Alchi, Chemrey & Hemis Gompa : , Travelogue by Manish



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Alchi, Chemrey & Hemis Gompa

Alchi, Chemrey & Hemis Gompa

A write-up of my trip from to via Ladakh

Rank 7 /10 | 8360 Views

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Alchi Monastery

Location                     : Approx 67 Km on west side of  Leh

Founded By              : Rinchen Znagpo

Founded in               : 1000 AD

How to reach there : Taxi/Bus

Alchi Monastery  is located on bank of river Indus, placed at  67 KM away from Leh on west side.


Alchi Gompa dates back to the year 1000 AD and was built by the Translator, Rinchen Zangpo. He even made a reference about the monastery in his biographies. It is written that he brought thirty-two sculptors and wood carvers from Kashmir, for the construction of the Alchi Monastery of Leh Ladakh. The monastery is sited at a distance of around 67 km to the west of Leh. Anyone can see an Indian touch in this monastery, especially in the way its paintings have been painted. One of its walls features thousands of miniature sized pictures of Buddha


Three sacred temples, with the main one being that of Rinchen Lhakhang at Lotsa Lhakhang, make up a major part of the Alchi Gompa. However, there are other temples also, namely Jamyang Lhakhang, Sumtsag Lhakhang and more.


There are a number of images inside the monastery. However, the main one is that of Vairocana. The other images include the ones of the five Buddha Families, along with their attendant deities. Monks from Liker monastery take care of this Gompa, as it is no longer an active religious center.

This is the only monastery out of 34 in Ladakh, which is not located on hilltop.

Chemrey Gompa

Location                     : Approx 40 Km, East of Leh

Belongs To                :  Drugpa

Founded by              :  Lama Tagsang Raschen

Founded in               : 17th AD

How to Reach           : Taxi/Bus



Chemrey Monastery of Leh Ladakh was initially built to serve as a memorial to King Sengge Namgyal. Chemrey Gompa of Ladakh was founded by Lama Tagsang Raschen in  the 17th century. Situated at  approximately 40 km to the east of the of Leh, This monastery belongs to the Drugpa Order. Infact, Approx 30 Monks are residence of the diminishing Drugpa community, and their young apprentices. There are a number of shrines situated inside the monastery.

Major attractions of the Chemrey Gompa is the one-story high image of Padmasambhava. Other than that, the monastery also boasts of a precious collection of scriptures, having title pages in silver and the text in gold letters. The successive renascencesof Lama Tagsang Raschen have being serving as the incumbents of the Chemrey Gompa of Ladakh, since quite a long time.

The monastery also the venue for the festival of sacred dances. The festival takes place, on an annual basis, on the 28th and 29th day of the 9th month of the Tibetan calendar. The dances, at this annual festival, are performed in association with the festival of an initiatory ritual.


Hemis Monastery

Location                     : 47 Km from Leh

Belongs To                :  Drugpa

Founded in               : 1630 AD

Highlight                    : Biggest and wealthiest gompa in Ladakh

Festival                      : Hemis Festival, Scared Mask Dance Festival.



Hemis Gompa  holds the distinction of being the biggest as well as the wealthiest monastery of Ladakh. It was built  in 1630 and was founded by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso. Hemis Monastery is positioned inside a gorge, at a distance of approximately 47 km from Leh. Belonging to the Dugpa Order, it stands on the western bank of the Indus River. The monastery also boasts of a very very rich collection of ancient tokens.

The array of items kept inside the monastery consist of a copper-gilt statue of the Lord Buddha, various gold and silver stupas, sacred thankas and several other exquisite objects. Situated slightly higher than the Hemis Gompa of Leh Ladakh, is a sacred hermitage, founded by Gyalwa Kotsang. The meditation cave of Gyalwa, along with his footprints and handprints on the rock and sacred shrines, still bring back his memories to life.

The Hemis Monastery also serves as the venue of an famous annual festival call as the Hemis Festival. This festival is celebrated as a commemoration of the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhav. On the day of the Hemis Festival, the thangka of the monastery is displayed, with a gap of twelve years between successive displays. The Thanka is the sacred appliqué-work tapestry wrought with pearls, which depicts Guru Padmasambhava.

And not to be forgotten is a sacred mask dance that is performed at the monastery every year. The dance takes place on 9th and 10th day of the fifth month of the Tibetan calendar.


And More to come .. keep eye on this ......

Hope you enjoyed reading my travelogue.

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This Travelogue 'Alchi, Chemrey & Hemis Gompa' was posted by Manish on Tuesday, March 11, 2008.


Manish lives in Vadodara(Gujarat) and is interested in Trekking, Travel, Photography, Reading, Music, Biking And a lots a more .................. and Some time doing nothing . :).
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4 Comments on 'Alchi, Chemrey & Hemis Gompa'
A travelogue about a trip to Ladakh
On 3/18/2008 8:28:30 PM prabhakaran said...

nice travelogue and beautiful photos.. well done.!! manish.

On 3/14/2008 12:36:38 PM harsha said...

wonderful info....

On 3/13/2008 4:02:55 PM pOLo said...

A super read.. you are full of surprises and talent... lovely mix..

On 3/13/2008 8:21:36 AM Mischale said...

Thanks..good to know about these monastries.

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