Located at an altitude of 3,894 meter, Dhankar is the old capital of Spiti village. Dhang or dang means cliff, and kar or khar means fort. Hence, Dhankar means fort on a cliff. It was the place of the early ruler of Spiti, the Nonos, who has the right to promote the government lands nearby and were necessary to keep the fort in repair. They also used to give justice to the people and were famous for their harsh penalties until the British replaced them.
Height: 3894 m
Climate: Mild and pleasant in summer when cottons and light woollens are suggested. Cold in winter and heavy clothing is required. Best time to visit is May to October. From October end, roads remain closed due to snowfall.
Getting There & Away: How to reach Dhankar
This village connected to the rest of the valley through a narrow motorable road. Schichling is a small village lying on the main road between Kaza and Tabo about 24 kms away from Kaza and 22 kms before Tabo. From here, there is a well paved branch road upto Dhankar, 8 kms away. No public transport available on this branch road till Dhankar Village. To reach Dhankar, one has to either hire a taxi from Tabo or Kaza or to get a government bus (only two buses in a day from Kaza as well as Tabo) up to Schichling. From Schichlng, one can try for a hitchhike or can trek to this 8 kms distance.
Tourist Attractions in Dhankar
Dhankar Gompa and Fort: Built on a 1000-foot (300-metre) high spur overlooking the confluence of the Spiti and Pin Rivers – one of the world’s most spectacular settings for a gompa, this fort monastery represents an unique example of Central Tibetan Pattern of Architecture. In addition of the surrounding rough lunar landscape created by massive erosion caused wind and rain, prominent sights at Dhankar Gompa include a statue of Vairocana or Meditating Buddha’s idol, ancient murals, Buddhist scriptures and various crumbling thangkas. There is also a small museum in the gompa. In 2006, World Monuments Fund selected this gompa as one of the 100 most endangered sites in the world. A nonprofit group, Dhangkar Initiative, is attempting to organize its conservation.
Dhankar Lake: Surrounded by Glacier Mountains, this lake is at a height of 4,517 meter. A 3 kms trekable road from the village goes to the lake and takes about 2 hours. There is a dangerous straight climb option also available from the village to the lake and takes about one hour.
Trek to Lahlung Village: This village is home of one of the oldest temple of Spiti Valley, Sherkhang Temple (Elevation 3779 meters), that is famous for its nondescript stucco building, fantastic characters with wall and ceiling paintings.It said to be a 1000 years old temple. It requires a 3 hours one way easy trek from Dhankar to Lahlung. From Lahlung you can further trek to Demul, Komik and Langza villages.