Spituk Monastery or Pethup Gompa is a Buddhist monastery located near Leh. This monastery is famous for its architecture and dance festival. Due to its proximity to Leh, you can find many tourists in this monastery during the tourism season.
The monastery was built in 15th century. The assembly hall is the largest part of the monastery. There is a throne, few painting, miniature chortens, sculptues and many others. In the display area of the assembly hall, you can find ancient masks, thangka, antique arms and others. As you climb high, there is a Mahakal temple, which is open only during the annual festival that takes place in January or February. The monastery has many courtyards filled with statues and paintings. There is a school inside the monastery, which is not open to tourists. There is a large statue of Goddess Kali in the monastery. The meditation hall is open to tourists to perform meditation and prayers. Trekking is an important adventure activity in the regions around the monastery.
The highway route is closed from October to May due to heavy snowfall. The monastery is best visited in summer, June to September. The monastery is open throughout the year from 8 in the morning to 1 in the afternoon. The entry cost is 20 INR per head. It would take not more than two hours to explore the whole monastery. Since there are no eateries in or around the monastery, it is better to carry enough water and snacks.
The monastery is located on the Srinagar Leh highway, 8 km away from Leh. You can find buses, cabs, jeeps and other vehicles from Leh to the monastery. People also ride in bikes to the monastery. If travelling in bus, know the timing of the last bus leaving from Spituk to Leh, everyday.
On the 11th Tibetan month, the Gustor festival is celebrated. This two-day festival is famous for the masked dance performed by the monks. This festival takes place in May or June. On the evening of the second day, the festival is completed by burning an effigy. On the third day, seven-day prayer starts.