Stranded across the Rohtang

Travel time: October 1995  |  by Roshni P.

Gompas of Spiti: Dankar and Lalung

Next day we started early for Kaza. Along the way, we visited the beautiful monasteries of Dankar and Lalung.

Dankar was a beautiful monastery perched on a hilltop. The Lama allowed us to climb on top of the monastery. Everything in Spiti seemed to be crumbing down due to the constant erosion – the monastery was no exception. From the rooftop, one could make out 4 levels that no longer existed. On each level there was space for two people to stand. To get to each level, one had to climb on the steps carved on a piece of log. Climbing it was easy but we decided to have some adventure of our own.

From the top level, you could cling against the rock face of the mountain and take 10 steps to reach the path leading to the old palace. The steps were almost non-existent so we had to actually do some rock climbing in the wind, one wrong step would land us down to the Spiti River.

I have never been so scared in my whole life! Those ten steps took every bit of gut that I could possibly have! With the wind blowing on our faces and the whole body clinging to the wall, we made our way to the path. There were some houses there. The people were surprised to see us and looked at the path we had taken. There were whispers and smile – more like an acknowledgement of ‘you have done it pal!’

From the day I took those steps, I have always wanted to go back there with a parachute and jump down to the river. I don’t think it is possible to go Base-jumping there, maybe not enough height but if your parachute is opened and prepared for the jump (as in parasailing), you should be able to do it.

At the palace, we also saw the jail. Some floors were crumbling and we thanked god for letting us be the lucky ones to feast our eyes upon his wonderful creation before they disappeared in time!

From Dankar, we headed off to Lalung. We parked our vehicle at a flat area - there were no assigned parking place anywhere so we took the car up to wherever it was possible.

Lalung is a very special monastery. The monk informed us that this was probably the only temple in the whole world where you can see the sculpture of Lord Brahma (the creator) in three dimensions.

The reason why I found it special was because of the mural work. In most monasteries you will find paintings but here there were sculptures all around. Each room was the size of a little cabin (equal to a big kitchen). In each room there were statues from bottom to the top column on all four sides of the wall. As you entered the room, all the statues faced you, no matter where you stood. THAT was pretty amazing and scary!

Even the painting had the 3 D effect – every painting seemed to look at you!

After a short stay, we drove to Kaza.

© Roshni P., 2003
You are here : Overview Asia India Dankar and Lalung
The trip
On a recce trip to the newly opened Spiti valley, I learned why mountains are nobody's friends! From there on, no matter where I go, I am always prepared for the worst!
Start of journey: Oct 12, 1995
Duration: 14 days
End of journey: Oct 25, 1995
Travelled countries: India
The Author
Roshni P. is an active author on break-fresh-ground. since 18 years.