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Sani Monastery

Sani MonasteryThe village of Sani is situated as a distance of approximately 6 km to the west of the Padum valley, on the road to Kargil. The major tourist attraction of Sani in Ladakh is its monastery. The castle like monastery is built on level ground, unlike any other monastery of this area. Sani monastery has a legend attached to it, which goes that its initial foundation is associated with Kanishka. The reason behind the legend is the existence of Kanika Stupa in the backyard of the walled complex.

There is a huge multi-columned central prayer hall in the main building of the monastery. This hall consists of a rich collection of the statues of popular Buddhists divinities as well as the Drugpa (Old Schools) high saints. There is a chapel behind the main building, adorned with some of the most exquisite stucco friezes. These friezes exhibit landscapes and floral designs based on the life of Padmasambhava. Also near the monastery is an old cemetery, encircled with some ancient rock carving with an Indian influence.

Sani is also famous because of the connection of this place with Naropa, the Indian yogi from Vikramsila. It is said that he sat under the Kanika Stupa for meditation purposes. The site where he meditated now houses a small room consisting of a veiled bronze figure of the Yogi himself. This statue is unveiled only once a year, in late July. At the time of the unveiling, a festival is held here, which lasts for two days. In this festival, Bardan Monastery monks perform masked dances as a part of the ritual offering.

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