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.