Stok Gompa of Ladakh is situated at a distance of approximately 15 km to the south of the Leh town. It dates back to the 14th century and was founded by Lama Lhawang Lotus. Stok is a subsidiary of the Spituk Gompa and belongs to the yellow-hat sect of Buddhism. As you enter the verandah of the monastery, you will come across bright friezes, depicting the Guardians of the Four Directions. The Dukhang of the monastery was repainted, not a long time back, and displays a rich collection of banners and thankas.
The left-side wall is adorned with the images of Vajrapani
(Vajra-in-Hand) and Avalokitesvara (Lord of All He Surveys), in his
four-armed manifestation. At the same time, the right-side wall stands
proud with the images of Sakyamuni (the Historical Buddha) and his two
disciples, Amchi (the Buddha Medicine), Tara (the Saviouress) and
Nangyalma. There are two thrones inside the Dukhang. The central one has
been reserved for the Dalai Lama, while the one on its right is for the
head lama of Stok Monastery.
As you exit the Dukhang from the backside, you will come across a small
chapel. The chapel holds the distinction of being the oldest structure
inside the Stok Monastery of Leh Ladakh. The central image inside the
temple is that of Tsong-kha-pa, the founder of the yellow-hat sect of
Tibetan Buddhism. There are also images of Avalokitesvara, in his
four-armed manifestation, and Maityreya, the Future Buddha or Buddha of
Compassion, inside the chapel. To the right of the Dukhang is another
chapel. It boasts of an array of Buddha images, depicting the eight hand
gestures of Buddha.
One of the major attractions of the Stok Monastery is its own library.
The library has a complete set of the Kandshur, the 108 volumes of the
Buddha's teachings. A new temple, dedicated to Avalokitesvara, was added
to the monastery some time back. The central image inside the temple is
that of Avalokitesvara, with his 1,000 arms and 11 heads. A ritual
dance-mask takes place near the gompa, on the 9th and 10th day of the
first month of the Tibetan calendar.