Weather :

Timings : 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Closed for one hour from 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM

Entry Fee : Indian Nationals: INR 25
Foreign Nationals: INR 50

Built By : Guru Rinchen Zangpo

Established In : Between 958 and 1055

Tips : Photography is strictly prohibited inside the monastery. 
Shoes are not allowed inside the building

Alchi Monastery, Leh Ladakh Overview

Located in the Alchi Village of Ladakh, Alchi Monastery is a complex of Buddist temples of which Alchi Monastery is the oldest and most famous. Cemented on a flat ground unlike other monasteries in Ladakh, the traditional architecture of the monastery is a monastic complex which has 3 separate temples, known as Dukhang, Sumstek and the Temple of Manjushri.

Apart from the historical and cultural factors, Alchi Monastery is also a place for adventure lovers. Rafting is a popular choice among people who visit this monastery due to its location being close to the Zaskar River, which is an added advantage for the rafters. The foundation of the monastery was laid down in the 10th century by Rinchen Zangpo, an eminent Tibetan scholar.

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Dukhang

The first temple or structure in Alchi Monastery is Dukhang, which is the assembly hall of the monastery. Also known as the Vairocana Temple, this is the place where monks worship and perform their ceremonies and the is the most preserved part of the monastery. Inside the assembly hall, one can observe the walls covered with beautiful paintings of Lord Buddha and is also host to many gods and goddesses and that inexplicably conveys the cultural artefacts.

Inside Alchi Monastery
Inside Alchi Monastery
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Tips

1. Photography is strictly prohibited inside the monastery. The monks may allow photography from outside the monastery. It is necessary to get the requisite permission from them before attempting this. If a person gets permission to take photographs of the idols, then it is highly advised to switch off the flash before taking the picture
2. Shoes are not allowed inside the building. Therefore, it is advised to keep shoes outside the monastery
3. Maintain silence inside the building to avoid disturbing the other people

Sumstek

Far right from Dukhang, a three-storeyed building is distinguished by the carved wooden porch. It is the second structure, Sumstek which is popular for its four-armed Bodhisattva Statue that occupies two floors of the temple. It is an exterior made of loam and stone that showcases the luxurious woodwork and clay images of the interiors of the structure. On the ground floor, there is a Maitreya Buddha along with the figures of the incarnations of Buddha, Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri.

Majunshri

Further away to the courtyard, is the third structure, the Temple of Manjushri, which is also known as Jampe Khakang. It is famous for having a sculpture and a painting of Rinchen Zangpo. The walls of the temple are exotically painted. These buildings are dated from approximately from the mid 12th to early 13th century and are built closely together at a single axis and all the structures surrounding them in single proximity. In addition to that, lush trees and flowers along the route of the building make it completely enthralling to visit Alchi Monastery.

Alchi Monastery Manjushri Temple
The Manjushri Temple at Alchi Monastery
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How to reach Alchi Monastery

  • Air: The nearest airport is in Leh at a distance of 70km. From Leh it is best to travel by Jeep or bus.

  • Rail: Railways is not the best way to travel in and around Ladakh. The largest station is at Jammu quite far away.

  • Road: There are buses every three hours a day from Leh to Alchi. A one way trip takes 3 hours, so most people prefer to book a car and travel to the places directly so they can ravel to the rest of the places around Alchi as well. Most travel agencies in Leh have a booklet with them that describes the fixed prices that personal cars charge to travel to individual places as well as package destinations.

History and Significance of Alchi Monastery

The origin of Alchi Monastery dates back to the 10th century in the reign of Rinchen Zangpo(958-1055), an esteemed scholar and translator. During the 10th century, the Tibetan King Yeshe Of Guge took an initiative to allocate 21 scholars in the Trans-Himalayan region in order to spread Buddhism. However, due to the harsh climatic and topographic condition, only two scholars managed to survive, one of them was Rinchen Zangpo. He aimed at establishing the culture of Buddhism in the Ladakh region and in other parts of India including Himachal Pradesh and Sikkim.

Only a few monasteries survived, but the Alchi Monastery, which was also one of the monasteries established among the 108 monasteries, prides in standing out from the rest of the monasteries built so far and has become one of the most popular monasteries in Ladakh.

Alchi Monastery
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Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Alchi Monastery is during the Buddhist festivals like Chotrul Duchen, Galdan Namchot, Losar (The Tibetan New Year), Monlam and Sho Dun as a lot of celebrations take place including cultural shows, music and dance. These festivals take place between May and September when the weather is good. During the months of November-April, the roads to Alchi Monastery remains closed due to heavy snowfall.

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Q. we are planning to travel from srinagar to leh. Is it ok to make halt at alchi and proceed to leh next day?

Holidify 11 months ago
It would be a great idea to make a halt in Alchi after a whole day of travelling through the rough roads from Srinagar to Leh. Leh is just 2 hours away from Alchi and you can leave to Leh all charged up.
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