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Stok Gompa

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Stok Gompa Ladakh

Stock GompaStok gompa is a subsidiary of Spituk and both were founded by the same lama, Nawang Lotus, during the reign of King Takpa Bumbde. The oldest parts of the gompa are some 550 years old though the main Dukhang is only about fifty years old. Stok belongs to the yellow-hat sect of Buddhism and has about 20 lamas living there.Entering the central courtyard with its tall prayer flag pole, the main Dukhang is up a short flight of steps. The entrance verandah has new and colorful mural paintings of the Guardians of the Four Directions. Inside, the Dukhang has been recently repainted and the room is decorated with numerous banners and thankas. The entrance wall on either side of the door depicts various guardian dividities. On the left side wall the central image is of Vajrapani (Vajra-in-Hand), while the image on the left is that of Avalokitesvara (also known as the "Lord of All He Surveys", believed to be reincarnated in the Dalai Lama and the throneto the right is for the head lama of Stok.

On the right is an impressive image of Yamadhaka, a guardian divinity. There is a small chapel behind the Dukhang, entered through doors by the side of the throne seats. This chapel is the oldest part of the gompa. Its central image is of Tsong-kha-pa, the founder of the yellow-hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. To the right of this two-storey high image are three small statues: a yellow-hat lama and two of Sakyamuni. To the left of the central image is another yellow-hat lama, Avalokitesvara in his four-armed manifestation and Maityreya, the Future Buddha or Buddha of Compassion. By the wall on the right is an image of the founder, Nawang Lotus.

Leave the Dukhang and go immediately to the right through a low door. On the right is a small chapel with a row of Buddha images that depict the eight hand gestures of Buddha. Unfortunately, the Buddhas are covered with cloth so most of the gestures are not visible. Masks used during Stok's January festival are seen hanging from the pillars in this room. Leaving this chapel, go up the stairs in front of it for two flight of steps, emerging on a small upper courtyard. Straight across the courtyard area is a door leading to the head lama's apartment. This room is decorated with several thankas but is mostly notable for the intricate woodcarving on the two low tables in front of the seat. A door on the left side of the courtyard opens onto the gompa's library. This room has a complete set of the Kandshur, the 108 volumes of the Buddha's teachings. The central image in this library is of Sakyamuni (the Historical Buddha). Return to the main courtyard and to the left of the Dukhang is a new temple dedicated to Avalokitesvara. This temple has a new and large image of Avalokitesvara with his 1,000 arms (to demonstrate his enormous strength) and 11 heads. On either side of this image are numerous small stucco images of lamas and Buddas.

 
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