Alchi Choskhor: The sacred enclave

Date : 12 Mar 2019
Categories: Place

Alchi Choskor is widely believed as the very first Buddhist temple in Leh Ladakh located nearly seventy kilometers away from Leh towards Srinagar. Lostawa (translator) Rinchen Sangpo founded Alchi Choskor in reviving Tibetan Buddhism. Every inch of wall surface of this monastery is occupied by benign images of the Buddha-s, Bodhisattva-s, tantric gods, goddess, flying Apsara-s, Gandharva-s and royal scenes. Artists and craftsmen of Buddhist Kashmir decorated these paintings and images under the supervision of Lostava Rinchen Sangpo. It is the only monastery that has preserved 10th century Buddhism arts and crafts. The fundamental reason of Alchi Choskor survival is that Alchi Choskhor is enclosed by mud-brick wall and looks simple that it is hardly distinguishable from the ordinary houses of Alchi village. Because of its exterior humble appearance, Alchi escaped attention of invaders from neighboring regions that desecrated and plundered monasteries that were located on the Leh-Srinagar trade route.

Alchi Choskor has six temples; they are Sumstek, Lotsawa Lhakhang, Manjushree Lhakhang, Vaoirociana temple (Dukang), Kargyur temple and Lhakang Soma.

Dukhang or the assembly hall is the main temple of Alchi Choskor primarily because the manifestation of Maha Vairocana arranged in two rows.

Sumstek is a three-tiered building; structures with its beautiful wooden porch supported by profusely carved wooden pillars. The three triangular wooden niches are occupied by the three wooden images are conceal with clay images of Buddhist deities; Avalokiteshvara, Maitreya and Manjushri.

Manjushri Lhakhang has four magnificent manifestation of Manjushri made up of clay images in different colors, each facing the cardinal direction.

The Lotsawa Lhakang is dedicated to its founder Lostawa Rinchen Sangpo. It is a single storied building contains images of Buddha Shakyamuni and Lostawa Rinchen Sangpo.

Kagyur Lhakhang consists of 108 Kagyur scriptures that are all Buddha’s teaching. And Lhakhang Soma (New temple) entails images of Buddha.