Ladakh, part of the Kashmir stands tall at a height of 9,800 feet and surrounded by the Himalayas and Karakoram Range, houses incredible monasteries within. Located on hillocks or steep mountain tops where fresh air blows into the region, adding to its beauty. Often you can spot monks in maroon robes, silently climbing their ways to the monasteries.
Masked Dances at Swastika Monastery
Also known as Lamayuru/Yung Drung Monastery, it has many shrines and a good collection of thangkas & wall paintings. It houses around 150 monks following the Red Hat sect of Buddhism!
Alchi gompa, Ladakh
Built by 32 Kashmiri sculptors and woodcarvers, the Alchi Gompa is surrounded by lofty mountains forcing you to click from each and every angle.
The most important monastery in Ladakh, the seat of Tiksey Rinpoche, the main leader of the Gelug School in Ladakh is a must visit. It is 3,600 metres above sea level having Lord Buddha’s 15 metre tall statue which was built in 1980, is very beautiful. The statue is built of clay and it took four years to complete.
Spituk or the Three-Chapel Monastery
Meaning exemplary, the Spituk dates back to the 11th century. Besides housing the image of Lord Buddha, is a sacred image of Amitayus just about a finger high in length. This monastery also boasts of a large collection of tankhas, ancient masks and antique arms. Lauded by many is the huge image of Mahakaal!
Buddha Shalyamuni or Shey Gompa
It boasts of largest metallic (copper sheets glided with gold) statue of the seated Buddha, being the second largest in the region. The image also contains sacrificial offerings such as grain, jewels, holy signs and mantras. Both the sidewalls display the 16 Arhats (Worthy Ones who have achieved Nirvana), eight being on each side.
A large lamp filled with wax and a central flame that symbolizes divinity and purity, is placed in front of the Buddha statue. This flame is replaced every year.
Future Buddha at Mulbek Monastery
Important spot because it marks the end of Buddhist community, as the tourist crosses over the Muslim dominated areas beyond Kargil. Carved in a rock, the eight metre Chamba statue, depicting the future Buddha, dates back to 700 AD.
Hemis: The Richest & Largest Monastery
In season, tourists can stay here and participate in the Hemis Spiritual Retreat run by the monks. The structure is two-storied and the river Jhelum flows in the backyard.
Among other exhibits, the Kalachakra and the Lord of Four Quarters and the idol of Sakyamuni Buddha attracts a lot of tourists.
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