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The Land Of Pristine Beauty,
Tradition And Sprituality...

Alchi Tour

Alchi Tour

A Priceless Buddhist Heritage in the Himalayas


Located in splendid isolation, the Alchi Gompa of Ladakh dates back to 1000 AD. It lies at a distance of about 67 km to the west of Leh. The structure was built by the great translator, Rinchen Zangpo with the help of thirty two sculptors and wood carvers from Kashmir. The monastery and its paintings reflect the traditional Indian touch. On the basis of extraordinarily painted shrines of the late 11th century, Alchi is considered one of the most beautiful Buddhist monuments of the world.


The main image inside the Alchi Monastery of Ladakh is that of Vairochana. One can also see the images of the five Buddha Families and other attendant deities inside the monastery. These paintings and images are the rarest and most extensive examples of Buddhist art in Kashmir. The best period to visit Alchi is considered from May to September.


Historical Background

The region was once an important trade route. As the Islamic armies conquered the whole region, the Buddhist monuments and monasteries suffered the most. Luckily, Alchi escaped destruction. Almost all of its ancient paintings and murals are so well preserved that they appear to have been made recently.


Tourist Attractions of Alchi


Du-khang

The oldest temple in Alchi, Du-khang was founded by the Kal-dan Shes-rab of Tibetan descent, in the 11th century. The temple is popular for its wall engravings, carved images of Bodhisattvas and the plaster image of Vairocana, the Resplendent Buddha. The temple is designed in a special geometric way, which seems to be a visualisation of the universe. The huge wall towards the south is known as a representation or sketch of Mahakala, Great time, Timelessness, or Eternity.


Sum-tsek

This huge temple has a distinctive architectural pattern. The fabulous paintings and murals, carved wooden facade and huge pillars with carved brackets depict the typical Buddhist art.


Lotsawa Lha-khang and Manjushri Lha-khang

These are two small adjoining shrines. Large central columns, plaster images of the Bodhisattva, murals based on the theme of the Thousand Buddhas, and images of other goddesses and guardians are the major features of the temples. The Lotsawa Lha-khang is dedicated to Rinchen Zangpo.


Lha-khang Soma

This is a modern structure, known for a chorten or votive stupa. The columns are beautifully engraved with lion faces. The western wall has three painted mandalas, the northern has the image of Vairochana, and the eastern wall has the image of the Buddha. The doorway is decorated with the image of Mahakala.


Hemis Festival

This three day festival is celebrated annually in the month of June. One can have a glimpse of the Ladakhi culture, art forms and traditions at this festival.


How to Get There


By Air: Flights from Delhi to Leh are operated throughout the year, while Srinagar and Jammu flights are operated only during the summer season.

By Road: It takes half an hour from Leh to reach Alchi. Leh is easily accessible from Srinagar (434 km) and Manali (477 km; in Himachal Pradesh) via road.

 

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