Often it is said, the places which are either too far or too remote to reach are the doorways to heaven, and those people are "damn right".This place which was not even in my itinerary for the Spiti Dreams'17, but still made me stay there for couple of nights, thanks to our travel friend who met us on the way to Kaza in HRTC Bus. This place is tucked far away in Trans-Himalayan region, and very difficult to reach for at least 4-6 months of every year due to heavy snowfall and extremely risky and snow covered roads.
This place, Dhankar (spelled Dhanker sometimes), is a village on the way to Spiti Valley, 34 km before Kaza, if you are travelling on Shimla -> Kaza highway.
This place is blessed with a 1000+ years old monastery. The legend has it that this monastery is even older than the Tabo monastery, which is the official oldest known Buddhist monastery in India. The dhankar village is in itself a destination, for which you can travel all the way from Delhi 700+ kms. The serenity it offers is un-imaginable and the beauty of the spiti river and the glimpse of vast himalayan snow capped mountains is a must watch.
Best Time to Visit:
July - September, from November the entire Spiti and Lahual valley receives heavy snowfall and might be very difficult to reach by road.
How to Reach:
From Delhi - by road 2 routes.
1. Via Shimla (750km) : Delhi -> Shimla -> Narkanda -> Nako -> Sumdo -> Schichling -> Dhankar
2. Via Manali Delhi -> Manali -> Kunzum la -> Losar -> Kaza -> Schichling -> Dhankar
If you are travelling by public transport (HRTC bus) get down at Schichling (Dhankar gate) and walk or hitchhike for 6-7 km to reach Dhankar village. You will find some vehicles or 4x4 pickups going from Highway to Dhankar which you can opt for hitchhiking.
Where to Stay:
There are plenty of home stays in Dhankar village run by the villagers themselves. In Spiti region almost everyone welcomes the travelers into their houses as guests for budget stays.
I recommend staying at Dhankar Monastery Guest house adjacent to Dhankar New monastery which is well maintained and best place to stay. They offer dormitories @200 INR and private rooms (Check price*) to their guests. They have a big menu for the food as well.
Guest House Contact details:
+91-94186 46578, +91-94188 17761, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Website: www.spitiyakomyeti.com
Things to Do:
1. Dhankar Old Monastery & Fort ruins: Take a evening stroll to Dhankar old monastery (1.5 km from the Monastery Guest house) and bask in the divinity and history of ancient past.
2. Dhankar Lake: Go for a short day trek to Dhankar lake (3 km from Monastery Guest house), well marked trail, easy and fulfilling short trek and must do if you are staying for more than 1 day in Dhankar.
3. Dhankar New Monastery: Attend prayer session at Dhankar new monastery and experience the Buddhist culture first hand.
All in all, the Dhankar can be combined along with other places/destinations in the Spiti & Lahual tour itinerary.
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