Alchi Monastery

Alchi Monastery

About Alchi Monastery

The beauty of Alchi Monastery is such that it has been featured in Bollywood movies like Shah Rukh Khan’s 1998 Dil Se and Kareena and Saif’s 2008 movie, Tashan. Alchi Monastery is one of the oldest Buddhist learning centers in Ladakh and in India. It is a monument of national heritage and thus, people curious to know about Buddhist culture along with Buddhist followers visit this location every year in large numbers.

Situated on the flat ground unlike other monasteries in Ladakh, its foundation was laid by Rinchen Zangpo, a Tibetan translator in the middle of the 12th century. Inside the monastery, you can see the ancient paintings and statues, which tell tales of our past. And thus, the Archeological Survey of India has made its mission to preserve Alchi Monastery.

Not just this, the villages of Alchi villages believe in their culture, making this monastery a cultural site too. Festivals of Ladakh are also celebrated at this monastery you can be a part of and get an insight into the culture and lives of the locals.

If you are on an adventure, do not miss out on river rafting in Alchi. It is located near Zanskar River and thus, is a famous adventure place. Apart from this, you can shop for Pashmina Shawls, woolen jackets, and apricots.

History of Alchi Monastery

Due to its historical importance, even today, Alchi Monastery is visited and valued largely. Built from 958 and 1055 AD, it has many tales associated with it. As per a legend, King Yeshe of Guge wanted to spread the word of Buddhism in the Himalayan region. For this, he appointed 21 scholars and told them to go around.

But due to harsh weather, most of these scholars collapsed before making it to the heights of the Himalayas and only two survived, including Rinchen Zangpo. Thus, it is believed that these two constructed 108 monasteries in the region, and only a few including Alchi Monastery survived.

Architecture and Structure

Alchi Monastery is built in three main structures. They are called Dukhang, Sum Tsek, and the temple of Manjushri.

Dukhang, simply known as an assembly hall, is the largest and the oldest preserved section of this monastery. Walls here are painted years ago with different forms of Buddha and goddesses.

Next, Sum Tsek is a three-storey temple and is mainly famous for its four-armed big Bodhisattva statue. This statute alone occupies two floors of the temple. The Maitreya Buddha statue is placed on the ground floor along with statues of white Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri.

The temple of Manjushri is also known by the name Jampe Lhakhang. And here, you will witness the sculpture and a painting of Rinchen Tsangpo. Unfortunately, there is no evidence that shows the Alchi Monastery’s history.

Best Time to Visit Alchi Monastery

May to September is the best time to visit Alchi Monastery. The roads are open and clear and you can enjoy your time here. After November the roads get closed due to snowfall and remain shut until April. So, they must be avoided.

To see the Alchi Monastery in full glory, plan your visit to Ladakh during the celebrations. The festivals Tibetan New Year, Sho Dun, and Chotrul Ducan are celebrated at the monastery, which will give an insight into the Ladakhi culture and a glimpse of local people’s lives.


Alchi Monastery is open from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and then from 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm on all days. There is no entry fee to visit the monastery.

Where to Stay in Alchi

If you plan on staying in Alchi, you can find budget hotels with amazing riverside views. Tented accommodation is also available. For food options, there are many small restaurants that serve Indian and Tibetan meals at reasonable prices.

How to Reach Alchi Monastery

Here are the ways to reach Alchi Monastery -

By Air:- Leh airport is the nearest to Alchi Monastery. It is around 64 km away from the airport and can be reached by taxi or jeep.

By Rail:- Rail travel is not possible here due to high altitude. However, the nearest railway station is located in Jammu and Kashmir.

By Road:- It is the best way to reach Alchi Monastery from Leh. But remember the roads remain shut between November and April, so make sure to plan before or after the season.

Things to Keep in Mind While Visiting Alchi Monastery

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