Sacred monasteries of Ladakh
Buddhism is an ancient Indian religion that is based on the teachings of the great spiritual master Buddha who achieved enlightenment after he sat under a tree meditating for many days and months.
These teachings are taught to thousands of monks all over in India and across the globe. Ladakh has some of the most beautiful and ancient monasteries. There are some fantastic retreat centres in Ladakh that offer monastic pilgrimage tours in Ladakh and spiritual travel packages in the Himalayas.
Alchi Choskor Monastery, Leh
Buddhism was founded by Gautama Buddha approximately 2500 year, and his main message was compassion, to look at ourselves and the world with compassion. All Buddhists around the world revere Buddha’s four noble truths of suffering and liberation.
Gautama Buddha was born in India in a king’s family. He was the son of the king and had all the pleasures of life. Yet, he was suffering. There was an uneasiness and unrest in his body, mind and soul, and he had to find out why.
Even though Gautama Buddha had everything and all pleasures of life, he did not have that one thing his soul so deeply yearned for. He did not have peace. His questions about truth led him to leave his father’s palace and embark on his true spiritual journey.
As Buddha embarked on his journey seeking for truth and peace, he met many masters and teachers who taught him many things including spiritual techniques of meditation. Buddha grew spiritually and developed many mystical powers.
Even though he developed many spiritual powers, he still felt as though he is far away from the truth and real, lasting peace. Buddha realised that these spiritual powers mean nothing and just another game of his ego.
After thanking his masters for teaching him for so many years, Buddha left the masters guidance and went forward on his spiritual journey seeking for truth, enlightenment and lasting peace.
Buddha realised that no one could genuinely help him find what he is looking for but himself. He realised that what he is looking for, only he can find, not anywhere outside of him but within himself.
Trail to Phuktal Monastery, Zanskar
And so, Buddha sat under a fig tree, known as the Bodhi tree for seven weeks. He did not move to eat or do anything else for seven weeks. He was focused in his search for truth, and so he sat with his eyes closed, searching within his deepest depths, within himself for the truth.
After the 7th week, Buddha opened his eyes, and he had found what he was looking for. He found it within himself, by going within the deeper recesses of his body, mind and soul. He found the one eternal truth that he was looking for.
He found the key to every last peace and bliss. Since then, hundreds of people came to Buddha to learn from his. They all wanted to know the secrets of truth and lasting peace, and so this is how Buddhism was formed.
Today Buddha does not live, but his teachings and his compassion live on deeply through his teachings. There are so many beautiful monasteries in Ladakh where Buddhists monk reside and dedicate their whole lives to learn the teachings of Buddha and live life the Buddha way. These are ancient monasteries, some of them are more than 2000 years old.
Here is a list of six most beautiful and sacred monasteries in Ladakh
MATHO MONASTERY, LEH
Located 26 kilometres from the magical city of Leh is the 500-year-old Matho Monastery. This ancient monastery was founded in 1410 by Lama Dugpa Dorje under the Sakya Monastic Establishment.
Matho Nagrang festival at Matho Monastery, Leh
This beautiful monastery is small and less visited, so it is perfect for meditation and some peaceful time. Here in this monastery, old spiritual documents that are hundreds of years old are preserved with respect.
You will also find old artefacts of kings and old relics from ancient times. This magical monastery also has some real ancient sculptures and paintings that have been restored after enduring many difficulties.
LAMAYURU MONASTERY, SHAM VALLEY
Lamayuru monastery, also known as the Eternal monastery located on the Srinagar-Leh Highway. It is the oldest monastery and one of the largest monasteries In Ladakh where approximately 150 monks reside.
View from Lamayuru Monastery, Leh
In the second and fifth month of the Tibetan calendar, masked dance festivals are hosted at this grand monastery where monks from the surrounding villages gather to pray and dance.
ALCHI MONASTERY, SHAM VALLEY
Located approximately 70 kilometres to the west of Leh, on the banks of the River Indus, is one of the oldest monasteries of Ladakh, the Alchi Monastery.
The monastery has artful wood carvings, large Buddhist style models of Buddha, old wall paintings of the Buddha and his invaluable teachings. This monastery has a beautiful collection of paintings and a valuable collection of murals.
Being one of the oldest monasteries of Ladakh which is now a World Heritage Site, Alchi Monastery is a must-visit and a part of our monastic pilgrimage tour in Ladakh.
DISKIT MONASTERY, NUBRA VALLEY
One of the most beautiful and oldest monasteries in Nubra Valley, Diskit Monastery is located on a height which gives you a 360-degree view of the whole valley to soothe your eyes and soul.
100 Foot Maitreya, the future Buddha near Diskit Monastery, Nubra Valley
This ancient monastery in Ladakh has a 32-meter-tall statue of the Maitreya Buddha which is a sight to behind and a beautiful art creation of the people of Nubra Valley. The monastery also has historical documents and artefacts that are preserved with reverence and respect. Visiting Diskit Monastery is something you do not want to miss and is a part of our Spiritual tours in Ladakh.
Phuktal Monastery located in the otherworldly Zanskar Valley is the only monastery in Zanskar Valley that can be reached by foot. You have to trek to this ageless gem that we call the Phuktal Monastery.
About 50 monks reside here, out of which 39 are young monks from the age of 5-20 learning the teachings of Buddhism and living the Buddhist life. This is a gorgeous monastery in a peaceful place that echoes the sound of silence and connection.
KARSHA MONASTERY, ZANSKAR VALLEY
Located in the Zanskar Valley, Karsha Monastery was founded by Phagspa Shesrab under the Yellow Hat Order. The beautiful river called the Doda flows very close to the monastery from the Drang Drunk Glacier.This ancient monastery has hundreds of books and old scriptures and the Lamas who stay at in this wonderful monastery are always willing to guide you and show you around the monastery.
Little monks at Karsha Monastery, Zanskar
Don’t miss the chance to sit and have a heart to heart conversation with the Monks who stay here.
The ancient monasteries of Ladakh reveal the path to lasting peace and self-discovery. A land where Buddhism thrives and every spec buzzes with loving-kindness and compassion.
There is a variety of spiritual tour packages in Ladakh that offer a unique experience of the monastic life in the Himalayas to explore the cosmos within.