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
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.