We invite you to explore India - the Land with infinite beauty ! Whether you soar high into Himalayas or peer under the ruins of the Ancient monuments dotting the landscape of India, you will cherish the experience long after your visit ! This India Travel Guide on Alchi Chos-kor is free from any commercial interest! This site is dedicated to promote India - the vast subcontinent, its glorious past, magnificent landscape and its infinite variety.


Pinterest

Alchi Chos-kor


Amidst the barren mountains and in the valley of river Indus lies Alchi, about 65 kms from Leh, believed to have been patronized by rich Buddhist monks, several thousands of years ago. Kalden Sherap and Tshultrin are the Buddhist monks associated with Alchi, although it was founded by Rin-chen-Zang-po.


Location Alchi

Alchi was a fertile plain and agricultural land. The Alchi region received cultural influence from other parts of the world because of its strategic location. Alchi contacted Buddhism, Islam and Hinduism and Alchi's isolation helped retain its distinct culture and tradition. Alchi rests on the main trade route to Central Asia, a route along the Indus via Leh, and connected to Chinese Turkestan.


Traditional Alchi

The monasteries are outstanding examples of the traditional Tibetan architecture. The Buddhist art and architecture in the Himalayan region stand out with their solid square and rectangular structures, flat roofs and elaborate murals. Though dwarfed by the high rise mountains in the vicinity, the Alchi shrines consisting of monastic complexes stand out. The shrines are by and large classified as


  • Lha Khang Soma, the New temple
  • Sumstek, with a triple storied shrine
  • Dukhang, the Assembly hall
  • Lotsava Lhakhang
  • Manjushri Lhakhang, which houses the temple of Manjushri
  • Three Chhortens, stupas

There are remarkable murals in the shrines and stucco images which historians date to a period between 11 and 13 century AD.


Buddhist Monasteries in Alchi

Alchi is typically a small village that is situated on the left bank of the Indus, about 70 km from Leh, on the Leh Srinagar highway.


Alchi choskor is a religious enclave that is situated on the village, in the plain. About a hundred years ago, this Alchi cluster was taken over by Lekir which cared and maintained the enclaves.
Although religious sentiments attract tourists to Alchi, this place draws more attention for its art and architecture.


Alchi enclaves can be divided into three main parts, the Gonpa, a temple for Padmasambhava and another main one for Alchi choskor, which is situated at a close distance but is entirely different in style. Gonpa has a local lama head. Many of the old paintings seem to have been lost but still some good works of art exist. The Padmasambhava temple is dedicated, as the very name indicates to Padmasambhava. Stag-Iha or the tiger god and Sengge Donga, the lion headed goddess, flank his either sides. A mural of Vajradhara, along with other manifestations of Buddha, can be found in the walls behind the statue. The monks from Chemday manage this temple which belongs to Drugpa or Kargyupa order.


Akhi Choskor is a complex found amidst the village that overhangs the Indus. A discerning tourist can glimpse the small temple and houses amidst natural foliage and trees around.


Historic treasures of Alchi

Alchi is a rich treasure trove of some of the historic artifacts that Ladakh proudly proclaims. These temples described below contain some of the finest elements of Buddhist historic arts that are rare in the Buddhist world.


The Dukhang is the Assembly hall that has inscriptions mentioning the name of the founder, Kaldan Shesrab (Tdz), though relatively small and has poor visibility.

The Sum-Tsek has three temples, with front wooden pillars that showcase some exemplary wooden works. Images of Buddha are carved in a triangular framework, which can be seen in ancient monuments in Kashmir. Tdz takes credit as original western Himalayan architecture.

The Sumtsek paintings depict a style that is original, not found elsewhere. The arabesques are awes inspiring. Alchi's Sumtseg paintings are several centuries old and it is interesting to observe paintings like Avalokiteshvara's robe and Tara's entourage which exhibit a strong Moghul influence.

Lhakhang Soma, which belongs to 12-13th century, depicts a painting style that is exemplary and different. This is chorten and no Kashmiri or Persian influence is seen as in Sum Tsek.

Lotsava Lhakhang which dates back to the same age as Lakhang Soma to 12-13th century has a stucco image of Sakyamuni and a smaller one of Rinchen Zangpo; on the right is Avalokiteshvara.

Manjusiri Lhakhang which is adjacent to Lotsava Lhakhang has a fourfold image of Manjusiri.

The Chortens, locally popular as ka-ka-ni are well preserved beautiful original paintings adorn the walls on the two sides.

Alchi choskor is truly one of the wonders of the Buddhist world. The essence of Buddhist Kashmir and Buddhist India is revealed in Alchi choskor.

