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Alchi Monastery

Diskit MonasteryAlchi Gompa : is located near the small village of Saspol. It is one of the earliest monasteries built in Ladakh, dating from the 11th century. Because it was constructed before the invading wars begun in the 15th century, Alchi was built on lowlands, rather than on a hilltop as other gompas were, to protect them from marauding armies.

The gompa at Alchi was erected by Rin-chen-Izghimpo, one of the first Ladakhi kings to engage in foreign relations. To build the monastery, the Ladakhi king signed a treaty with the Gyalpo (king) of Tibet, who agreed to provide the artisans.

The rambling monastery has six main buildings the Dukhang or main assembly hall, the Sum-tsek or three-tiered temple; the adjoining Manjusri Lha-khang and Lotsawa Lha-Khang temples; the Lha-khang Soma and the Kanjur-Lha-khang.

Walking towards the gompa from the small group of houses nearby, the first temple of importance is the Sum-stek, the oldest of the Alchi gompa. The temple is surrounded by wooden pillars and carved woodwork of mythological animals. The middle arch portrays a seated Buddha with the Green Tara (the Saviouress) to the right and Vajrasattava, a Bodhisattva, to the left.
 
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