Ladakh - Buddhistic Monasteries
Monasteries of Ladakh
A Buddhist monastery is meant to be the main center for worship, isolated meditation and religion teaching. Monasteries are also one of the major attractions of the tourists visiting the beautiful valley of Ladakh.
People come to Ladakh either to enjoy its scenic beauty or visit its monasteries or both. The entire valley of Ladakh is dotted with monasteries of all kinds, belonging to various orders or schools of Buddhism. Almost all these monasteries are sited at scenic locales, enhancing their magnificence further. Also, they boast of a rich collection of Buddhist relics like thankas, murals, sculptures, scriptures, etc. Typically, the monasteries in Ladakh have been located at isolated areas, away from the hustle bustle of the routine life.
This lends an air of peace and tranquility to them. In this section, we have provided information about almost each and every Buddhist monastery of Leh Ladakh, India.
The Sankar gompa is located a couple of kilometers north of the town center. The gompa belongs to the Gelukpa order and has an impressive impression of the Buddhist deity Avalokiteshwara Padmahari or Chenresig, with 1,000 arms and an equal number of heads. Shanti Stupa The Shanti Stupa was built by a Japanese order and was opened by the Dalai Lama in 1985. From the top, one can view the exotic locales nearby. The stupa is located at a distance of 3 km from the Fort Road. Likir Monastery Located around 52 Kms from Leh, know as Klu-Kkhjil (water spirits) founded in the 11th century AD and was rededicated to another monastic order (the yellow sect) in the 15th century, its earlier gompa was destroyed in fire.
The present gompa dates back to the 18th century. It contains huge clay images of Buddha and various old manuscripts. It also houses an interesting collection of thankas, old religious and domestic costumes and implements etc. . In the 15th century lhawang Lodos Sangphu caused the monastery to flourish. This monastery also belongs to Gaylukpa school.
Spituk Gompa is on the hill top near Indus, around 18 Kms from Leh. The Gompa was founded in 11th century by Od-De The Gompa was named Spituk (exemplary) by Rinchen Zangpo, a translator came to that place and said that exemplary religious community would rise. Initially it belonged to the Kadampa school then during the life time of king Gragspa Bumide made it Gayluk Pa order. The Spituk festival held every year from 17th to 19th days of the 11th month. It houses a collection of ancient masks, antique arms, icons and numerous thankas.
Thiksey Monastery is about 20 kms from Leh, Thiksey is an imposing monastery and one of the finest example of Ladakhi architecture. This Gompa is situated on the top of the hill and forms part of Gelukpa order. Paldan Sherab nephew of Sherb Zangpo, founded Thiksey monastery. The 12 storey monastery complex contains numerous stupas, statues, thankas, wall paintings, swords and a large pillar engraved with the Buddha's teachings,there are sacred shrines and a many precious objects to be seen. The successive reincarnation of the Skyabje Khampo Ringpoche act as incharge of the monastery. Thiksey gustor (festival) held from 17th to 19th day of the 12th month.
For sheer spectacle value no other gompa can match Lamayuru Shey Monastery Situated on a hillock 15 km south of Leh, was once the residence of the royal family & it was constructed by the first king of Ladakh, Lhachen Palgyigon. According to tradition, it was the seat of power of the pre-Tidetan kings. Around 12 Ft. Shakyamuni Buddha's statue made by copper guilt is the largest in the region, built by Deldan Namgyal in 1633 is a funerary memorial to his father, king Singee Namgyal.
Stakana Monastery Built nearly 1580 by great scholar saint chosje Jamyang Palkar during the reign of king Jamyang Namgyal. The Stakna monastery is 45 Km south of Leh, founded on a hill shaped Stakna (Tiger nose). Easily accessible from Leh town. Stok Palace Visible in the distance, at the top of a huge moraine of pebbles swept down from the mountains, the elegant four-storey Stok Palace stands above barley terraces studded with threshing circles and whitewashed farmhouses. Built early in the nineteenth century by the last ruler of independent Ladakh, it has been the official residence of the Ladakhi royal family since they were ousted from Leh and Shey two hundred years ago. A former member of parliament, still lives here during the summer. One of the room is converted into Museum. The fascinating collection comprises some of the family's most precious heirlooms, including antique ritual objects, ceremonial tea paraphernalia, and exquisite sixteenth-century thangkas illuminated with paint made from crushed rubies, emeralds and sapphires. The pieces de resistance, however, are the Gyalmo's peraks. Still worn on important occasions, the ancient headdresses, thought to have originated in Tibet, are encrusted with slabs of flawless turquoise, polished coral, lapis lazuli and nuggets of pure gold. Also of interest are a couple of swords whose blades were allegedly tied in knots as a demonstration of strength by king Tashi Namgyal Phugtal Gompa.
Alchi Gompa On the banks of the Indus is the Alchi Gompa, dating thousand years back. One of its walls features thousands of miniature sized pictures of the Buddha. Three large sized images made of clay and painted brightly are its focal attraction. No longer an active religious center, it is looked after by monks from the likir monastery.
Originating in the Tibetan plateau of western China in the vicinity of Lake Mansarovar in Tibet Autonomous Region, the river runs a course through the Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir and then enters Pakistan via the Northern Areas (Gilgit-Baltistan), flowing through the North in a southerly direction along the entire length of Pakistan, to merge into the Arabian Sea near the port city of Karachi in Sindh. The total length of the river is 3,180 kilometers (1,976 miles) and it is Pakistan's longest river.