About Dhankar Village
Dhankar is a place that has witnessed it all in Spiti; the erstwhile capital of Spiti. The local ruler Nono had Dhankar as his capital. The Nono kingdom came under the province of the ruler of greater Kashmir and Ladakh region in different time frames. The kingdom of Bushahr (Rampur) also laid its claim on the Spiti region for a very long time.
Hence, it supported the Kingdom of Tibet in fierce fights, in which Tibetans seized Spiti. Dhankar is one place, which has a rich history, since it has seen so much action in the recorded events that we have. So, read on and discover Dhankar like you’ve never before.
How to Reach Dhankar Village
One good thing about Dhankar is the bifurcation from where the road leads to Dhankar, as it falls on the main Hindustan-Tibet highway. This road remains open throughout the winter season, so traveling to Dhankar is similar to the traveling in the summer season. One thing to be keep in mind is to avoid hitchhiking to Dhankar on weekends, since few people go out on weekends.
Kaza to Dhankar
As Dhankar is situated a little far from the main highway, one has to take a detour from the highway to reach the village. Dhankar is located approximately 39 km from the now capital of Spiti, that is Kaza. In Spiti, all roads lead to Kaza. So, if you were to start from Kaza, the village of Dhankar would lie towards Kaza to Shimla route.
You have to pass the Attargo Bridge to reach Dhankar. Passing through the Attargo Bridge, you will reach Sichling and then, an uphill road to your left leads to Dhankar. The road is primarily uphill and not so adequate in some stretches. But all is worthwhile once you reach Dhankar.
If you are not in your personal vehicle, then you can book a cab or travel in a shared cab towards Dhankar, or maybe a little after the Attargo Bridge, you can hitchhike thereafter.
Kaza to Dhankar Bus
Despite being an important place in Spiti, there is no direct bus to Dhankar. However, if you are able to catch the morning bus to Reckong Peo from the Kaza bus stand, then get off a little after the Attargo Bridge. From there, you can easily find a vehicle to Dhankar and then hitchhike from there to Dhankar.
What if I don’t get to hitch a ride till Dhankar?
Many vehicles traverse this route. You just need to get off on the intersection for Dhankar early in the morning. At this hour, rest assured you will find a ride towards Dhankar Village.
Things to Do in Dhankar Village
Many exclusions are available in Dhankar; one should visit the old Dhankar Gompa positively. Yes, there are two monasteries in Dhankar; the old one and the new one. Monks have vacated the old monastery due to the structural decay it sustained over the years.
Then, there is the Dhankar Fort, which lies above the Gompa and it is a spectacle in itself. The Dhankar Lake, situated above, surely makes a good spot to hike if you are planning to spend the night in village. However, if you have your own mode of transport then all of this can be done well within a day, giving you enough time to relax at each stop.
For people who find homestay hunting a fun thing can access our Dhankar Homestay list for better directions.
The Dhankar Fort, like any other historic monument, has been the power center for the various rulers during their term. Therefore, it has seen a lot of bloodshed and a plethora of celebration. Spiti has been preserved in a time capsule and has kept a lot of Trans-Himalayan Buddhist traditions alive. Spiti was a part of the Tibetan Kingdom, later known as the Ladakhi Kingdom, grew in power. The king of Bushahr also lay a claim on Spiti, that obviously lead to a power tussle between the kingdom of Ladakh and Bushahr.
At times of trouble
The Fort at Dhankar is situated at the top of a hill, exploring the mesmerizing confluence of Spiti and Pin Rivers. Thus, it serves as a strategic point from the perspective of building a fort to cohort power. In times of war, monks and other inhabitants would get inside the fort and throw stones at the invaders from the top.
One Day Hike
The Dhankar Lake or Tso is a high altitude water body located at a higher elevation than the monastery and the fort. It surely qualifies as one of the better places in Spiti and it takes about 2-3 hour hike to make a round trip to the lake from the village.
Morning hours are suggested for an ideal visit to the lake because the streams of water are calm and reflections are wonderful. These are peak hours for some productive photography, as you can get clean shots with the stagnant streams.
An Unexplored Beauty
The mighty Manirang Peak is also visible from here and the Manirang Pass is considered to be one of the least explored passes of Indian Himalayas. While coming to Spiti, you will notice military installations with the name “Sentinels of Tri-peaks” written. They belong to the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles Division of the Indian Army and they have scaled the Manirang Peak successfully, making them a force to be reckoned with in a hardcore Mountain Warfare.
FAQs on Dhankar Village
Q1. What are timings of Dhankar Monastery ?
Ans. The Dhankar Monastery opens up at 8 AM in the morning and it shuts by 8 PM in the evening. You have almost 12 hours to visit the religious settlement if you are not looking for accommodation there.
Q2. Can I stay at dhankar monastery spiti valley ?
Ans. Yes, you can stay at the Dhankar Monastery also. You will have to talk with the monks regarding the same. Some charge a very cheap rate, while some might let you stay for free.
Q3. What is the height at which Dhankar Lake situated ?
Ans. The Dhankar Lake is situated at a height of 4200 m about the sea level. To reach the lake, find the trail suggested by monks living there. By hiking for an hour you can reach the Dhankar Lake.
Q4. Can you camp at Dhankar Lake in the Spiti Valley ?
Ans. Yes, camping is allowed at Dhankar Lake. But there are no shops or eateries near the lake. So, please carry your own things eatables and other necessary accessories for survival.
Q5. Is Dhankar Fort different from the Dhankar Monastery?
Ans. Yes, both the monastery and fort are different structure, situated at different altitudes and different purposes.
Q6. Are homestays available at Dhankar village?
Ans. Yes, homestays are readily available in Dhankar. If you are feeling particularly curious about the culture of Dhankar, then you can also stay with monk sin the monestry. To know more, check the Dhankar Homestay list.
Q7. Is there a direct Hrtc bus from Kaza to Dhankar ?
Ans. No direct buses are available to Dhankar. Check our curated Bus timetable to know more.