What I like about monasteries are their settings, most sit atop hills with great 360 degree views while the villages are built below. This allowed in the ancient times, for them to function as strongholds. Now, much of this is not needed; but means that visiting monasteries is that the views will be jaw-dropping. The Lamayuru monastery is nestled in arms of a mountain and makes a sight to behold! The monastery has a place called Hotel Niranjana which served us hot noodles and fresh apple juice in green glass bottles. The monastery which like the many other that I have visited, gave me a sense of peace and calm. The scented air just seems to make one slow down and live life at one's own pace!
The Lamayuru Monastery
A senior monk practices his performance for the Lamayuru Festival. The masked dances performed in the monastery during festivals depict stories of compassion, the victory over evil, and are considered as prayers and offering to the gods. These dances are popularly known as 'Cham Dance', where the monks wear traditional outfits with huge painted masks and hats.
The Alchi Monastery is unique, in that it is built on level land near the Indus river. It was founded by the great translator, Rinchen Zangpo and is more of a monastic complex, called as chos-'khor. There are a few temples under the shade of trees. The place is an ideal one for a night halt at one of the many homestays. Hot chocolate at one of the places just outside prepared me for the final leg of our journey to Leh. The sellers of souvenirs are plenty on the thin lane to the complex and you could do better than not buy a few.