The Rizong Gompa about 73 km from Leh, was founded in 1831 by the great Lama Tsultim Nima. Rizong Monastery follows the Gelukpa order and is quiet well known for its high standards of monastic disciplines. The monastery upholds the teachings of the great Tsongkhapa. Currently, it is home to around 30 students ranging between the age group of 6 to 15 years. The monastery is headed by Rizong Shas Rinpoche.
There are three rooms in the monastery. Two out of these three rooms house statues of Buddha while the third one has a stupa. The painting blocks of the biography of Lama TsultimNima, is yet another highlight of the monastery. The Rizong Monastery is the only one in Ladakh which has a nunnery called Chulichan (Chomoling) where about 20 nuns reside. The governing body of Rizong Monastery provides food and clothes to them.
The other uniqueness of the monastery lies in it being the only one with no annual mask dance festival. The monastery believes in laying more emphasis on individual practices.
Some precautions to be observed while visiting a monastery:
- Visitors are required to take off their shoes before entering a prayer area
- Do not disturb Monks at prayer, and always ask permission before taking photographs
- Do not touch religious artifacts
- Do not drink, smoke, take drugs or spit in the monastery premises
- Avoid talking loudly or disturbing the peaceful atmosphere
- In many Gompa’s, you are expected to walk around the premises only in a clockwise direction
- Women may not be allowed to enter the inner prayer rooms of some monasteries