Alchi Monastery

  • imageLeh
  • Ladakh

About Brief History of Alchi Monastery in Leh

Known as the oldest monastery in Ladakh, Alchi Monastery is basically a monastic complex situated in Alchi Village in Leh District. The complex has four separate settlements with monuments dating back to different times. The paintings in Alchi Monastery are some of the oldest surviving paintings in Ladakh.

Alchi is also part of the three villages that constitute the ‘Alchi group of monuments.’ The other two villages are the Mangyu and Sumda Chun. The monuments in all these three villages are reckoned to be of unique style and workmanship.

History of Alchi Monastery

The history of Alchi Monastery states that it was created by the famous scholar-translator. Rinchen Zangpo in the 10th century. However, the inscriptions preserved in the monuments ascribe its creation to a Tibetan noble, Kal-dan Shes-rab later in the 11th century.

Architecture of Alchi Monastery


The architecture of Alchi Monastery is of Tibetan style. The monastery complex has three major shrines - the Dukhang (Assembly hall), the Sumtsek and the Temple of Manjushri. There are also chortens in the complex.

Wall paintings are the major attractions here as they depict details of both Buddhist style and Kashmiri style. The complex houses a huge statue of the Buddha and lavish wood carvings and artwork, similar to baroque style.

Major Highlights of Alchi Monastery

  • Dukhang or the Assembly Hall
  • Sumtseg
  • Manjushri Temple or Jampe Lhakhang
  • Chortens
  • Wall Paintings/Frescoes

Dukhang : This is from where one enters the Manjushri temple and monks performs worship and ceremonies. Classic architecture of the temple is made of original wooden door frame and it is still retained. Later in 12th and 13th century, some additions were made too. Landmark of Dukhang is the Wheel of Life and Mahakal.

Sumtseg : The most outstanding feature of the Alchi Monastery, Sumtseg is made of loam and natural stone. The vintage woodwork and paintings in the interior of the monastery were made by Kashmiri artists. Original structure of monastery's this part was built in the early 13th century. Further adding to its beauty are textile prints depicting Buddha’s life.

Manjushri Temple : In comparison to the Sumtseg and Sumda Assembly hall, Manjushri Temple alias Jampe Lhakhang dates to around 1225 AD. Like Sumtseg, here too one there are paintings but they're unrefined. The temple to its left - Lhotsava or Lotsawa temple to its left side is a later addition.

Visiting Timings

  • 10:00 am – 01:00 pm
  • 02:00 pm – 06:00 pm
  • Open all days

Best Time to Visit Alchi Monastery


The best time to visit Alchi monastery is during the festivals held in gompa like Chotrul Duchen, Dajyur, Galdan Namchot, Losar, Monlam and Sho Dun.

How to Reach Alchi Monastery?

Alchi Monastery is 70 kilometers away from Leh. To reach here, one has to hire a taxi from Leh.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How far is Alchi from Leh & what is the best way to reach?

Alchi Monastery is situated at a distance of 70 km from Leh. Hiring a cab or renting a bike are the best ways to reach here.

Q. Is there a festival to see in Alchi Monastery?

Yes, Chotrul Duchen, Dajyur, Galdan Namchot, Losar, Monlam and Sho Dun are the annual festivals to be witnessed in Alchi Gompa.

Q. How old is Alchi Monastery? Which sect of Buddhism does it belong to?

Alchi Monastery is a 10-11th century monastery. It comes under Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Q. What is the major attraction in Alchi Monastery?

The wall paintings are the major attractions in Alchi Monastery here as they depict details of both Buddhist style and Kashmiri style.

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