Stakna meaning "Tiger's Nose"
is built some 500 years ago on the summit of a high rock in the
middle of the Indus Valley. This is a small monastery housing some
35 lamas o f the red-hat sect of Buddhism. Although small, it has
several sister monasteries, including three in the Zanskar valley.
The gompa consists of the head lama's private apartment, a Dukhang
(main temple and assembly hall) and the rooms of the lamas and their
attendants. Entering the central courtyard, one sees a small stuffed
Lhasa Apso, the favorite pet of the previous head lama. Directly
ahead and up a flight of steps is the Dukhang or main assembly hall,
which contains a silver gilted chorten, seven feet high, erected
by the present head lama in the 1950s. The chorten contains a statue
of the Buddha and various Buddhist texts. On the left wall and beginning
on the left are three new paintings: the Tsephakmad (a Buddhist
deity), Sakyamni (the Historical Buddha) and Smchi (the Medical
Buddha). On the wall facing the entrance of the Dukhang are three
more new paintings. Again, starting from the left, the paintings
depict a Bodhisattva, Padme Sambhava, the 8th century Indian Buddhist
scholar and translator of Buddhist texts into Tibetan and Tshong-san-gompo,
am early king of Tibet.
On the right of the Dukhang are three
statues: of the Past (Sakyamuni, Present anhd Future Maitreya Buddhas.
On either side are Buddhist canonical volumes. In the center on
the left side of the Dukhang is the head lama's throne. In the room
behind the Dukhang on the right side is a large statue of the lama
founder of Stakna, Zaptung Nawangial, who was from Bhutan. He is
flanked by statues of other head lamas of Stakna. In the room behind
the Dukhang on the left, a wooden cupboard contains a large standing
figure of Dorje Phakma, a Bodhisattva, beside eight Sashan Gyat
(the 8 positions of Buddha). On the right is a small central statue
of Avalokitesvara (analogous to the Hindu god Shiva and easily recognizable
by his eleven heads and one thousand arms).
On the next level up are the head lama's private apartments, newly
decorated in colorful Tibetan style. There are numerous small statues
of Buddhist deities and historical personages in the glass fronted
cupboards. The library room connected to the apartments is one of
the most beautiful in Ladakh. Colorfully painted, it contains a
gilded statue of the previous Rimpoche of Stakna.