When the earth crust started folding and buckling as the Indian subcontinent, Ladakh ' the land of passes' careened itself betwixt the two most mightiest ranges; great Himalayas and Karakoram. It is on these altitudes that the oxymorons have their say and Buddha comes alive. Barren and beautiful, cold but quaint, Ladakh is located at the height of 2, 750 meters from where it fetches a great deal of tourists. Sashed with pointed white peaks all where, the desert mountain wears mist around the places and Ladakh is bedizen with monasteries all over while the precarious passes, where you can see the adventure buffs climbing those rocks. But before stepping your foot forward to the Ladakh, just replace your pair of old shoes with a scarp boots and do remember that the eligibility criteria is an escapade vein. Hit Ladakh, if you have one. Trek up to the date Buddhist oracles, one by one, across the mountains and rocks.
Captured on 70 mm screen on the Indian celluloid, the Gompas or the monasteries have mysterious destination honest-to-goodness. Racked against the backdrop of the hills, the Gompas are a collection of Buddhist literature teaching and of course history too.
Born in 1630, this is the largest monastery with a huge collection of frescoes and Thangka paintings. Come June and Hemis is blown up Tse Chu festivals of colourful masked dances.The festival commemorates the anniversary of Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism and this is the time when you can shop for local handicrafts.
Shanti Stupa stands tall celebrating 2500 years of Buddhism and to promote World Peace. Constructed by a Japanese Buddhist organization 'Shanti Stupa' is all about white dome structure. An additional sight is that of sunset and sunrise here.
The most impressive sight of Sankar Gompa is the colossal image of Avalokiteshvara (The Buddhist deity of compassion) portrayed with thousand heads and hands. Owned by Gelukpa monks it is a 2 kms distance from city center.
Namgyal Tsemo Gompa
The 1430 reminiscent, the Namgyal Tsemo Gompa is the entrepot of Buddhist art and manuscripts and an image of Buddha. The three storey high buildings offers you a breathtaking view of Leh.
Plumed with an additional name Yung Drung or Swastika monastery is prerequisite visit on a tour to Ladakh. The monastery is a warehouse of Thangka paintings and host annual festival of Lamayuru Monastery is held every summer on the 28th and 29th days, of the 2nd month of the Tibetan Buddhist calendar.
A palace turned Gompa, Shey Monastery has had a record of serving Ladakhi Kings with its summer shade. The USP of Shey is its 12 meter gold plated statue of Buddha. The Shey Gompa celebrates its annual festival on the 30th day of the 1st month of the Tibetan Buddhist calendar.
The only Gompa that is located on the flat terrain in Ladakh is Alchi Gompa. The founding father of Alchi Gompa was Ringchen Zangpo, who wa s also a great translator. First of its kind the Alchi Gompa exhibits influences in its architecture and design. Buddha images and statues can be seen almost alive at the Alchi Gompa.
The center of decorousness here are the paintings, robes and artifacts that lie silently at Likir Monastery .House of Gyalukpa sect, it is an eighteenth century edifice that celebrated it festival from the 17th to 19th of the 12th month of the Tibetan Buddhist calendar.
Renowned for its Buddhist artifacts and Spituk festivals, Spituk Monastery was an anticipated endeavour, by Rinchen Zangpo, to disseminate Buddhism. Much can be fathomed by the name Spituk which means exemplary. The Monastery perches on thew hill top overlooking the Indus river.
Once gain the Thiksey Monastery is home to the monks of the Gelukpa order and is 12 storeys high. Displayed here is pillar encrypted with Buddhist etchings a 15 m high seated Maitreya Buddha in the main prayer hall, and a vast collection of Buddhist art.
In the Dictionary of Buddhism
- Gomspas: A Gompa is a spiritual community where monks or nuns live and practice their religion.
- Chortens and Stupas : Edifices built in memory of a Buddhist monk or religious teacher.
- Thangka : Thangkas are Buddhist religious paintings that depict episodes from the life of Buddha
- Mandala : A Mandala is a symbolic representation of the Universe according to Buddhist iconography.