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. Like I said, 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 that the bifurcation from where the road leads to Dhankar, as it falls on the main Hindustan-Tibet Highway, which is the road connecting Kinnaur and Kaza. This road remains open throughout the winters, so traveling to Dhankar would be the same as traveling to Dhankar in summers. One thing to be kept in mind is to avoid hitchhiking to Dhankar on weekends since fewer 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. Dhankar is located approximately 39 km from the now capital of Spiti, which 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 would reach Sichling and then an uphill road to your left leads you 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 and Hitchhike thereafter.
Kaza to Dhankar Bus
Despite being an important place in Spiti, there is no bus that goes directly to Dhankar. However, if you are able to catch the morning bus to Reckong Peo from 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. Now I know many people must be thinking, what if I don’t get to hitch a ride till Dhankar? You will get off to the intersection for Dhankar early in the morning, so rest assured you will find a ride towards Dhankar.
Activities in Dhankar Village
Many exclusions are available in Dhankar but one should obviously visit the old Dhankar Gompa. 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. Then there is the Dhankar Fort, which lies above the Gompa and is a spectacle in itself. The lake above Dhankar village surely makes a good spot to hike if you are planning to spend the night in Dhankar. However, if you have your own mode of transport then all of this can be done well within a day and then some more.
Places to see in Dhankar Village
The Dhankar fort, like any other fort, has been the power center for the various rulers in power. Therefore, it has seen a lot with an attached to it. 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, obviously leading to a power tussle between the kingdom of Ladakh and Bushahr. The Fort at Dhankar is situated at the top of a hill from where the confluence of Spiti and Pin rivers can be seen. Thus, it serves as a strategic point from the perspective of building a fort for the center of power. Monks and citizens would get inside the fort in times of war, throwing stones at the invaders from the top.
The Dhankar Tso is a high altitude lake located at a higher elevation than the monastery and the fort. For me, it surely qualifies as one of the better places in Spiti. 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. The mighty Manirang Peak is also visible from here. 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 of Indian Army, they have scaled the Manirang Peak successfully and are a force to be reckoned with in a hardcore Mountain Warfare.
What are timings of dhankar monastery ?
The Monastery opens up by 8 in the morning and shuts it’s doors by 8 in the evening.
Can I stay at dhankar monastery spiti valley ?
Yes you can stay at the Dhankar Monastery also. You will have to talk with the monks regarding the same.
At what height is dhankar lake situated ?
The Dhankar Lake is situated at a height of metres 4200 metres.
Camping at dhankar lake spiti valley ?
Yes camping is allowed at Dhankar Lake.You will have to carry your own things.There is nobody near the lake.
Is Dhankar fort different from monastery?
Yes both the Monastery and fort are different and are situated at different altitudes
Are homestays available at Dhankar village?
Yes homestays are readily available in Dhankar.Know more at Dhankar Homestay list
Is there a direct Hrtc bus from Kaza to Dhankar ?
No direct buses are available to Dhankar. Bus timetable