Diskit Monastery also known as Deskit Gompa or Diskit Gompa is the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery (gompa) in the Nubra Valley of Ladakh, northern India
The Diskit monastery was founded by Changzem Tserab Zangpo in the 14th century. The history of the Nubra Valley and the monastery could thus be traced from the 14th century onwards. Ladakh was then ruled by King Grags-pa-‘bum-lde (1400–1440) and his brother, who unsuccessfully attempted to usurp Nubra Valley, which was a local ruler named Nyig-ma-grags-pa. The local ruler assisted a Gelugpa order advocate in building the monastery at Diskit and deifying the idol of Tsong Khapa, the founder of the Gelugpa sect, in the monastery. During the rule of King Blogros-chog-idan (1440–1470) who had even controlled western Tibet, Panchen Lha-btsun - a resident of Nubra Valley by birth - studied in Tibet and later became a regent to the founder of Tashilhunpo Monastery and finally during his last stage of life returned to Nubra.
His remains have been preserved in Charas. In 1500, Ladakh was ruled by Bkra-shis-rnam-rgyal, who fought the invader, Mirza Haider of Central Asia, in Nubra and close to Leh, finally defeated the latter and thus bringing Nubra under Ladakh King’s rule. Even then, the local chieftains still yielded power in Diskit and Hundar. Shia Muslims started settling in Nubra after this war. Bkra-shis-rnam-rgyal’ son, Tshedbang-rnam-rgyal ruled Ladakh from 1530 and expanded his kingdom. At that time, Nubra people prevailed on him and preventing him from invading Hor in Xinjiang, as trade with Yarkand was considered crucial to Nubra.
During the reign of Jams-dbang-rnam-rgyal, historical records indicate that a regular tribute payment was made by the Nubra people to the king. The King Bde-‘Idanrnam-rgyal (1620–45) successfully defeated Baltistan and the Mughals. Rgyal kings were very religious and built mani walls throughout their kingdom. Monks were especially engaged in reciting hymns of Mani-tung chur in Nubra Valley and in other surrounding areas. In the mid-eighteenth century, Tshe-dbang-rnam-rgyal gave away the control of Diskit monastery to the Rinpoche of Thikse Monastery and this arrangement has been perpetuated to this day. Since then, Diskit is considered a sub-gompa of Thikse
Diskit Monastery has been built at the edge of the approach road. This road links with Parthapur and Those. Approach to the monastery is through a flight of steps made of stones, which lead to the prayer hall of the monastery. A statue of Maitreya Buddha is enshrined in the hall. There is a huge drum located within the hall. In the chamber on the second floor, there are many images of fierce guardian deities. Diskit Monastery also has an elevated cupola, with a fresco depicting the Tashilhunpo Monastery of Tibet. It also has a number of shrines and Mongolian and Tibetan texts in the storehouse.
Diskit Monastery is connected to Mongol mythology in that the monastery is believed to be the place where an evil anti-Buddhist Mongol demon once lived and was killed near the monastery grounds but is said to have been resurrected several times. Today, the wrinkled head and hand of the demon are believed to lie inside a temple in the monastery.
The Lonely Planet India guide describes that the gompa roof offers "glorious" views of the Nubra Valley. Recent extensions to the monastery building are in good shape but the Dukhang and Zimcchungh are not in good condition. Paintings have been covered with soot and images are kept in total disorder. The older part of the monastery is said to be in the certain degree of decay, as cracks have been observed, and they remain untended.
Large statue of Jampa (Maitreya) Buddha The photong or official residence of the Chief Lama of Nubra is located at the foot hill where there is also a very large statue of Jampa (Maitreya) Buddha. This impressive 32 metre (106 foot) statue on top of a hill below the monastery, faces down the Shyok River towards Pakistan and, according to Mr Tsering Nophel, chairman of the committee which organised it, most of the money came from local donations.
The Head of the Gelugpa, Ganden Thipa, and Abbott of Rizu Monastery, gave 8 kg of gold for its decoration. It is the first time a Ladakhi monk has been the head of the Gelugpa sect. The statue's construction was started in April 2006 and it was consecrated by H.H. the Dalai Lama on 25 July 2010. Mr Nophel says the statue was built with three main functions in mind - protection of Diskit Village, prevention of further war with Pakistan, and to promote world peace.