this festival is a must for everyone during their Leh Ladakh tour!
How to Reach Karsha Monastery
The Karsha Monastery is located in a quaint village called Khurshan, which is only 14km from the centre of Padum. For those who wants to visit this pious monastery, can follow the Kargil-Padum Road and take diversion at Tungri which is around 12km ahead of Padum in order to reach Karsha Monastery.
For the visitors to Karsha Monastery, Jammu Tawi will be the nearest railway station. After arrival at the train stations, visitors can embark on a road journey to Kargil, and follow the overland trails of Kargil-Padum Road to reach Karsha Monastery.
Srinagar Airport and Leh Airport will be an ideal choice for those who wants to enjoy a flight journey. Upon arrival an any of the airports, visitors must travel to Kargil and continue on the Kargil-Padum route in order to reach Karsha Monastery.
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