The Spituk Monastery of Ladakh is situated at a distance of approximately 8 km from the town of Leh. Towering over a conical, the 3-chapel monastery dates back to the 11th century, when it was founded century by Od-de, the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od. He was the one to introduce a monastic community here. When a translator, Rinchen Zangpo, came to this place, he said that an exemplary religious community would develop there. This statement led to the naming of the monastery as Spituk, meaning Exemplary.
During that time, Spituk Gompa belonged to the Kadampa School. With the
progress of time, it came under Dharmaraja Takspa Bum- Lde Lama Lhawang
Lotus. After restoring the monastery, he introduced the stainless order
of Tsongkhapa there. Till date, the Spitok Monastery of Leh Ladakh is
following this order only. Inside the monastery, the main statue is that
of Lord Buddha. Then, there is also a sacred image of Amitayus. The
image, about a finger high in length, was presented by Tsongkhapa to
It also contains five Thankas and a collection of ancient masks,
antique arms, along with a splendid image of Mahakaal. One of the major
attractions of the Spituk Monastery is the Gustor Festival. An annual
event, the festival takes place from the 27th to 29th day of the 11th
Tibetan month. During this festival, the sacred dance is also held. The
other monasteries of Stok, Sankar and Saboo in Ladakh, are branches of
the Spituk Monastery only. The successive reincarnations of Skyabsje
Bakula Rinpoche serve as the incumbents of all these monasteries.