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Where is the monastery located and what are the major attractions at the Mulbekh Monastery?

The best things to do in Mulbekh Monastery in a nutshell:

Are there any famous places to visit near Mulbekh Monastery?

A comprehensive guide on how to reach the Mulbekh Monastery in Ladakh

Mulbekh Monastery; The 800 year Old Abode of Maitreya Buddha

The Mulbekh Monastery is one of the most popular monasteries in the Ladakh region. Majorly for the 30-foot-tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha. 

For some mesmerizing views of the Srinagar-Leh Highway, visiting this monastery must be part of your Ladakh tour

The Mulbekh Monastery proudly offers intricate ancient frescoes and relics, in addition to a huge prayer wheel, which takes the serenity of this place to a whole new level. It is a major tourist attraction and one of the important places to visit in Leh Ladakh.

Where is the monastery located and what are the major attractions at the Mulbekh Monastery?

Mulbekh Monastery falls at a distance of 45 Kilometers from an important city in Ladakh; Kargil. The distance of the monastery from Leh is 260 kilometers and the major attraction of this place is the enormous statue of Buddha, carved in a limestone slab. 

This statue is known as the ‘Maitreya Buddha’ and ‘The Buddha of the Future’. 

Moreover, the monastery also houses two gompas, belonging to two Buddhist sects- Serdung Gompa belonging to the Drukpa sect, and the Rgaldanse Gompa belonging to the Gelugpa sect.

The monastery is also revered and considered sacred by Buddhists and locals as it has been there for more than 800 years. Tourists and locals visit this monastery and rever it among 

Mulbekh Monastery in Leh Ladakh is perched on a ridge more than 650ft above the road and can be reached by a steep trekking trail. The monastery is set up at an altitude of nearly 11,495ft, from where you can get some of the best panoramic views of the Leh – Kargil Highway. 

The statue of Buddha of the future is a harmonious blend of Buddhism and Shaivism, but you can also find old inscriptions near the statue. 

As you explore the monastery Gompa, you can also see ancient edicts written in the Kharosthi script on the mountain.

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The best things to do in Mulbekh Monastery in a nutshell:

  • Behold the craftsmanship of the 9-meter-tall Maitreya Buddha effigy which has been sculpted out of a majestic limestone rock, and is popularly known as the Buddha of the Future.
  • Gain information about the ancient history of the gompa, which dates back to the 8th century.
  • Admire the precious paintings and ancient relics painted on the monastery’s walls.
  • Visit two of Ladakh’s most historic temples or gompas, belonging to the Drukpa and Gelugpa of Buddhist sects.
  • Set out on a hike around the steep footpath behind the structure, leading to the palace of Rajah Kalon of Mulbekh or King Kalon of Mulbekh. 

Some of the major attractions at Mulbekh Monastery include: 

  • Mulbekh Chamba (Maitreya Buddha Statue) 
  • Mulbekh Gompa
  • Wakha Rgyal
  • Nun Kun Mountain View
  • Walk through Mulbekh Village
  • Drive through Fotu La Pass
  • Attend a Local Festival
  • Rock Climbing near Mulbekh
  • Local Culinary Experience
  • Exploring Suru Valley
Mulbekh Chamba (Maitreya Buddha Statue): The Maitreya Buddha statue is located at a height of 3,304 meters on the National Highway 1 between Kargil and Leh, one of the most intriguing facts about the Buddha effigy is that it is chiseled out of a single limestone slab and was built hundreds of years ago in the 8th century. 

Tourists marvel at the immaculate craftsmanship and artisanal expertise exhibited in creating the Buddha idol. With the mere use of a hammer and chisel, the craftsmen of the ancient era, built such a magnificent and gigantic structure, that too out of a single stone.

To date, the statue stands as an exclusive specimen of early Tibetan Buddhist art that used to be practiced in the Himalayas in those days. The sculpture is regarded as ‘Maitreya-the future Buddha’ in Buddhist eschatology. According to Buddhist mythology, Maitreya Buddha is believed to have arrived on earth from Tushita Heaven.

Imagine climbing up a steep slope and beholding an enormous structure, adding the utmost serenity and calmness to the rugged landscape. The views of the Srinagar- Leh highway 

Best time to visit: During summer (May to Early October)

Visiting hours: 8:00 AM- 6:00 PM (Everyday)

Location: H43M+FV6, Thang, Kargil, 194103

Entry: Free

Mulbekh Gompa: There are many things that make the Mulbekh Monastery in Ladkah special. Firstly, its location in the historic city of Kargil, secondly the giant effigy of Maitreya Buddha and the third most important factor about this place are the two gompas present within the monastery. 

The Serdung Gompa of Drukpa sect & Rgaldan-se Gompa of Gelugpa sect. 800 years ago, the foundation of the Mulbekh Monastery is said to have been laid . The students of the renowned Tibetan scholar, Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo, built this monastery. 

