Ladakh is the part of Jammu and Kashmir that all adventure buffs love travelling to. Rocky lanscape, cold deserts, majestic mountain peaks and snowfall, these are the images that immediately pop into our head when we think of Ladakh. The capital city, Leh, however, is spread with souvenir shops, busy bazaars that brings us back to civilization.
We all are familiar with the strenuous adventures that take us all around Ladakh, by bike or by foot. Road trips, trekking, camping, river rafting or rappelling all aside, Ladakh is filled with so much more potential. The beautiful region is dotted with beautiful monasteries, that are so ancient that they will definitely make you travel back in time!
This article, however, talks particularly about the one beautiful structure, Shanti Stupa, located in Chanspa, 5 km from the main city of Leh. This Buddhist Stupa is completely made of white. Built in 1991, the stupa is perched on a hilltop and overlooks the city of Leh. So the sight of the white-domed stupa cannot be easily missed. An awe-striking panoramic view of Leh can be viewed from this point.
Construction Of The Shanti Stupa
The idea of building the Shanti Stupa was given by a Japanese monk Nichidatsu Fujii, whose initial idea was to build Peace Pagoda everywhere and bring back Buddhism in India. This idea was brought to life in Leh in the form of this Shanti Stupa, by Japanese and Ladakh Buddhists, under the supervision of Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura and Kushok Bakula.
The construction of this magnificent stupa began in 1983, and in 1984, under the Government of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, a road construction was also sanctioned to reach the stupa.
More About The Stupa
At the base, the stupa has a picture of the present Dalai Lama along with a few artifacts of the Buddha. The main idol of Buddha is in the form of "turning wheel of Dharma" or the Dharmachakra. This is found on the first level of the stupa. The second level houses relics that depict Buddha's birth, death and how to defeat evil by meditating.
Apart from being the promotion of world peace and prosperity, the stupa serves as a way of commemorating 2,500 years of prevailing Buddhism. It is also a symbol of healthy ties between Japan and Ladakh.
Since it is located in the main city of Leh, it is one of the most sought after places of interest. Viewing the sunset or sunrise from this point is an unforgettable experience! During the night, the beauty of the Shanti Stupa is enhanced by lights.
The Shanti Stupa remains open from 5 am to 9 pm on all days of the week for tourists.
How To Reach Leh?
By Air: Leh Airport is a military airport, which means checking might be more severe than usual. If you have an e-ticket, make sure to have a copy of it in hand. And if you fail to do so, entry to Leh might even be denied. The airport is well connected to cities like Chandigarh, New Delhi, Srinagar, etc.
By Rail: The closest railheads to Leh are located in Pathankot and Chandigarh. However, since these two places are almost 800 km away, it will take 3 days to travel all the way to Leh from here. This route is usually avoided by people travelling to Leh.
By Road: Adventure lovers usually pick this method of travel. Travellers usually reach Leh either by bike or car from Manali, which is a 473 km drive. Sometimes people even travel via Srinagar, which is a 434 km drive.
Public buses are available to travel within the city, which is the most pocket-friendly and convenient method of commute. Taxis can also be hired for the same.