About the Alchi Monastery
It is needless to say that there are many monasteries across Ladakh. Even the smallest of villages have multiple gompas and one of the best amongst them is the Alchi Monastery. It is also popular because of its ancient existence. Alchi Monastery is known to be the oldest monastery in Ladakh. It is basically a monastic complex that is located in Alchi village.
Alchi Monastery is undoubtedly one of the best attractions to visit in Ladakh and what makes it so good is the surroundings. All kinds of travellers find their place in Alchi Monastery. So if this introduction made you curious even a bit then we have a few important things for you to note. Understanding the monastery well on your visit will become easier if you make a note of these points. Also, they will help you in understanding whether Alchi Monastery is your kind of a place or not.
The monastery is divided into 4 complexes with settlements and monuments that date back a long time. All of these monuments were constructed at different times and that can be seen in the paintings and collection of relics and other items. Alchi also houses some of the oldest artworks, majorly paintings in all of Ladakh.
The Alchi group of monuments constitutes three different villages, one of them is Alchi itself and the others are Sumda Chun and Mangyu. These villages have different styled monuments and they flaunt a unique style of craftsmanship.
History of Alchi Monastery
If you were to believe the manuscripts and items that are housed in the monastery then it states that Alchi was created by Rinchen Zangpo who was a popular translator-scholar. The monastery and most of the construction of other parts were also done in the 10th century.
But on the contrary, there are some preserved inscriptions that speak of something else. It states that the creation of the Alchi monastery was done in the 11th century by Kal-dan Shes-Rab who was a Tibetan noble.
The architecture of Alchi Monastery
As already spoken of, Alchi Monastery’s architecture resembles the Tibetan Style but the monastery complexes have different architecture. There are three different and major shrines in the monastery. The Dukhang is also the assembly hall, Temple of Manjushri, and the Sumtsek. Apart from this, there are Chortens in the complex too.
While visiting the monastery one can enjoy a great collection of antiques, wall paintings, and a lot of other similar items. Here you will get a mix of Kashmiri Style and Buddhist Style paintings.
There is also a majestic statue of Buddha and multiple wood carvings. You can also witness the baroque-style artwork in Alchi Monastery.
Highlights of Alchi Monastery
This historic monument has a lot of significance and that’s what intrigues people to visit here in the first place. Needless to say that Alchi Monastery too has a lot of amazing highlights for the visitors. We have a list of such things for you. Already mentioned above, here are the highlights of Alchi Monastery:
- Wall Paintings
- Sumtsek (Alchi Monastery Complex)
- Manjushri Temple
Entry Fee of Alchi Monastery
There is a very small fee that the monist tree asks from the visitors. Not just Indians but even the internationals also have to pay for it. While Indian visitors have to pay 25 INR, international travelers have to pay 50 INR as the entry fee to the monastery. This small fee is used in renovating the parts that temper over time. The money is also utilized in taking care of the monks as well as the ministry. It also helps in safeguarding the monument from the beating of time.
Timings of visiting Alchi Monastery
The monastery is one of the most visited and highly important for locals and travelers. The monastery is open all the days of the week and year. If you want to visit the entire complex or even the monastery alone, you will have to either be here between 10 am to 1 pm or 2 pm to 6 pm.
Make a note of the timing because that’s an important point for you and your entire itinerary. If you visit here between 1 PM and 2 PM you won’t be able to enter because that’s the resting and meditation time for the monks. Also, this will help you in making a better plan/ itinerary for your trip, isn’t it?
Best time to visit Alchi Monastery
Actually, if we were to describe the answer to this question in a single line, we would obviously say that the best time to visit the monastery is between the summer months. Not only will you be able to visit the monastery with at most comfort, but you can also enjoy the ride and trek around this place.
The best time to visit Alchi Monastery is between June and October as the temperature remains enjoyable throughout the day and night. This is the time when most people plan on visiting Ladakh. You will find a lot of other visitors too.
But don’t worry, the monastery remains open throughout the year and if you wish to visit Ladakh in the shoulder season or off-season you can still visit this place.
How to reach Alchi Monastery
It is not difficult to reach this attraction of Ladakh because it is one of the most popular ones in the union territory. Even if you are not travelling with your vehicle, you can either hire or take a bus. Alchi monastery is approximately 70 km from Leh and it can be reached by road. You can hire a cab or taxi or even commute by bus.
Tips to keep in mind while visiting Alchi Monastery
Whenever you are travelling to a destination or visiting an attraction there are a few things that one should keep in mind. And when it is a monastery that you are visiting then you must make a few notes before heading.
- Photography is prohibited strictly inside the monastery
- Do respect all the rules and regulations of the monastery
- Shoes are also not allowed in the monastery
- Make sure you are not under the influence of any intoxicating item while visiting the monastery.