Stokna Gompa in Ladakh

Stokna Gompa

Stokna Gompa : is a small monastery housing 35 lamas of the red-hat sect. Although small, it has several sister monasteries, including three in the Zanskar valley. The gompa consists of the head lama's private apartment, a Dukhang (main temple and assembly hall) and the rooms of the lamas and their attendants. Stokna, meaning "Tiger's Nose is built on the summit of a high rock in the middle of the Indus Valley. Entering the central courtyard, one sees a small stuffed Lhasa Apso dog, the favourite pet of the previous head lama. Directly ahead and up a flight of steps is the Dukhang which contains a silver gilt chorten, seven feet high, erected by the present head lama in the 1950s. It contains a statue of the Buddha and various Buddhist texts.

On the left wall and beginning on the left are three new paintings: the Tsephakmad (a Buddhist deity), Sakyamuni (the Historical Buddha) and Amchi (Medical Buddha). On the wall facing the entrance of the Dukhang are three more new paintings. Again, starting from the left, the paintings depict a Bodhisattva, Padme Sambhava, the 8th century Indian Buddhist scholar and translator of Buddhist texts into Tibetan and Tshong-san-gompo, an early king of Tibet. On the right of the Dukhang are three statues: of the Past (Sakyamuni), Present and Future (Maitreya) Buddhas. On either side are Buddhist canonical volumes. In the centre on the left of the Dukhang is the head lama's throne.

In the room behind the Dukhang on the right is a central large statue of the lama founder of Stokna, Zaptung Nawangial, who was from Bhutan and founded Stokna about Stakna500 years ago. He is flanked by statues of other head lamas of Stokna. In the room behind the Dukhang to the left, a wooden cupboard contains a large standing figure of Dorje Phakma, a Bodhisattva beside eight Sashan Gyat (the 8 positions of Buddha). On the right is a small central statue of Avalokitesvara.

On the next level up are the head lama's private apartments, all newly decorated in colourful Tibetan style. There are numerous small statues of Buddhist deities and historical personages in the glass fronted cupboards. The library room, connected to the apartments, is one of the most beautiful in Ladakh. Colourfully painted, it contains a gilded statue of the previous head lama of Stokna.

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