An enchanting village in the Himalayan region of Ladakh, Alchi sits pretty at an elevation of 3,500m above sea level. Located on the banks of Indus river, Alchi is best known for its gompas or monasteries. The most famous being Alchi Monastery, roughly 70km from Leh. It’s one of the most unmissable attractions because the 12th-century murals and paintings here are one-of-a-kind. Surrounded by apricot trees, the beauty and peace this place offers is unparalleled.
The monastery complex is divided into three major shrines: Dukhang (Assembly hall), Sumtsek and the Temple of Manjushri, all dating from between the 12th to 13th centuries. Additionally, Chortens too form an important part of the complex as do two other temples – the Translator’s Temple called the ‘Lotsabha Lakhang’ and another one called the ‘Lakhang Soma.’ This collection of shrines in Alchi Monastery has been described as exceptional jewels of various colours and forms.
The artistic and spiritual details of both the Buddhist and Hindu kings of that time are reflected in the wall paintings in the monastery complex are undoubtedly some of the oldest surviving paintings in Ladakh. The complex also has huge statues of Buddha and Baroque style lavish wood carvings and art-work, that lend it an old-world charm. The beauty of this small monastery is actually an eclectic mix of the Tibetan and Kashmiri.
If you’re planning a trip to Ladakh, do it during the Hemis Festival, a three-day festival that happens in June every year. The pomp and gaiety in the air during that time will help you dive into an immersive experience of Ladakhi culture, various traditions as well as art forms from the alluring festival.
Leh is the nearest airport from Alchi, which can be reached either by bus or taxi. Leh Airport is well-connected to cities like Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu, and Srinagar through regular flights.