Alchi Monastery is considered as one of the oldest Buddhist learning centers in Northern India. This holy monastery is situated in the bank of Indus River and shares a distance of 70 km from Leh, Jammu and Kashmir. According to various researchers, this ancient monastery was constructed by Guru Rinchen Zangpo between 958 and 1055 AD. The region in lower Ladakh comprises four settlements. Alchi is one of those hamlets and is believed to be the oldest one. Alchi monastery is administrated by the Likir monastery. The preserved monuments inside the monastery describe a unique story. The monuments are ascribed to a Tibetan noble in the 11th century named Kal-dan Shes-rab. The key parts of the monastery are the assembly hall or Dukhang, Manjushri- the temple and chortens.
The temple of Alchi Monastery possesses other two major temples, Lakhang Soma and Lotsabha Lakhang. All these striking architectures are decorated with a stunning carved painting which is considered as one of the oldest remaining in Ladakh. The assembly hall and the main temple of the monastery are constructed following the Kashmiri style. The main temple is a three-storied structure popularly called The Sumtseg. Chortens are also an essential part of the Aichi monastery. The amazing wall paintings in the Alchi monastery reflect the spiritual and artistic details of Hindu kings as well as Buddha kings during the reign of Himachal Pradesh and Kashmir.
If you ask for the major attractions at Alchi monastery then the elaborate artwork along with wood carving and the amazing huge ancient statues of Buddha are the best possible answers. Tourists across the globe explore this place just to enjoy the heavenly beauty and to experience the ancient architecture of the monastery temples. To explore the Manjushri temple one needs to enter through the Dukhang or the Assembly hall of theAlchi monastery. Inside the temple the monks worship ns perform ceremonies. The temple door frame still remains the same and is made of original wood. It reflects the classic architecture of ancient India. Next, you can visit the Sumtseg temple that reflects some of the outstanding features of the Alchi monastery. The interior paintings and the spectacular vintage woodwork was done by skilled Kashmiri artists. Except for this, you can also visit the Manjushri temple and the local villages nearby the Alchi monastery to experience a different lifestyle.
You can also pay a visit to the other nearby monasteries. Some of them are Spituk monastery, shares a distance of 18 km from Leh, Likir monastery- 5 km from Leh, and Phyang monastery that is 17 km,Leh.
To reach Alchi monastery you can board local buses which are quite pocket-friendly or can hire aprivate taxi from the main city of Leh|. Else if you prefer to reach the monastery by air then you are required to board your flight from Delhi to Leh. Leh Airport is the nearest to Ladkah. Make sure that you are traveling between May to September as during the rest of the months the roads remain closed due to snowfall.
If you are planning to visit Alchi monastery then you are advised to visit between May to September. This is the right time to visit this jaw-dropping place. Alchi monastery remains open every day from 8 am to 6 pm and there is no entry fee to enter the monastery. It takes 1 to 2 hours to visit the whole monastery. From November to April the roads to Alchi monastery remains closed due to heavy snowfall. So be wise and start your journey between the months from May to September.