The Stunning Monasteries of Ladakh

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I try to finish all my posts from a particular trip before I head on to another one. But try as I might, one or two posts manage to slip through, like the Monasteries of Ladakh! Every village in Ladakh and Spiti have their own monastery and more than religion it is their location that attracts me.

I visited Ladakh in January 2016 and boy it was cold. While we were roaming around, the temperature usually was in the minus. I visited Spituk, Lamayuru, Alchi, Thiksey and Chemdey Monasteries. I take you through them in that order!

The Spituk Monastery

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The Spituk Monastery near Leh

The Spituk Monastery is about 8 Kilometers away from Leh. It is said to be built in 11 century CE. I explored a bit of the monastery but I was lucky to see the winter festival called Spituk Gustor. If you ever head to Ladakh in Januray do make sure that you do not miss out on the festival.

The Lamayuru Monastery

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The Lamayuru Monastery, Ladakh

The distance between Leh and Lamayuru is about 125 kilometers, it took us about 4 hours to reach there because we would stop at so many places on the way to click pictures! The day was overcast though. On the way we approached a geographical formation called the ‘moonscapes.’  It is a must stop.

Lamayuru Monastery is also from the 11th century, it was founded by Mahasiddhacharya Naropa. In January we were the only visitors to the monastery!

The Alchi Monastery

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The Alchi Monastery, Ladakh

Alchi Monastery is unlike anything I have seen before. The only comparison that comes to mind is Tabo in Spiti. Both have wall to wall paintings within the monasteries. Both are a complex of temples rather than one large building. Alchi is said to be build either in 10th or 11th century.

We visited Lamayuru and Alchi on the same day. We had lunch at Alchi before visiting the monastery. It was a very cold day. The caretaker opened the monastery only for us, imagine that! Photography is prohibited inside the Alchi Monastery (Tabo too) because it damages the old paintings.

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The Paintings at Alchi Monastery, Ladakh

Before you think I clicked the picture inside, this is an outdoor gate at the Alchi Monastery. It is painted in the same style as the walls inside the monastery. This is one place where you are allowed to click a picture of the paintings.

Thiksey Monastery

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The Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh

Thiksey is about 11.00 km away from Leh. The monastery was built in 1430. It is a grand place.

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The Morning Prayers at Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh

We attended the morning prayers at the Thiksey Monastery. In the monasteries anyone is welcome for the prayers. It is also not considered rude if you get up before the entire ceremony is over!

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Maitreya Buddha Statue at Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh

The Maitreya Buddha Statue is one of the most recognized pictures from the monasteries of Ladakh. It is grand, almost two stories tall and utterly mesmerizing.

Chemdey or Chemrey Monastery

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The Chemdey Monastery, Ladakh

The Chemdey (also written as Chemrey Monastery) was the last monastery I visited. It is not far from Thiksey and I visited both on the same morning.

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Inside Chemdey Monastery, Ladakh

I loved the monasteries in Ladakh for their stunning locations too. They are often perched up on the highest slopes and the view around them is mesmerizing.

There is something so awe inspiring about the monasteries of Ladakh. I wonder how were they built in that ancient a time. How did they manage to survive for so long? But what I like most is their location, always majestic, always dramatic, always stunning!

PS. My trip to Ladakh was sponsored by The Grand Dragon Ladakh

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60 thoughts on “The Stunning Monasteries of Ladakh”

    1. Yes I agree all of them look grand. The hill monasteries do share similar features, more so the mountain 😀

  1. Really enjoyed seeing the photos of the monasteries. Apart from the stunning landscape of which I have seen many photos, the monasteries are another reason to plan a trip to Ladakh. And I haven’t seen many photos of those. I’m sure there are plenty, I just haven’t seen them so was happy that you posted these.

  2. There is something so calming and beautiful about Monasteries. I have visited the ones in south and totally love them. Would love to visit these too.

  3. Monasteries always have that relaxing and calming effect as per my experience.
    Alchi Monastery is indeed quite different from the other monasteries which I have seen till date, esp the wall to wall paintings.
    Wonderful pictures Mridula!

  4. what should be the comment ?? itni shandaar photos dekhkar koi kya kah sakta hai ? Laddakh bahut hi khoobsurat jagah hai !!

  5. Mind blowing pictures! I was the only Indian tourist at the Spituk Gustor in 2015! Your photograph reminded me of that. Chemrey monastery is one of my favourites too for its stunning location!

    Travelshoebum.com

  6. Beautiful post Mridula! I have been to Thiksey and remember how awed I was looking up at it. Thank you for showing us so many of the others. Love how you have presented this post.

  7. I visited all these places in 2008. Ladakh is one of my favorite destinations. I hope I’ll get another chance to revisit this magical land.

  8. The Maitreya buddha statue is mesmerising. It has a very calming influence. The moonscapes in lamayuru is an awesome sight. I had been there a long time ago. Wanting to go back but something or the other comes up.

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Mridula Dwivedi

I started my India travel blog, Travel Tales from India in 2005. In 2016 I realized Travel Tales from India and Abroad better reflected my writings. I love to walk and ride in metros around the world. I have not been everywhere, I am not even close, but it is on my list. I also quit my job as a professor in 2015, it was a happening year! I did a Ph.D. from IIT Kanpur ages ago!

If you wish to collaborate with me, please check out my media kit. You can write to me at mridulablog@gmail.com

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