Dira Puk Monastery on the Kailash kora in Tibet
View on Mount Kailash


School of Buddhism: Gelug
Founded: 13th century
Location: Kailash region
Altitude: 4,920 m
Alternative spelling: Drira Phuk, Dira-puk


Tibetan women approaching Dira Puk Monastery on the Mount Kailash Kora
Tibetan women approaching Dira Puk

The monastery is located near Mount Kailash with an incredible view on the North side of the mountain. As thousands of pilgrims walk the holy trek around Kailash every year, they visit the monastery on the way. Typically, it takes 3 days to trek around the mountain (unless you are Tibetan and then you can complete it in one day). On the first day of trekking, we hike from Darchen to Dira Phuk monastery. At the end of the first day trekking you can visit Dira Phuk.

The monastery is built around the retreat cave of the yogin Gotsangpa. He discovered the way around Mount Kailash and Daikinin in a form of yak showed him the way. That’s where the name of the monastery came from. Dira in Tibetan means “female yak horn” and Puk means “cave”.  

The area with monastery stupas is one of the great places to take photos of the North side of Kailash. You can also catch a great view during the warm light of the rising sun when you start trekking early in the morning on the next day.


Stupas of The Dira Puk Monastery by the Kailash Mountain in Tibet
North Face of Kailash from Dira Puk Monastery

Dira Puk is located right in front of the great view of the North face of Kailash. This side of Kailash looks impressive. The North face is a steep cliff usually covered with snow. From here, there is a path leading towards the glacier at the foot of the North side. There are three important mountains surrounding Kailash. You can see them from Dira Phuk. Mountain associated with Chana Dorje (Vajrapani) is on the left side, Chenresig (Avalokiteshvara) is on the right side. Another mountain associated with Jampelyang (Manjushri) is in the back of the Kailash. 


Dira Puk monastery on the kora around Mount Kailash
View on Dira Puk

Yogin Gotsangpa was one of the milarepa’s disciples. He stayed in a retreat in a cave of the present day monastery from 1213 to 1217. He first discovered the kora route around the sacred mountain and wrote the first guidebook about Mount Kailash. 

The main image of the monastery is of Avalokiteshvara. Behind the main chapel you will find the meditation cave, where you can spend some time meditating. 
On the second floor of the monastery you will see new chapels with some new Buddha statues.


Mt Kailash and stupas at the Dira Puk monastery
Mt Kailash and stupas at the Dira Puk monastery

There are nice campgrounds around the monastery and several guesthouses. Most of the guesthouses are located on the South side of the river, closer to Kailash. The monastery and a small guesthouse are on the North side of the Lha-Chu river. The small guesthouse located right at the foot of the monastery will offer simple amenities and an incredible view of Kailash. Staying by the Dira Phuk is very convenient, as you can visit the monastery at the end of the 1st day trekking. On the next day, you can start early in the morning to continue to the highest point of the entire trek – Dolma La pass at 5,460 meters. 




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