Matho Monastery, also known as Mathogompa, is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery located 26 km southeast of Leh on the banks of the River Indus. The site is the only gompa in Ladakh belonging to the Saskia order of Tibetan Buddhism. In addition, the Matho monastery is a good base for learning about the Buddhist teachings and philosophies.
The Monastery of Matho is more than 500 years old and is managed by the __Sakya Monastic Establishment in Ladakh. Its was established for the transmission of Buddhism in Ladakh. Founded in 1410 by Lama Dugpa Dorje, belonging to Sakya Order. It is the only Ladakhi monastery that follows the Sakya order of the Tibetan Buddhist. The Matho Monastery is inspired by the monastery of Saskya in Tibet. It houses around 60 lamas and 30 novitiates. Due to various deterioration of buildings, an assembly hall was built in 2005.
Situated in the Indus Valley, Matho Monastery is today an exceptional tourist destination especially for the tourists in search of traditional Buddhist ideologies. The monument has a beautiful collection of 400 year old thangkas, some of which are in the form of mandalas. The monastery of Matho is a home to many historical remains waiting to be discovered. The collection includes a Sakyamuni Buddha and brightly colored old paintings. Walk the upper floor "Du-khang" and discover the magnificent little chapel containing images of Sakya Pandita and Sakya lamas. Visitors of the monastery can also access the sanctuary dedicated to the main deities of that region. On the veranda of Du-khang, you will see splendid paintings of the holy guardians of the region. Inside, you will find two rows of seats for the lamas and a seat of throne reserved for the Rimpoche, main head of Matho.
Matho Monastery hosts the Matho Nagrang Festival every year, held on every 14th and 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar. During the festivities, all the monks participate in the sacred dances, wearing masks representing different forms of gods and goddesses. The key moment of this festival is the appearance of the two oracles left to meditate away from the community for a month before. They appear in the courtyard with masked dancers to predict future events. Moreover, many people come to this festival in order to seek advice to eradicate the evils from life. Visitors can see the costumes and masks worn by monks during the festival in the small Matho museum behind Du-khang.
Unlike Tikse, on the edge of Indus, Matho is not on the main highway. It is therefore less accessible by bus. There are buses departing from Leh every day at 8:00 am and 4:00 pm and returning at 9:00 am and 5:00 pm the next day.
The Matho Monastery opens its doors to tourists all days of the week, including public holidays, from 06:00 to 19:00. During the Matho Nagrang Festival, it is accessible from 06:00 to 18:00. Entry to the monastery costs Rs 30 per person.