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Lotsawa Lha Khang in Leh

AlchiThe scenery in Leh is majestic with vast terrains of ice, desert shrub vegetation and exotic species of Fauna. Leh is still untouched by over population, noise and corruption and this is why you can see small islands of piety and peace in the temples and monasteries around this area.

A very good example is the beautiful temple of Lotsawa Lha Khang which is present in a small hamlet named Alchi in Leh. This small yet exquisitely beautiful temple attracts hundreds of tourists each year from all corners of the world.

History of Lotsawa Lha Khang

Once upon a time in Buddhist history there was a famous scholar called Rinchen Zangpo. Rinchen Zangpo was patronized by the royal family and he was handed the charge of popularizing the religion of Buddhism in the sparsely populated trans Himalayan region. This scholar was so impressed by seeing the peaceful region of Zanskar Valley that he wrote several pages of prose on it. He then proceeded to roam across the whole length and breadth of the Trans Himalayan region. Rinchen Zangpo is credited with translating several sacred texts of Buddhism and Tibetan religion. He established 108 monasteries out of which some grew to be very prominent like the Alchi and the Shey Monastery. His contributions to the religious and the cultural terrain of Ladakh that he soon acquired the stature of a celebrity. To celebrate his achievements and contributions in the field of spirituality and religion, a temple named Lotsawa Lha- Khang was built in his memory.

Deities in Lotsawa Lha Khang

The Lotsawa Lha is estimated to be a structure dating back to the 15th century and it is known more for its spiritual importance than its grandeur. This shrine houses many beautiful images such as the one of Shakyamuni Buddha. In Buddhism Shakyamuni Buddha is believed to have derived his name as he was the ruler of the Shakya clan. Right next to the image of Shakyamuni Buddha there are lines of images of the important disciples of Buddha. It is a well established practice in monasteries and temples in Leh and elsewhere. The image of Rinchen Zangpo though he is the original person the temple is dedicated too is comparatively small as he stands much lower in the overall spiritual importance of Buddhist deities.

Lotsawa Lha holds daily prayer sessions where blessings are sought from all the Gods of Buddhism along with offerings to the soul of Rinchen Zangpo. There is a small room associated with the temple complex which contains important and rare information of the original work of Rinchen Zangpo. Efforts are now being made by the Ladakh government to popularize the literal, spiritual and historical significance of these documents. As of now most of these are preserved under lock and key and can only be accessed on obtaining special access.

Another important feature of Lotsawa Lha is that the walls and the ceilings are all covered with painted demonstrations of all poses and postures of Sakhyamuni Buddha. The Lotsawa Lha is thus a very important place of worship for the members of Sakhya clan of Buddhism.

How to Reach Lotsawa Lha Khang

It will take you half an hour to 40 minutes to reach Lotsawa Lha Khang from Leh and the road is comparatively good according to the general rocky terrain found all over Ladakh. Best time to visit is between June to September.

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