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Sitting majestically on a hilltop in Ladakh is a Buddhist white domed stupa called the Shanti Stupa. It was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism. It is considered a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh. The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base.
Where is Shanti Stupa located?
This elegant stupa is situated on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh district, Ladakh, in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The beautiful positioning of this stupa provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding landscape. This has become a primary reason for Shanti Stupa to become a tourist attraction, apart from its religious significance.
The intriguing history of Shanti Stupa:
The Shanti Stupa was built by both Japanese Buddhists and Ladakh Buddhists. The original idea to build it was stated in 1914 as part of Nichidatsu Fujii’s mission to build Peace Pagodas and temples over the world and try to resurrect Buddhism back in India.
It was in 1983, when the actual construction of the Shanti Stupa began under the supervision of Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura, a Japanese Buddhist and Kushok Bakula, a lama of Ladakh from New Delhi. Ladakhi and Japanese Buddhists offered voluntary labour to construct this monument.
In 1984, Indira Gandhi, (the Prime Minister of India during the time), sanctioned the construction of a road to the stupa.
In 1991, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, inaugurated the Shanti Stupa.
The finer architectural details of Shanti Stupa:
The stupa is built as a two-level structure. In the first level, a central golden Buddha image sits on a platform depicting the “turning wheel of Dharma” (Dharmacakra). The second level has reliefs depicting the “birth” of Buddha, the death of Buddha (mahanirvana) and Buddha “defeating the devils” while meditating. Both levels feature a series of smaller meditating Buddha reliefs.[flagallery gid=11 name=”Shanti Stupa”]
Shanti Stupa – Leh’s pride:
The Shanti Stupa is said to be the most famous tourist attraction around Leh, though its architectural style is different from the traditional Ladakhi style. The Shanti Stupa overlooks the city of Leh, providing panoramic views of the city, the village of Changspa, Namgyal Tsemo in the distance and the surrounding mountains.
How to get there?
Situated at a height of 4,267 metres (13,999 ft), the stupa is located 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Leh – the former capital of Ladakh – on a steep hill facing the Leh Palace. The stupa can be reached by a drivable road or on foot using a series of 500 steep steps to the hilltop
Best time to visit:
The stupa is open for tourists between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m. Sunrise and sunset are considered to provide the best views from Shanti Stupa. The stupa is illuminated with lights at night. The stupa looks best at night, when it is beautifully illuminated with glittering lights. A large number of tourists come to visit this beautiful region of Ladakh every year to visit this amazing stupa.
Make this year memorable by planning your holiday to the mystifying land of Ladakh. Explore the beauty of this paradise by trekking, mountain climbing, yak safaris; get a better insight of the locals by being a part of their colorful festivals such as hemis festival, religious performances and visit its several intriguing monasteries.