On the left bank of the river Indus lies the Tiger's Nose or Stakna in Tibetan. Stakna Gompa in itself is a small Buddhist Monastery of the Drukpa sect. However its location and proximity to a very important river, the Indus gives it prominence. (The Indus River originates from Tibet, cuts through Ladakh and flows the entire length of Pakistan before merging in to the Arabian Sea. In Ladakh, the Indus forms a part of spectacular landscapes, especially during the winter months; but this perhaps is subject of a separate blog.)The roof of the monastery reveals a beautiful view of the Indus river and valley, to the north you will see the stunning bare slopes of the Ladakh range and, the Zanskar range in the south. Followers of Buddhism can visit all year round; for photographers however the best time is during the bitterly cold winter months from December to February.
Stakna is home to nearly 30 Buddhist monks called Lama. The current head lama or Rinpoche happens to be the youngest Rinpoche of Stakna monastery and is the reincarnation of a Spiritual Lama - Skyabje Stakna Rinpoche who died at the age of 91 in Leh. The reincarnated Rinpoche was discovered in Garsha, Himachal Pradesh at the age of one through the visions of Gyalwang Drukpa. When the Rinpoche was 18 months old Gyalwang Drukpa visited the Riponche to perform a spiritual ceremony of donating the hair, he saw that the young Rinpoche was extremely approachable to the devotees and was happy to give his blessings to them.
The living quarters of the current Rinpoche who is now 2.5 years old shows no signs of a child's presence; may be apart from a bright colored toy bike parked in the living room. Its not polite to meet him empty handed so I carried a white prayer flag. In return he touched my forehead and gave me a red thread. He is probably the youngest Rinpoche of a monastery in the Himalayas.