Why One Should Visit Kashmir
The 200 year old Rangdum Monastery is situated in the most isolated part of the Suru Valley in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir. A prominent centre of Tibetan Budhism, the monastery is part of the Gelugpa or yellow hat order.The monastery falls in Suru Valley but culturally it is part of Zanskar. Situated at an elevation of 11,998 ft, it is amongst the most important landmarks of the Ladakh region. The monastery is 130 km south east of Kargil and falls midway between Kargil and Padum.According to legend, the monastery was built by Gelek Yashy Takpa during the reign of King Tsewang Mangyul of Ladakh. The monastery looks like a fortified structure.The view that unfolds as you go up the mountain towards the monastery is mesmerizing. Snowcapped mountains, glaciers and barren splendour of the valley leaves every traveller to the valley impressed.Another highlight is the mani walls made up of mani stones. The mani stones with the inscription Om mani padme hum, roughly translated, means Hail to the jewel in the lotus, have to be passed from their left side. You have to move clockwise around the mani walls in the direction the earth and the universe revolve, according to the Buddhist doctrine.The mani walls at Rangdum are better and unique unlike other mani walls found in Ladakh. Some stones also have pictures of chortens and mandalas along with the usual inscriptions.