The days I spent in Lahaul can be at best termed as mixed in terms of success. I could not cover everything I intended to do but since it was my first time, I am not too worried about it. The Bhaga valley around Keylong, and in fact the entire Lahaul was at its fecund best during June and July. In fact it was so fecund that I almost found it erotic. The days were long and the colours were popping out of the landscape. So, this post is a love letter to Lahaul apart from being the account of a solitary trek.
One of the minor treks I managed to complete near Keylong is that of the Shashur Monastery. It literally means blue pines, a particular variety of pines that reign the area. It is located atop a hill overlooking Keylong. This may make you mistake it to be some easy, local sightseeing. But is a reasonably long and even steep trek that takes a few hours to complete.
It was a bright day. The sheer splendour of the Bhaga Valley unfurled as I kept moving upwards and arriving at important vantage points. Natural landscapes surely have their charm but after Lahaul, I must say that even a well maintained agricultural tract in a fertile setting is equally alluring. Those potato fields will remain etched forever in my mind. The Kardang Monastery, whch is another major monastery in Lahaul, could be seen from these hills, on a different hill.
The road leading to the monastery is smooth although there is no public transport available. So, as usual, I kept walking, occasionally taking shortcuts and ending up in confusing but delightful places blooming with seasonal flowers.
Initially I underestimated the trek and only after a couple of hours of trekking finally the monastery became visible, that too at a reasonable distance. It has a history of 1000 years although the exterior building looked new from a distance.
After another hour of trekking I finally reached the place. The frst thing I came accross was a bunch of old stupas. I thnk these were the original ones from the 17th century when it was established by Lama Deva Gyatso of Zanskar. The present monastery is a newly constructed building.
A few monks had gathered there for some meeting. They asked me to enter the compound. I realized that it is a multi storeyed building, newly furnished. However, the interiors house several ancient relics and ntricately painted thankas. I checked all the floors and entered the inner sanctums. Some monks were busy chanting prayers so I did not take out my intrusive camera but clicked a few with the phone. So, these images are a bit disappointing. But there is much more to see inside that I did not capture.
I spent an hour or so, exploring the monastery and observing the monks. While all of them were dressed in traditional robes, I noticed that many of them were checking WhatsApp on their smartphones in the middle of prayers. You cannot really resist an idea whose time has come!
My return was also slow and comprised of a lot of photography breaks. The sun was about to set and there was a lot of light and shadow play. Sometimes I got the timings right, sometimes I did not. I thnkone of them involved the glacier called The Lady of Keylong, which is more than 6000 metres in altitude. I am returning to Lahaul very soon to make of for the things I missed out. Till then just ogle at these.
Shashur Monastery Travel Guide
How to reach Shashur?
The road to Shashur Monastery deviates from the main road just before reaching Keylong Town. It is the nearest one of all the monasteries from the town. There is a signboard out there so it is not that hard to find out. It is a motorable road but there is no public transport. You can drive, ask for lift if possible, or just hike along the road like I did.
How far is Shashur from Keylong Town?
It is around 5 KMs upward from the town of Keylong. You can also take some shortcuts leaving the road if you are hiking but these trails can be confusing.
What is the altitude of Shashur?
Shashur is located at a significant elevation from the town of Keylong. So, it should be around 3600-3800 meters in altitude.
What are the other monasteries nearby?
There are many othe rmonasteries around Keylong. The following posts shpuld be useful for you.
33 thoughts on “Shashur Monastery : Trek to the Gompa amidst the Blue Pines”
Wonderful pics, Another beautiful post.
Himalayas and its untouched beauty! The more I see of it more in love I fall with it. Lovely pictures and article 🙂
Excellent Photography thanks to sharing
Your photos are great – very high quality and obviously taken with plenty of thought and care. Looks like a beautiful place.
Magnificent pictures. A very beautiful part of the World. a great hike.
Your photos are beautiful! I love the colors of the buildings! You definitely don’t sound like a slacker to me 😛 thanks for sharing!
It’s absurdly relaxing just to look at your pictures, I can’t imagine how it had to be to trek in those places!
