Phuktal Monastery is like a honeycomb, cut into a rock under a gignantic grotto and has more than 70 Monks. The library three large and one small prayer room etc and the grave of Gangsem Sherap Sampo who founded Phuktal. In the cave over the monastery there is a hollow in rock the water level of which never reduces even after taking out any amount of water from there. Water is said to have healing powers. There is also a stone tablet left by Alexander Cosmo de Koros an Hugaraian who explore Tibet and lived in this monastery in 1826-27.
The Phuktal Monastery appears to be sprawling out from a huge cave high up in the steep cliff. It is this location that makes it completely different from other monasteries of the Zanskar valley. Also, it is the unique setting of the monastery that lends it the name Phuktal meaning through caves. The foundation of the monastery, made up of twigs and muds, was laid way back in the 12th century. Today, the monastery is home to around 70 monks who are extremely friendly and love to show the visitors around. They even take the trouble of arranging for a stay for the visitors in the gompa willingly.
The highlights of the monastery include frescoes and ceiling decorations in an old chapel which seems to belong to same era as that of Tabo Monastery and Alchi Monastery.
This monastery can be approachable either from Darcha or you may drive to Padum from Leh and than trek towards Darcha. Trek from Padum to Darcha is one of the most interesting treks in Zanskar range.