Although, the Namdroling Monastery at Coorg was one of the first I had seen, a fulsomeness of a crowd gabbling around you almost kills the tranquility one is looking for at a Buddhist temple and not something you want to experience after taking an effort to go all the way. Needless to say, a quiet and not- too- touristy but a desolated ambiance, with whispers of prayers mumbled by the monks spreading a feeling of spirituality,is the kind of place, I choose to experience . Believe me, Shanti Stupa was one such true heaven where I experienced this and would any day return back to Ladakh. Constructed in the year 1983 built partly by both the Japanese and Ladakhi’s, the stupa is built in two level structure, its first level has inscribed stone work depicting dharamcackras ( buddhas teachings during the path to enlightenment), Below the central structure,stone word depicting wheel of dharma/ wheel of life, its second level has stone work depicting the birth of Buddha, the death of Buddha(also knows asmahanirvana) and Buddha defeating the devils while meditating.
It wasn’t the first or second day that we decided to visit the monastery, irrespective of our stay being just a few blocks away, and it was the last one we visited on our last day just before our return and the best one indeed. Around evening, we contemplated whether to walk or ride to our final destination in Ladakh. However, we settled on riding up the mountains towards a hilltop at a height of 14,000 feet called Chanspa, where the temple is located. It takes about 10 minutes to reach the top, as you get closer a white stupa stands elite as if sitting on a plate of mountains with the sunset. When you are up there, you get a splendid panaraomic view of LEH surrounded by snow-caped mountains with breezes of approx 4 degree C. Yes, I agree the number of times I have mentioned the word ‘mountains’ ,but when you spend your whole of two weeks amongst the splendid mountains, amongst the snow, you just wouldn’t want to stop praising the mountain gods.
For those who are visiting Leh: The monastery has two entrances, one that has 500 steps and the other one is a stretch of road accessible for cars and bikes.
Timings : The stupa is open from 5:oo am to 9:00 pm and the prayers are around 8:pm.
Stay near Shanti Stupa: There are resorts like Oriental and many more in the vicinity on a walking distance. If you are looking for a homestay on a cheap budget, there is an incredibly good homestay called high himalayas only 5 min from the stupa at a good location with big rooms that has good view at an equally unbelievable cheap rates for what you get. This was our best option in Leh as it was closer to all the main part of Leh like the Leh market, the open air restaurants and the other touristy attractions . The couple cooks the best Ladakhi chicken curry and what so ever you prefer to eat, she is more than happy to cook. Do contact me if you want the contact number and address.