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Closer To The Culture - Famous Monasteries In Ladakh

   

Ladakh is one of the highest and remotest regions in the world, famous for the undisturbed Himalayas, picturesque landscape and the best road trips you can ever experience. Apart from all the enthralling adventures, this place has lot more to offer. Dahanu village situated at the south west of Leh is where you can see people with pure Aryan features and also the people here have consciously preserved their culture. This village is also one of lesser-known tourist spots in Ladakh, so you can relish the authentic culture of Ladakh without being distracted by the touristy rush. The culture of Ladakh is as beautiful as the place itself and to explore the revered Buddhist culture, one must take a tour of the tempting monasteries. The monasteries in Ladakh are breathtaking and enchanting structures that still hold the Buddhist heritage alive and fresh. Here are some of the prominent monasteries in Ladakh that have stood timeless for ages and showcase the culture, history, and tradition of the Buddhists.

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1. Hemis Monastery

Closer To The Culture - Famous Monasteries In Ladakh-1 Hemis Monastery, around 45 km towards the southeast of the beautiful city of Leh is the largest as well as the most well-known monastery in Ladakh. The best time to visit this monastery is June-July. During this period, the visitors can also witness the famous Hemis Festival. This colourful day-long festival is called Hemis Tsechu. The monastery is at it's vibrant best during this time. During the course of this festival, the local resident Lamas perform masked dance dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava. This year, Hemis Festival will be celebrated from 23rd to 24th June 2018.

The monastery has beautiful artworks and a statue of Lord Buddha. The intricate architecture of this monastery won't fail to get your eyes glued to it. Moreover, you can also pay homage to the two majestic statues of Lord Buddha and Guru Rimpoche.

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2. Shey Monastery

Closer To The Culture - Famous Monasteries In Ladakh-2 The Monastery is located in the vicinity of the Shey village, which used to be the capital of ancient Ladakh. There is a trekking route to the hillock where the monastery is located. The monastery has a huge idol of Shakyamuni Buddha which is purely made up of copper and gold. Every year, many people come to this monastery in search of eternal peace. The 10 m high gilded copper statue of Lord Buddha will definitely surprise you! This statue is also the second largest statue in Ladakh. Also, there's a flame lighted in front of the statue of Lord Buddha for a year and then replaced with another wax bowl.

3. Diskit Monastery

Closer To The Culture - Famous Monasteries In Ladakh-3 Diskit Gompa is the oldest and largest Buddhist monastery in the Nubra Valley of Ladakh. It is one of the popular attractions while passing through the Hunder sand dunes. The monastery is enveloped by the verdant landscapes and high hill peaks. The monastery has a statue of Cho Rinpoche (Crowned Buddha) in the prayer hall, a huge drum and several images of fierce guardian deities. Many Mongolian and Tibetian texts are preserved in the temple storehouse. The monastery allures the tourists from all over the world with its amazing architecture, serene environment and the huge 32-metre statue of Maitreya Buddha.

4. Thiksey Monastery

Closer To The Culture - Famous Monasteries In Ladakh-4 Located less than 20 km from the Leh town, Thiksey is one of the most splendid and tranquil monasteries of Ladakh, devoted to the Gelugpa Order of Buddhism. It is noted for its resemblance to the Potala Palace in Lhasa. The monastery contains a large collection of ancient relics and sacred artefacts. In the central Ladakh, Thiksey monastery is the largest monastery. It is a twelve storied monastery which also possesses 12 shrines and an assembly hall. The Thiksey monastery is home to as good as 120 monks.

5. Lamayuru Monastery

Closer To The Culture - Famous Monasteries In Ladakh-5 Located around 125 km away from Leh city on the Srinagar-Leh highway, Lamayuru is amongst the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. Founded in the 11th century, it is believed to be the home to more than 400 monks in earlier times. Now, almost in ruins, Lamayuru monastery is home to about 150 monks of Red-Hat sect of Buddhism. The Monastery can be visited on the way to Leh from Srinagar if you are travelling by road. There are approximately 50 monasteries under the charge of Lamayuru monastery. The Lamayuru is also popularly known for its Yurukabgyat festival. The two-day cultural festival is also known as the mask festival. It is a treat to watch the monks wear different masks during the festival. This year, the Yuru Kabgyat Festival will be celebrated from 12th to 13th June 2018.

6. Likir Monastery

Closer To The Culture - Famous Monasteries In Ladakh-6 Picturesquely situated on a little hill in the valley, at a distance of 53 km from Leh. According to Buddhist mythology, this is the first construction by the Tibetan monks. The monastery has a museum, where one can find various Tibetan artefacts. The Likir Monastery preserves a huge number of clay images of Buddhist monks.

7. Spituk Monastery

Closer To The Culture - Famous Monasteries In Ladakh-7 Spituk Monastery is the only three chapel monastery in Ladakh, namely Stok, Sankar and Saboo and consists of ancient memorials, idols, frescoes, statues and religious scriptures. The monastery abodes 100 monks and a giant statue of Kali which is unveiled only during the annual Spituk festival. The monastery has some great collections of age-old ancient masks, sacred clothing and a spectacular image of Mahakal.

8. Stakna Monastery

Closer To The Culture - Famous Monasteries In Ladakh-8 Located on the bank of Indus River and perched on a hill, Stakna monastery offers mesmerizing views of the Indus valley. Locally known as Tiger’s Nose, it is a small and serene monastery founded in 1580. The monastery also homes a sacred statue of Arya Avalokitesvara.

9. Alchi Monastery

Closer To The Culture - Famous Monasteries In Ladakh-9 Alchi is nestled in the valleys of the Indus river and is famous for its gompas. Alchi village is very fertile and adorned with the apricot trees on both sides of the road. Alchi Gompa is one of the oldest and most magnificently built monasteries of Ladakh. It contains numerous images and idols of Lord Buddha. The monastery is embellished with bright colours and there are three images of the Lord made up of clay that grabs the attention of the visitors.

Want to know about the unexplored places in Ladakh? If yes, then click here.
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