Sankar Monastery is the residence of the Kushok Bakula, Ladakh’s head of the Gelugpa sect or the yellow hat sect. It is around half an hour walk away from Leh, towards Khardung La Pass.
The monastery is also one among the few residential gompas in the city of Leh. Most gompas are built on hills and mountain tops but Sankar Gompa lay hidden under canopies of poplar trees and labyrinths of streets and houses. The gompa is modest and so different from many other gompas.
The interior of the gompa has many statues and old paintings on its walls. The rich heritage and culture exhibited through artforms were amazing. The first hall is known as the dukang or assembly hall. It was small but so beautifully done. I was fortunate to visit on a day when the monks were preparing for a sacrificial ritual, which took place once in a month. The younger monks were arranging the butter lamps in a beautiful symmetrical manner while the older monks prepare butter lamps at the verandah of the gompa. The dukang is small and could accommodate not more than 50 people but there are far lesser monks at the gompa. The assembly hall leads to another smaller room, adorned by photos and relics.
Sankar Gompa also has a temple dedicated to deity Dukar Lhakang on the first floor. It is also known as the inner sanctuary.
Sankar Gompa is located at a serene place. An outer gate leads to many other stupas.