Historian Tdz notes on dating of Alchi, that 'a 12th century date would not be impossible, and thus we have dated all earlier work noted in the Dukhang, on the walls and alcoves on the ground floor of the Sumtsek and in the entrance-chortens as 11-12th century. The Lotsava and the Manjusiri temples were probably early additions and may be sagely dated to the 12th century. The Lhakhang Soma was added later, as its name the 'new temple' suggests, but its iconography can scarcely suggest a date later than the 13th century. We consider that none of this earlier work has been touched through the centuries'.

Contemporary Alchi

It goes to the credit of choskor that despite several loots and destruction and invasions, the Alchi has survived.

Since last 500 years, there is no religion that is practiced in the Alchi monastery. Instead the surrounding Gompa village offers a friendly atmosphere to the tourists, with its restaurants, tea stalls and souvenir shops. Alchi monastery is now an excursion spot, excellent for visitors visiting Leh, with sufficient spare time. There are guest houses that operate in Alchi for visitors and accommodation can be booked in Leh. It would be good to plan an overnight stay nearby. Tent accommodations are available. And on your return from Leh, just past Saspol, there is this 18th century monastery with its giant golden Buddha rising out of the horizon against the craggy hills and dales - an unforgettable sight indeed!


Reaching Alchi

The nearest airport is located at Leh which is about 70 km from Alchi. Alchi is situated about 541 km from Manali and about 364 km from Srinagar. You can't spot the monastery from the Leh-Srinagar highway but it is located on a plain within the village unlike most other monasteries. Alchi is part of the villages of the Lower Ladakh region.

Alchi Chos-kor
Search through our pages on India

North India Travel North India Travel - Information on North India Travel

Mussoorie Mussoorie - Travel to the Queen of the Hills

Nainital Nainital - Travel to this Idyllic hill station

Jim Corbett National Park Jim Corbett National Park - India's first wildlife reserve

Ladakh Ladakh - Last Shangrila, Little Tibet and Moonscape

Fatehpur Sikri Fatehpur Sikri - City of Victory

Trekking to Valley of Flowers Trekking to Valley of Flowers - Great Himalayan ranges

Nandadevi Nandadevi - Carpet of extensive alpine flowers

Tomb of Sher Shah Suri Tomb of Sher Shah Suri - Indo-Islamic architecture

Naukuchiatal Naukuchiatal - Kumaon Peaks

Almora Almora - Ancient Cultural Influence

Chail Chail - Shivalik peaks

Gwalior Gwalior - Historical city in MP

Spiti Valley Spiti Valley - Nestled in the Himalayas

Palpur Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary Palpur Kuno Wildlife Sanctuary - Asiatic Lions

Kangra Valley Kangra Valley - Himachal Retreat

Auli Ski Resort Auli Ski Resort - Skiing

Hemkund Sahib Gurdwara Hemkund Sahib Gurdwara - Snow Bowl Gurudwara

Agra Fort Agra Fort - Magnificent Citadel

Qutb Minar Qutb Minar - Tallest brick minaret in the world

Humayun's Tomb Humayun's Tomb - Exceptional splendor and gradeur

Heritage Tour of India Heritage Tour of India - Magnificent architectural splendour

Agra Agra - Standing astride the Yamuna.

Shimla Shimla - Reminiscent of British times

Hemis Gompa Hemis Gompa - Grand Monastery in the hills

Alchi Chos-kor Alchi Chos - patronized by rich Buddhist monks

Shimla Train Shimla Train - The Journey will Continue

Himalaya Mountain View Himalaya Mountain View - Majestic mountain range

Ranikhet Travel Ranikhet Travel - Meadow of the Queen

Himalaya Trekking Himalaya Trekking - Imbibe the spirit of Himalayas.

Basilica of Lady of Graces Sardhana Basilica of Lady of Graces Sardhana - Marian Shrine

Pahalgam Kashmir Pahalgam Kashmir - Premier hill station

God in Himalaya Mountains God in Himalaya Mountains - Abode of Shiva and his consort Shakthi

Char Dham Char Dham - Most revered 4 temples of Hindu Pilgrimage in Himalayas

Yamunotri Yamunotri - Yamunotri - dedicated to Goddess Yamuna

Gangotri Gangotri - Holy destination that embodies the origins of the Ganga

Kedarnath Kedarnath - Kedarnath on the Garhwal Range built by Adi Shankaracharya

Badrinath Badrinath - Badrinath dedicated to Vishnu - supreme God of Vaishnavites

Temples in Mathura and Vrindavan Temples in Mathura and Vrindavan - Temples dedicated to Lord Krishna

Temples in Dwarka Temples in Dwarka - legend and lore that surround the temples in Dwarka

Amritsar Golden Temple Amritsar Golden Temple - In the Pool of the Nectar of Immortality

Vaishno Devi Temple Vaishno Devi Temple - Shakti - Source of all Power

Kashi Vishwanath Temple Kashi Vishwanath Temple - Temple in the oldest living city


Alchi Chos