Gurudwara Pathar Sahib – Exploring Ladakh

by Vargis.Khan

Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is located about 23 kilometers away from Leh, on the Srinagar – Leh highway. At an altitude of over 12,000 ft, it is considered one of the highest Gurudwaras in the world and is noted for its religious and tourist significance. It was built in 1517 in the memory of Guru Nanak Dev, to commemorate his visit to Ladakh.

If you are in Ladakh, Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is a place that you cannot miss visiting and there are several ways you can do so. You can visit the Gurudwara while either traveling from Leh to Srinagar or vice versa. It is located right along the highway. You can take a quick break from your journey and pay respect at the Gurudwara.

Or you can also plan a day tour on Srinagar Leh road and pay a visit at the Gurudwara while visiting some other tourist places like Magnetic Hill and Indus Zanskar Confluence, the monasteries of Alchi and Likir, and some remote villages like Hemis Shukpachan.  This is exactly what we did.

I recently was on a road trip to Ladakh and on the 37th day of our trip, we visited Gurudwara Pathar Sahib. The post below is a brief narration of our visit and also provides several necessary details on planning a trip. To read the previous parts of the travelogue, please follow the links below.

Journey So Far:

Where is Gurudwara Pathar Sahib

Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is located at a distance of 25 kilometers from Leh, on the Srinagar Leh highway. To understand the way to Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and its location, I recommend that you take a look at the Leh Ladakh Road Map which I created some time ago. You can also take a look at the video below that I shot during our visit.

Gurudwara Pathar Sahib History

Let me first provide a little history of Gurudwara Pathar Sahib and how it came to be. The source of my information for this part is the Sikhwiki.Org site. Guru Nanak in his lifetime traveled to many parts of India including Ladakh, and even as far as Tibet. He is well respected by Tibetan Buddhists who consider him a saint and refer to him as Guru Gompka Maharaj.

While traveling to Ladakh, Guru Nanak dealt with a demon who had been terrorizing the locals for quite some time. He confronted the demon and it is said that the demon threw a large boulder at him with the intention of killing him. The boulder, however, softened like warm wax when it hit Guru Nanak’s body. This left an impression of Guru Nanak in the rock itself.

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The demon then tried to push the boulder down with his feet but could cause no harm to Guru Nanak Dev. The only result was that the demon’s foot too got imprinted in the rock. Both these pieces of stones are now placed in the Gurudwara.

This is just a brief summary that I posted here. To read more in detail and the complete legend, please take a look at the Sikhwiki Page.

Also Read: How to Plan a Trip to Ladakh – A Complete Travel Guide

Gurdwara Pathar Sahib Details

The boulder with an imprint of Guru Nanak’s body in it was first discovered in the late 1970s when BRO was working on the Srinagar Leh highway. As the legend goes, this boulder was covered by Buddhist prayer flags and no matter how hard BRO tried, they could not move it out of the way.

A Bulldozer was employed on the job but it kept turning off the moment it was used to move the boulder. When tried multiple times, the blade of the dozer broke but the stone remained in its place. When all efforts to remove the boulder proved futile, it was decided to blow it apart with dynamite the next day but that too failed.

The driver of the Bulldozer and the army officer who tried to blow the boulder with dynamite both had dreams in the night. A voice told them both not to move the stone. BRO was then advised by the locals and several Lamas to leave it in its current place. They were told the story of a Holy Saint they called Nanak Lama and the unyielding boulder.

It was after this that Gurudwara was constructed in its current place. It is now taken care of by the Indian Army. There is also a daily langar in the Gurudwara every morning. It is among the most visited places in Ladakh now and receives thousands of visitors every day.

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Day 37 – Leh to Gurudwara Pathar Sahib

It was the 37th day of our road trip to Ladakh when we visited Gurudwara Pahar Sahib. The overall plan was to go for a tour of Sham Valley, a destination in Ladakh that is still somewhat offbeat and doesn’t receive as many visitors.

Sham Valley is located a little ahead of the village of Likir, on the right side of Srinagar Leh road, at a distance of about 70 kilometers from Leh. It is a wide valley that consists of several small villages like Saspochey, Suspol, Bazgoo, Uley, and Hemis Shukpachan.

A tour of Sham Valley can be done in the form of a full circuit. From Leh, you will start driving towards Kargil on the Srinagar Leh highway. Tourist attractions like Magnetic Hill, Gurudwara Patthar Sahib, and the Indus Zanskar River confluence will all fall along the way. For more details, you can take a look at How to Plan a Trip to Sham Valley.

So our plan was that we will take breaks at Gurudwara Pathar Sahib, Magnetic Hill, and Sangam Point. From there, we will continue to Sham Valley and drive around in a complete circle, exiting once again on the Srinagar Leh road. On our way back, if time allowed, we could also cover the monasteries of Alchi and Likir.

Without a doubt, this was going to be a long tour covering a lot of places. In order for us to successfully complete the tour without rushing, we would need at least 12 to 13 hours. This needed an early start from Leh, as early as possible.

So we woke up at around 6 am. After a light breakfast, by 7 am, we drove out of the hotel and started our Sham Valley tour. The first destination of the day was Gurudwara Pathar Sahib.

Leh to Pathar Sahib Gurudwara Distance

The distance between Leh and the Gurudwara is a total of about 25 kilometers. The road is smooth all the way and you can easily cover the distance in about 25 to 30 minutes at most. We drove out of Leh town, crossed the Hall of Fame near the airport, and in about 20 minutes, we arrived at Gurudwara Pathar Sahib.