Best time to visit: Morning hours from 7:00 AM to 11:00 AM during summer (May to Early October)

Visiting hours: 8:00 AM- 6:00 PM (Everyday)

Location: H43M+FV6, Thang, Kargil, 194103

Entry: Free

Wakha Rgyal: Rgyal Wakha or Rgyal Phu, is a small rural settlement in the Leh district of Ladakh, in the northernmost part of India. This village is perched 14,000 feet above sea level and is fenced by the tall peaks of the Karakoram and the Himalayan ranges.

The main occupation of this village is farming and herding, and among the major grown crops in this area are Peas, Wheat, Barley, and Vegetables. Yaks, Cows, and Sheep act as the livestock for the people of Wakha Rgyal Village. 

Although this village is a small settlement, it has a rich culture, and traditions are followed here with utmost respect and faith. A fascinating feature of this village is that it is set across the region of conflux of two major rivers of Ladakh; Indus and Zanskar. 

Tourists visit WakhaRgyal to witness the stunning and panoramic views formed by the confluence of river Indus and Zanskar.

Moreover, the Wakha Rgyal Village is centrally located and is close to some of the main monasteries of Ladakh like the Hemis Monastery and Mulbekh Monastery in Zanskar Valley

Tourists can have a holistic experience of Ladakh’s culture, religion, beauty, and adventure activities here. Trekking, River Rafting, Mountain Climbing, and Mountain Biking, are some of the popular adventure sports in Ladakh that are practiced here.  

Best time to visit: During summer (May to September)

Visiting hours: Anytime

Location: Shargole Block in Kargil District of Jammu & Kashmir- 194109

Entry: Free

Nun Kun Mountain View: Nun Kun Mountain View is the name given to the view from the Nun Kun Mountain in the Suru Valley. Tourists visiting the Mulbekh Monastery get the golden chance to experience the enthralling beauty of the Nun Kun Mountains. 

It is one of the most visited tourist spots in Ladakh in summer. Nun Kun massif is one of the highest mountain ranges in Ladakh. It is one of the most beautiful places to visit near Mulbekh Monastery.

The Nun Kun mountain is made up of two sister peaks in the Himalayan ranges: Nun, 7,135 m, and its neighbor Kun, 7,077 m. Nun is the highest peak in the part of the Himalayan range lying on the Indian side of the LOC in Jammu and Kashmir. 

The peak is located near the Suru Valley, about 250 km east of Srinagar.

Kun is located north of Nun and is separated from it by a snowy plateau of about 4 km in length. The third highest peak of the group is the Pinnacle Peak, which is 6,930 m high. 

The Nun Kun Trek is a popular mountain climbing expedition and trekkers often train and prepare well to set out on this moderate to difficult trek. 

Best time to visit: During summer (June through August)

Visiting hours: As per the trekking company

Location: Kargil, Leh Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir

Entry: As per the trekking company

Suggested read: All About Nun Kun Mountain

Walk through Mulbekh Village: Mulbekh Monastery Village is the oldest village in Kargil, where 100% population is made up of Buddhists. The whole population of the village is 1200 persons in 200 households. 

Walking through the narrow lanes, with kutcha brick houses made with a unique construction technique; “Thapak” for walls, where parallel wooden slabs are used, is an extraordinary experience. The populace of Mulbkeh Village speak Laddakhi and Purkhi (The original and purest form of Ladakhi language).

It is remarkable to see how the Buddhist population co-exists with the Muslims who form the majority of the nearby area.

Travelers can see the rural life of Ladalkhi villages and their traditions. Mulbekh Village is a major tourist destination as its name appears even in folk songs and lore of Ladakh. 

Near the village, tourists can also visit the statue of “Chamba”, situated 4-5 km away, and are revered as the next incarnation of Buddha by the villagers. 

Best time to visit: During summer and Autumn(May to October)

Visiting hours: Anytime

Location: Shargole Block of Kargil district in Jammu and Kashmir

Entry: Free

Drive through Fotu La Pass: Imagine driving on the Srinagar-Leh highway, at a height of 13,478ft (4,108m) above sea level, the scene is breathtaking and thrilling, isn’t it? The Fotu La Pass gives you this experience.

Famed as the highest point on the highway, passing through Heniskot toward Lamayuru. The drive through the pass gives you some of the most panoramic views and people often stop by to take some award-winning photography shots here, making it one of the most photographed places in the world.

After Namika La, the Fotu La is the highest mountain pass between Leh and Kargil. When you move to the eastern side of the pass, another stoppage is located here, ‘The Relay Station of Prasar Bharati Television’, witnessing a relay station at such an enormous height is in itself a unique experience. This is one of the most popular things to do in Ladakh near Mulbekh Monastery.

