Alchi Choskor Monastery Home > Jammu And Kashmir > Attractions > Monasteries > Alchi Choskor Monastery

Alchi Choskor Monastery

Alchi Choskor Monastery is known to be one of the most ancient Buddhist Monasteries of the north region in India. But it has a rigorous difference from the other Buddhist pilgrimages within the country, in terms of prayers and architecture. It is believed to be a Buddhist temple than complete Monastery. The carvings and wall paintings are different from any other in the surrounding area. Alchi Choksor Monastery is perched near the Rivers Zanksar and Indus. It is nearly 70 kms away from Leh. Many believe that the Monastery complex is about 1000 years old, but nowadays no monks are living or studying here. It is mainly a visiting place for the holy Buddhist scholars and tourist. One different and interesting characteristic of this monastery is that it is built on plane grounds, with backgrounds of high-rise Himalayan mountain ranges, which is different from other Monasteries in the Leh terrain. The Monastery always seems to be exceptionally realistic, yet thought agitating.


The historical date of the establishment of the Monastery has not been clearly confirmed so far, as there are numerous buildings included in the compound. Most of the people believe that the well-known Buddhist Rinchen Zangpo who was a translator came here in 10th century and constructed some Monasteries. Because of his efforts, many other Monasteries came into existence in Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim and nearby areas and nearly 108 Monasteries are accredited to him. These Monasteries are supposed to be owned by the Vajrayana sect which is of Tibetan Buddhism. Under his authority, a lot of artistic charities were done by the artists from Kashmir. After many years, studies and worship in the Alchi Choksor Monastery collapsed and it came into the control of the administration of other nearby Monasteries, till the 15th century. Afterwards The Likir Monastery took the responsibility of its maintenance.


The Alchi Choskor Monastery is mainly a monastic complex, than a single building. On the whole, the crowd of settlements includes four villages, containing the monuments that belong to different periods. This Monastery is possibly the most ancient of these monuments. These villages come under the Zanskar district and their houses are of unusual styles and designs, in compliance with the traditions of Buddhist and Hindu beliefs of those periods. The key complex of the Monastery includes three vital structures, namely the Dukhang, Sumsteg and The Temple of Manjushri. There are other two significant structures inside the complex of the Monastery which are known as the Lotsabha Lhakang (translator’s temple) and Lhakang Soma. Mural paintings are possibly the most important feature of all the structures in the Monastery. Plushy wood carvings and art work of baroque style are pretty outstanding.

Dukhang or Assembly hall is the most vital part of the Monastery complex. The hall is pretty big and is the centre for different ceremonies and festivals. Even though, the construction was probably started in the 10th century, but some more additions were made during the 12th and 13th centuries. There is a verandah which goes to the hall. The passageway has approximately images of 1000 Buddha. The walls which are painted in 6 different mandals are dedicated to the holy Panch Tathagatas, surrounding the main deity which is in the assembly hall.

Inside the complex, The Sumsteg which is a large structure is not yet clearly understood. The ground floor which is the sancturm was possibly constructed in the 13th century. It is still well protected with all the niches and the beautiful paintings of the bodhisattvas and all the gods & goddesses. The Second storey is more like a balcony, where all the images of Avalokiteshwara are pretty famous. Clothes worn by the gods and goddesses are detailed paintings in themselves. Many other paintings and inscriptions are there on the Sumsteg’s walls, making it a splendid complex for visitors.

Another major structure in this Monastery is the Manjushri temple. This temple is believed to be constructed nearly 1225 AD and is also recognized as the Jampe Lhakhang. Four vital images of Manjushri are the significant structures. Pillars are there to support the images and also surround them. Currently a structure called Lotsabha structure is made behind the deities. Unique colour combinations have been used for the idols and the temple. Chorterns are an essential part of the building inside the Monastery complex.

Reaching There

Alchi Choksor Monastery is nearly 70 kms away from Leh and it takes around 3 hours to reach there by road. All along the way, the magnificent sceneries are pretty exotic with hilly terrains, grasslands, fields; snow covered mountains and the sumptuously flowing Zanskar and Indus Rivers. As coming close to the Monastery, visitors will pass through small villages, which are very much influenced by the Buddhist culture and the monastic presence.

Related Image

Related Topics


The Cultures and Topography of the state of Jammu and Kashmir divide the and into three major parts. Ladakh is also....

Forts & Monuments

Dating back to almost 700 decades, India's rich and glorified culture need no introduction. This tenure of existence....


Kishtwar is situated 238kms from Jammu...

Srinagar Hill Station

Srinagar is also known as the city of...