Dhankar Monastery(also Dankhar, Drangkhar or Dhangkar Gompa) is 24 km from Kaza. The altitude of Monastery is 12,774 feet form sea level. This Monastery is quite similar to Tangyud Monastery and the Key Monastery in Spiti.
It is beautiful monuments of Spiti valley. It is the official capital of Spiti Valley. In local conversation Dhankar means a place in the mountains unreachable for strangers. Dhankar Monastery is magnificent example of traditional architectural skills. It is one of the most famous Fort Monasteries that has been built in accordance with Central Tibetan Pattern. Total of 150 Lamas reside in this Monastery.
Dhankar was the traditional capital of the Spiti Valley Kingdom during the 17th century and has some features dating back to the 12th century. It was the seat of the early rulers of Spiti, the Nonos, who had the right to cultivate the government lands nearby and were required to keep the fort in repair. They also dispensed justice to the people and were noted for their harsh penalties until the British replaced them.
Structure of Dhankar Monastery
The Dhankar Monastery consists of a number of multi-storeyed buildings. There are five different halls including Kanjur, Lhakhang, and Dukhang. There is a big life sized silver picture of Vajradhara (the Diamond being) which is placed in a glass altar that is always ornamented with flowers & scarves. There are several wall painting of Medicine Buddha, Buddhist scriptures which are in Bhoti language, Buddhist Thangkas, murals of protector deities in the Monastery.
Daily worship is done at the Dhankar Monastery by the temple monks at early morning and everyone is granted permission to take part in the holy worship. It also includes Mantra Chanting which is done under the control of monks of Monastery.
Best time to Visit: Best time to visit Dhankar Monastery is during summer from May to October end.