Best time to visit: During summer and Autumn(June to September)

Visiting hours: Anytime

Location: Srinagar-Leh highway in the Zanskar Himalayan Range

Entry: As per the permit charges

Attend a Local Festival: Ladakh is known for its diverse and vivid cultural and traditional scenes. And there is no better way to experience the colorful, rich, and historic traditions of Ladakh, than by attending a local festival.

One of the major festivals practiced in the Mulbekh Monastery area is the Losar Festival, marking the Ladakhi New Year, which is celebrated with great zeal. There are religious ceremonies, prayers, and folk dances, and the monastery and nearby areas are decorated like a new bride. 

Another significant festival that tourists can attend is the Hemis Festival, where masked dances, the re-enactment of Buddhist stories, cultural dances, and much more can be seen. These festivities are a great way to get to know the amiable people of Ladakh. 

Best time to visit: During June and  September

Visiting hours: Anytime

Location: Mulbekh Village

Entry: Free

Rock Climbing near Mulbekh: Leh and Ladakh are among the famous trekking and rock climbing destinations, especially due to the rugged terrains, and solid and peculiar rock formations. 

With cliffs and boulders suitable for various types of difficulty levels, rock climbing near Mulbekh Monastery is on every trekker’s bucket list. 

For an adrenaline-rush and exciting adventure, newbies and seasoned rock climbers head towards the mountains of Ladakh.

This experience is not just heart-stopping but after so much hard work, climbers are rewarded with views that are impossible to witness from a normal plane spot on the land. 

Best time: From June to September

Visiting hours: Anytime

Location:  Near Mulbekh Village

Cost: As per the package chosen

Indulging in the Ladakhi Culinary Scene: At Mulbkeh, you can taste some authentic flavors and dishes of Ladakh. For a burst of flavors for your taste buds, try the locally-made Thukpa (Noodle Soup), Butter Tea, and Momos (Rice flour Dumplings). 

Local eateries and village households are the best places to try your hands on regional delicacies. Yak cheese, Apricots, Wheat, Rice, and Barley are some of the major ingredients used to prepare Ladakhi cuisine. 

Are there any famous places to visit near Mulbekh Monastery?

There are many famous spots near the Mulbekh Monastery, which are a no-miss. These popular destinations are:

  • Suru Valley
  • Kargil War Memorial
  • Aru Valley
  • Vishansar Lake
  • Shanti Stupa
  • Chandanwari
  • Pari Mahal
  • Nubra Valley
  • Baltal
  • Zojila Pass

What is the best time to visit Mulbekh Monastery and what are the best stay options?

The best time to visit Mulbekh is in the summer season from June to September. The skies are clear, the sun is just moderately warm and you get clear and unhindered views of the beautiful peaks and valleys. 

If you are seeking a chiller thriller, then you may also visit during the winter months, but ensure that you are well prepared for the harsh and blistering weather of Ladakh. 

Tourists who want an authentic experience can stay at homestays in Ladakh which are great options to experience the warmth of the Ladakhi culture. However, if you want a luxurious stay experience then these homestays might not be the best choice for you. They are humble and simple corners of the homes of the locals and lack any frills or sophistication. 

There are many hotels near Mulbkeh Monastery, where you can book a comfortable stay:

  • Black Sheep Bed and Breakfast
  • The Royal Kargil
  • Ashina Eco Resort
  • Hotel The Kargil
  • The Grand Dragon Ladakh
  • The Zen Ladakh

A comprehensive guide on how to reach the Mulbekh Monastery in Ladakh

Although Leh Ladakh is a popular touristy place, especially for adventure lovers, given its remote and high altitude location, it is not well connected to the planes. Here are the best ways you can reach Mulbekh Monastery in Ladakh, at your convenience. 
  1. By Air: Ladakh does not have an airport, therefore you must reach the nearest airport Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport in Leh, around 210 km away from Mulbekh. After landing in Leh, you can opt for a private taxi or any other transport to reach your destination. 
  2. By Train: The same goes for the railway route, the closest railway station to Leh is Jammu Tawi. Calling it closest is a little ironic, as it is 700 Km away from Mulbekh, but for thrill-seekers, this is a fun experience.  After getting off the train, travelers can hire a road transport and reach Mulbekh. 
  3. By Road: NH -1 (National Highway 1) connects Mulbekh to the rest of the country. One can take a private taxi, hire a cab, go by car, or take a bus from Leh or Srinagar and reach Mulbekh. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQS)

Q: Is there any entry fee for visiting the Mulbekh Monastery?

Q: What is the best time to visit the Mulbekh Monastery?

Q:How to reach Mulbekh Monastery?

Q:Are there accommodation options near Mulbekh Monastery?

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