View of Zangskar Valley
Zangskar Nunneries

Member nunneries of Zangskar Nuns Association:

  1. Karsha Chuchikjall Kachod Grubling
  2. Pishu Namgyal Choling
  3. Zangla Byangchub Choling
  4. Rizhing Dorje Dzong
  5. Tungri Phuntsog Ling
  6. Sani Kachod Ling
  7. Skyagam Phagmo Ling
  8. Manda Padma Choling
  9. Bya Dolma Choling
  10. Chumig Gyartse Namtak Choling



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Pishu Namgyal Choling

|| Photos || History ||

Pishu Namgyal Choling was built at the base of a multi-colored mountain not too far uphill from the village, which is reached by crossing a bridge from the main road and then trudging for 45 minutes across undulations of loose rocks and sand. There are eleven nuns in the assembly, including three charming and quick-witted elderly nuns. One prayer hall existed long before the nunnery began and the other buildings have a broad range of ages. A newer building constructed in 1998 contains a small prayer hall, assembly room, kitchen, and teacher's residential cell. During the summer of 2010 the nuns repaired their summer kitchen that was heavily damaged by unprecedented spring rain storms.

Although there has been no teacher at the nunnery since 1981, a few of the elderly nuns received very good teachings of the Nyingma tradition in the past and have been able to pass these on to the younger nuns. Young girls from the village, who intend to become nuns, can attend school at the nunnery in Zangla, but it is uncertain which nunnery they will join after completing their studies. Prayer rituals are undertaken on important days each month and for a full month during the spring. The nunnery has a very difficult problem with the water supply, which often runs dry by August and during the winter when the local supply is frozen the nuns must travel a long way down to the river to get water. The nuns have four solar panels, but no electricity. They would like to receive more solar panels and are in need of funds to repair older buildings. They expressed a need for ongoing support for basic necessities because they do not get enough donations from the village or their families. Like most other nunneries in Zangskar, Pishu also has a teacher in residence from Dharamsala who daily teaches the nuns Tibetan grammar and writing.


Pishu Nuns Pishu Buildings
Pishu Pishu

More Pishu Photos


History of Pishu Namgyal Choling

"[Pishu was] founded sometime in the 19th century possibly by royal patrons from Zangla, but with no fields or other permanent endowments. The Pishu nuns follow an eclectic mix of Gelugpa and Nyingma practices including a meditation in which the human body is symbolically dismembered known as gcod, which dates back to the Tantric heroine, Macig Labdron. The Pishu nuns were taught by a Tibetan monk whose father was called Khampa Lugong. He may have been one of the ransom figure or Lugong (glud 'gong) who was driven out of Lhasa during the new year's celebration as Richardson (1993) notes."

Excerpt from Kim Gutschow's Being A Buddhist Nun (Harvard University Press, 2004: p. 101)


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