Phugtal Gompa

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November 2nd 2013
Published: November 2nd 2013
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Here we are, just 2 hours walk from our campsite: Phugtal Monastery!

I have been dreaming so much of this place; when we arrived I took plenty of pictures and only later I realized I had left a setting on my camera to take low res pictures! 10 points for the would be professional photographer.

Small disappointment again, but don't let this get in the way.

At first we were not so impressed by the atmosphere of this Gompa. OK it is beautiful, in a beautiful location. But it is also a main attraction in Zanskar. So a lot of tourist come here and some even take a shortcut with the road so they only have to walk 2 days to get here. And I am sure it won't be long before this place will be reachable by car.

So yes, the atmosphere was less magical than in some other gompa's we saw. The tourists come, take there pictures, stay a few minutes, then go...

But we took our time, watched the monks having lunch and then we had our own little lunch in a corner. And suddenly some magic happened. We greeted an older monk who was passing by, and he invited us for a cup of tea in his room. Although he had very little English, it was just great to be with him, enjoying some cookies and tea. He was laughing at us when we tried to eat Tsampa, Ladakhi style. Tsampa is roasted barley flour. And you have to throw it in your mouth, so the spoon doesn't touch your lips. With our non-experience we ended up covered in flour and when it finally reached the inside of our mouths, It dried them up so much we couldn't talk anymore. It was all very funny.

We wanted to give something to this monk as an offering, but no matter how hard we tried, he didn't accept ANYTHING, no silk scarf (a traditional offering), none of our dried fruits, none of our biscuits, nothing. He insisted that we needed this more than him as we were trekking. Once again the pure friendliness and hospitality of the Ladakhi people.

After that we came across a group of monks who were preparing a special puja for the next day. They were building little statues/decoration with tsampa and butter, also a traditional thing in gompa's.

So after all it was really great to be here, but now we have to go back so we can be at the campsite before dark.

Goodbye Phugtal Gompa.

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