A Most Tricky Scenic Road to Rangdum Monastery
Rangdum Monastery is an imposing 18th century Buddhist monastery, at an elevation of 4.031m (13,225ft) above the sea level, located in the head of the Suru Valley, in Ladakh, a region of India in the state of Jammu and Kashmir.
The 200-year-old Rangdum Monastery is situated in the farthest and most isolated part of the Suru valley. Being isolated from the other parts of the region, the place has retained much of its wild beauty. Imposing as well as beautiful hills, rocky mountains and glaciers surrounds this place thereby enhancing its beauty multifold. Surrounded by colorful hills on the one side and glacier encrusted rocky mountains on the other side this valley is gifted with countless beauties, colourful rocky mountains to snow capped peak.
The road to the monastery is a 4x4 track, pretty narrow, bumpy, and rocky. The condition of the road is very bad. Due to its remoteness from inhabited parts either of Suru or Zanskar, the areas wild beauty is almost haunting, while its isolation is near perfect even as the unpaved Zanskar road traverses its length. Located on the top of the mountain outcropping of rocks, the monastery structure gives more of an impression of an ancient fort that towers and safeguards the valley. The main highlight of the monastery is its central prayer hall with an amazing collection of Tibetan and other artifacts. A home to 40 monks, the monastery is an interesting place to pay a visit. There is no access to electricity, phone or internet. Its remote location and absence of good roads has preserved Rangdum’s pristine beauty.
The climb is simply terrible, with a notorius lack of oxygen that tests the organisms and a high degree of steepness. It has a well-deserved reputation for being dangerous because of unpredictable snowstorms and blizzards, and driving under these conditions, can be extremely challenging. The best time to visit Rangdum is late June to mid September. The winter months are best avoided as the temperature drops below zero degree Celsius at the peak of winter. Summer months are the best time to visit Rangdum monastery.
Pic: Gagan Mahindra
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