A lot of green, flowers, steep paths… sure, the weather didn’t seem reassuring, but who cares 😀
I really appreciate bloggers who take amazing photos. The photos with the flower and zigzag rode is amazing. Beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing!
Loved the photographs and the write up. But the large sized pictures, although really awesome kept breaking up the flow. Here is what happened on my first trek. http://saltandsandals.com/never-leave-man-behind-what-not-do-first-trek/
Whoa! What a magical place!
The pictures kind of lure your travel senses. 🙂
The places’ names are new and unusual, may be you could have included some para headings.
Wonderful pictures. I love Himalayas and never miss a chance to adore them. Never did such a kind of trek but would love to experience one in future. Thanks for the blog.
I would enjoy trekking there! The scenery is very relaxing and would sure be a nice escape from the city. I haven’t seen a potato field and I can understand it being forever etched in your mind. Would love to see all photos, but couldn’t load the page well.
Though as a traveller I prefer roads and destinations that are well connected, I have to admit I loved the little detail that there is no public transport to the monastery and maybe you have to walk all the way to it. It makes the journey even more meaningful and you gave a little from yourself to get there. Looks like a gorgeous area and you’ve managed to capture some amazing views!
Ah, the familiar colours of the mountains! Shashur seems to a destination worth exploring! And once again, great photography, Jitaditya!
Your photos are absolutely gorgeous! I love all the shots with flowers in the foreground. As a traveler you definitely capture it all and inspire me to head to Shashur!
This is a serene place, up in the mountains. The monasteries seem to call out to you in a mesmerizing way. The trek seems so heavenly as if it is truly the roadway to heaven, such beautiful vistas.
Your pictures are crazy amazing! I envy you for being able to explore these remote places. I actually prefer places like these than traveling to big city. Thank you for sharing!
As usual, your photography is incredible! It seems to be such a peaceful valley, the views from the top are absolutely stunning. I’d love to do this trekking one day, thanks for letting me discover this amazing place
Fabulous photographs and crisp write-up, Jita. The sia flowers pic with the Bhaga snaking in the background is pure gold.
Also, you may just like this one : https://travelshoebum.com/2016/10/12/wanderings-in-lahaul-tayul-monastery/comment-page-1/#comment-1607
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What a beautiful place Lahaul is. Your photos are absolutely breathtaking. The Bhaga Valley and those blue pine trees are just beautiful. I love monasteries, old or new. We are traveling to HP this October so cannot wait. We wouldn’t be going to Lahaul and Spiti but Mcleod ganj is on our list so hopefully will come across some beautiful places.
This looks so amazing! What a beautiful place to visit. I love that it seems relatively isolated so there aren’t huge crowds around!
What a beautiful hike! So many gorgeous sites although it seems like quite a trek. It definitely looks worth it though, looking at these lovely photos and scenes you have captured.
I have not visited a monastery or anything like this. It must be so calming to live in the mountains. I would like to trek here someday.
Iza c/o Kathy James (Walk About Wanderer)
It must have been a relief after 2 hours of trekking to see the monastery and know you had gone the correct way! Some of the shots you took are incredible, I have never knowingly seen potato fields before. It’s funny the monks were on theor smartphones, I’m surprised they had signal up there!
What an awesome location in the mountains! I love trekking and think this would be something i’d enjoy so thanks for sharing, had never heard of Lahaul before. Your photos are incredible too!
Wow what a climb/trek to get there! But seeing your photos I am sure it was worth it. The beauty about trekking sites like this is that the climb itself is what makes the journey worth while. The meadows, mountaintops and the fields below are so pretty from your vantage point!
Spiti & Lahaul have been in my wishlist since ages! I’m yet to go and you’re post is really tempting me to pack my backpack & head there! The views are just breathtaking! A monastery of 17th C? Now that’s interesting!!
I have not indulged in treks since Tiger’s Nest Monastery Trek in Bhutan. That was in August 2016. I hope I make it to Lahaul and Spiti this summer. I have still not been to these places.
We do not do treks that much. But this place looks simply amazing. The views of the snow capped mountains are just to much to resist. Loved the pic of the village in the valley below.
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