Monasteries and Monuments The most attractive feature of the landscape of Ladakh are the Buddhist monasteries situated on the isolated hillock in the vicinity of villages, these aesthetically pleasing, architecturally interesting monasteries provide the focus for the faith of the highly religious Buddhist people. Monasteries are the places of worship, isolated meditation and religious instruction for the young. Many monasteries celebrate their annual festivals in winter, which are marked by gay mask dances. Monasteries have a wealth of artefacts, Lamayuru, the oldest religious centre of Ladakh, beats all other in sheer grandeur. In its uniqueness of wood carving, statues and frescoes, Alchi offers the highest rewards. The wealth of its possession and its annual summer festival make Hemis the most popular, while Thiksay rates high in terms of architectural impact and the beauty of the festival performances at Likir and Phyang with their proximity to Leh are great attractions in their favour while the accessibility of the Shey, Spituk and the Sankar monasteries make them suitable for visitors with time at a premium. The approach to the monasteries is lined with mane walls and Chortens. Mane walls are made of votive stones on which prayers and holy figures are inscribed, while Chortens are semi religious shrines or reliquaries, containing relics of holy people or scripts. Besides monasteries, the 9 storey Leh Palace, Stok Palace Museum, Mahabodhi International Meditation Centre and the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies Choglamsar, Mosque and Moravian Church at Leh are added attraction for the tourists. Most of these can be conveniently visited from Leh as buses ply daily between Leh and those monasteries. Most of the monasteries remain open throughout the day.
National Monuments in Ladakh The government of India have declared the following historical monuments in Ladakh as national importance under Archaeological Survey of India. Sculpture at Drass Rock Cut Sculpture at Mulbekh Lamayuru Monastery Likir Monastery Alchi Monastery Phyang Monastery Hemis Monastery Leh Palace Old Castle Tsemo Hill Stupa at T- Suru Shey Palace
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