Alchi Tourism

Alchi, Ladakh

Famous for its splendid isolation, Alchi is truly a priceless Himalayan heritage. Alchi is a small village situated about 67 km from Leh, on the banks of the river Indus. It is considered to be one of the most important cultural sites throughout the Himalayas. It is famous for one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh known for its murals and frescoes of the 11th century.

Background

This monastery exhibits a lot of Indian influence, being founded by the great translator Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo on his return from India, after having received Buddhist tutelage. It is said that he brought 32 sculptors and wood carvers from Kashmir for the construction of the monastery. The Indian touch is evident in the paintings.

Alchi Monastery

The monastery complex, managed by the monks of Likir Monastery, houses two main temples: Alchi Du-khang and the Sum-tsek, and a few smaller structures including the Temple of Manjushri, Lotsawa Lha-khang, Lha-khang Soma and 3 Ka-ka-ni (entrance) chortens.

Alchi Du-khang is the main temple, and the largest and oldest preserved structure of the complex. This main area is utilized by monks for ceremonies. Along with the huge 'Wheel of Life', it comprises of several murals. The Sum-tsek is the second important temple of the monastery complex, housing three enormous figures of four armed Bodhisattvas.

The Temple of Manjushri is a free standing structure built around the four central image of Manjushri. Besides, Lotsawa Lha-khang is adorned with an image of Buddha in bhumisparshamudra as its central image. Alchi monastery is visited for its earliest murals and beautiful frescoes of deities, which are considered as the finest surviving examples of Buddhist art.

Other Attractions

While on a tour to Alchi, one can also visit the nearby Shey, Thiksey and Hemis monasteries. These ancient Buddhist structures are known for Buddhist images, tangkhas, wall paintings and sculptures.

Alchi is a perfect destination to experience a typical Ladakhi village.

Climate

Summers are quite pleasant and the temperature varies from 12 to 25 degree Celsius, but the winters are harsh as the temperature may drop to -30 degrees even. The best time to visit Alchi is between May and September.

Where To Stay

Alchi has a few option for accommodation. J&K TDC Tourist Bungalow at Saspol is a good place to stay.

How to Reach

By Air: Leh (67 km) is the nearest airport, which is well connected to almost all the major cities of India.

By Rail: The closest railhead lies at Jammu Tawi which is around 680 km away from Alchi.



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