This in fact was our second visit to the Gurudwara during this trip. We had already been here 3 weeks ago when we reached Leh from Srinagar. It was actually the first place that we came to after we arrived in Leh and had langar here early in the morning. The plan was the same again today.


Gurudwara Pathar Sahib Langar Timings

Langar is served in the Gurudwara every morning at 8 a.m. It starts at 8 and then lasts for about 1 to 2 hours. During my previous trips, I came to the Gurudwara during the day as well but did not find langar being served. So I am not sure if it gets served during the rest of the day or not but it definitely does in the morning.

We first went straight inside and paid our respects. It was so peaceful inside that I just sat down there for a while there with my eyes closed, listening to the prayers. After spending about 30 minutes sitting inside the Gurudwara, we came out to the Langar hall to get something to eat.

During our first visit 3 weeks ago, we had delicious Poori Sabzi in Langar. But this time, it was Maggie on the menu which actually was a little surprising. I have never seen Maggie being served in Langar at any of the Gurudwaras I had been to. Photography and videography are not allowed inside the Langar hall so I cannot really post any pictures of that.

Nonetheless, we had Maggie in Langar and it was very delicious. After that, we had some tea which was also a part of the Langar and equally good. With our bellies full, we stepped out and moved on to our next destination for the day, the Magnetic Hill of Ladakh. Before I move on with the travelogue though, let me provide a little more information that can be of help in planning a trip to Gurudwara Pathar Sahib.

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How to Reach Gurudwara Pathar Sahib

There are two ways that a trip to the Gurudwara can be planned. The first one is for someone planning to cover the Srinagar Leh highway as part of their trip. The second option is for someone wanting to keep the Srinagar route out entirely. I will explain both.

If you were planning to either reach Ladakh or come back via Srinagar then visiting Gurudwara Pathar Sahib is easy. It is located on the Srinagar Leh highway itself. All that you need to do is stop for a while, pay your respects, and be on the way.

So for example, if you are coming from Srinagar, you can visit Gurudwara just when you are about to reach Leh City. There is a board marking the location so it will be hard to miss. Same way, if you were coming from Leh and going to Srinagar, then you can visit the Gurudwara and continue traveling towards Kargil.

Also Read: How to Travel to Ladakh Solo

Day Trip to Gurudwara Pathar Sahib

If you, however, had no intention of traveling on the Srinagar route, then you will have to plan some time out to visit Gurudwara. This applies to people who either flew into Leh and were catching a flight out; or for someone who went via Manali and returned the same way.

The best way to visit the Gurudwara, in that case, is to plan a day trip on the Srinagar route until Sham Valley. This is usually referred to as the Sham Valley tour. You can in fact drive as far as the town of Lamayuru from Leh City and return by evening.

On the way, you will visit Pathar Sahib Gurudwara and several other places like Magnetic Hill, Indus Zanskar Confluence, and Hall of Fame. Leh to Lamayuru will take about 3 to 4 hours with all the sightseeing involved.

If you do not have the entire day to spend, then you can just take one hour out on any day of your trip, do a short run to the Gurudwara, and be back to Leh City.

Private Taxi Charges

If you were not traveling by your own vehicle, then you can rent a taxi from Leh City to visit all the places I mentioned above including Gurudwara Pathar Sahib. The cost of the private taxi will be about Rs. 3,000 to Rs. 5000 per day depending on the places you want to include in your sightseeing plans for the day.

Motorcycle Rental

If not the taxi, you can rent a motorcycle from Leh City or a Scooty which will cost about Rs. 1000 to Rs. 2000, depending upon the brand.

Bus to Gurudwara Pathar Sahib from Leh

There is no bus that specifically goes to the Gurudwara. Hiring a private taxi or motorcycle is your only choice here.

Best time to Visit Gurudwara Pathar Sahib

The Gurudwara actually remains accessible throughout the year. Even during peak winters, the road from Leh to Kargil stays open. So irrespective of the month you are planning your Leh trip, you can keep Gurudwara Pathar Sahib as a part of your itinerary.

Where to Stay

There is no hotel near the Gurudwara so you will actually have to stay in Leh City only.

Gurudwara Pathar Sahib Altitude

Pathar Sahib Gurudwara is located at an altitude of 12,000 ft.

Gurudwara Pathar Sahib to Magnetic Hill

Now again coming back to the travelogue, we drove out of the Gurudwara Complex and started on our way to the Magnetic Hill of Ladakh. It is located quite close to the Gurudwara, at a short distance of only about 4 kilometers. So it did not take us long to get there.

We stopped at Magnetic Hill and did a test of the famous theory related to this place. Was it true? Did our car still move on its own with the engine switched off? Please click on the link above to continue reading the next part of the travelogue and find out.


I hope the travelogue, pictures, and information above on visiting Gurudwara Pathar Sahib were of help. If you have any questions, you can contact me on Instagram and I will be happy to answer. You can also consider subscribing to my YouTube channel and asking a question there.

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Mansi Vinay April 23, 2022 - 6:31 pm

Are we allowed to carry a chaddar I mean a cloth to put it on Guru Nankji which we usually do it in a Gurudwara.

Vargis.Khan April 24, 2022 - 4:42 am

I am sorry but I really do not know that

Bally Bhamra November 18, 2019 - 2:14 pm

Please advise if I can visit Gurudwara Sahibji Pathar Sahibji during mid April.
Also let me know the best route from Amritsar to Pather Sahibji Gurudwara.

Vargis.Khan November 19, 2019 - 6:33 pm

Yes you can. You will have to catch a flight to Leh first.


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