It’s difficult to choose the best amongst so many beautiful monasteries in Leh-Ladakh. If you want your touristy dose of seeing monks on orange robes performing quaint rituals, a visit to the Lamayuru monastery is a must. It is one of the oldest and largest monasteries of Ladakh, located approximately 127 kms from Leh. You will love seeing the beautiful caves carved out of the mountains at the monastery. You could also consider going to the Stok, Hemis, Thiksey, Spituk and Shey monasteries if time permits
The Lamayuru Monastery
The year 2013 was the first time I visited the Lamayuru Monastery. It was here that I befriended two young bhikkus, aged 1 and 4. After 4 years when I visited the monastery again in 2016, I met the older one who was all grown up, but as naughty as ever. Funny thing was that he recognised me too. Out of the swarm of tourists that visit Lamayuru every year, maybe our acquaintance was the beginning of a deep friendship.
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.