Alchi Monastery also known by the name of Alchi Choskor is the main centre of attraction in the Alchi village. Alchi Monastery is located 70 km from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir in north India on the bank of Indus River. Alchi is regarded as one of the most important and the oldest Buddhist learning center in Ladakh and also as the monastic jewels of Ladakh. The Alchi monastery dates back to nearly one thousand years and so the effect of the Tibetan influence can be seen in the local culture. The credit for the construction of the monastery goes to the great translator Rinchen Zangpo (958-1055), the oldest monuments preserved here date back to the middle of the 12th century. The significance of the monastery also lies in the fact that it is the only one that has been built on a flat ground.
It has three main structures known as Dukhang, Sumtsek and the temple of Manjushri. Dukhang, the assembly hall, is the largest and the oldest preserved part of the monastery. Walls of the assembly hall are full of ancient paintings that depict different forms of Buddha and goddesses. Sumtsek, the three-story temple is popular for its four armed big Bodhisattva statue which occupies two floor of the temple. On the ground floor there is a Maitreya Buddha along with figure of white Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri. Temple of Manjushri is also known as Jampe Lhakhang. Along with images of Manjushri, the temple has sculpture and a painting of Rinchen Tsangpo. Apart from these, other smaller structures of the monastery complex include Lotsawa Lha-khang, Lha-khang Soma and 3 Ka-ka-ni (entrance) chortens.
No longer an active religious center, it is managed by monks from the Likir monastery. Since last 500 years, the religion is not practiced in the Alchi monastery. Over a period of time the Yellow hat sect (Gelugpa) shifted the religious activities to another place which is 30 kms away, known as Likir.
No documents testifying to Alchi’s history exist.The only thing that tells the history is the ancient monuments and paintings of the monastery. Archaeological Survey of India is helping preserve the monastery. For tourists visiting the monastery complex, it is essential to carry a flashlight since there is no electricty inside. Also, photography is prohibited inside the monastery. Alchi is accessible and visited by tourists during May – October period. The surrounding of the Gompa offers a very friendly atmosphere for the visitors as there are small restaurants, tea stalls and as well as souvenir shops welcoming the tourists.
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- AddressAlchi Monastery , Leh
- CategoryTourist Places
- By JKinside
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