Friday, January 15, 2016

Shanti Stupa in Leh, Jammu & Kashmir, India : A Sacred Pilgrim Place for Buddhists in the Himalayas

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Leh is one of the two districts in Ladakh in the state of Jammu and Kashmir in India. Shanti Stupa in Leh is the primary attraction for tourists & pilgrims visiting Leh from around the globe. It's a beautiful Buddhist shrine / monastery. Copies of Shanti Sthupa have sprouted in many places in India, but none comes with the awe inspiring backdrop like the one in Leh in high altitude Himalayas. The serenity, tranquility & peace here is unparalleled. An epitome of peace, the Shanti Stupa in Leh is bound to fill our senses with wonder, awe and quietude.
Built by Ladakh and Japanese Buddhists, Shanti Stupa features the relics of Lord Buddha enshrined by the current Dalai Lama. The Stupa has two levels. The central relief of Dharma Chakra with deer on both sides can be seen in the first level. One can also see a golden hued statue of Lord Buddha in the Dharma Chakra Mudra here. The relics depicting the birth and death of Buddha can be found in the second level. Shanti Stupa offers an awe-inspiring view of the surrounding landscape of the mighty Himalayas, making it a popular tourist attraction & Buddhist pilgrim place. The Stupa is illuminated beautifully at nights with dazzling lights.

With magnificent Buddhist monasteries, palaces and spectacular landscape, Leh in J&K in India attracts tourists from all over the world. Snuggled in the world’s highest mountains, the Himalayas, Leh Ladakh offers unique topographical features, from golden barley farmlands to snow capped mountain peaks.

Sitting majestically on a hilltop in Leh, is this Buddhist white domed 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 in India, with relics of Lord Buddha at its base.

This elegant stupa is situated on a hilltop in Chanspa in Leh in the North Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. The beautiful positioning of this Stupa provides a breathtaking panoramic view of the surrounding Himalayan landscape. This has become a primary reason for Shanti Stupa to become a tourist attraction, apart from its religious significance.

The original idea to build Shanti Sthupa was an attempt to resurrect Buddhism back in India. In 1984, Indira Gandhi, the then Prime Minister of India, sanctioned the construction of a road to the Stupa in Leh. In 1991, Tenzin Gyatso, the 14th and current Dalai Lama, inaugurated the Shanti Stupa.

Shanti Stupa is Leh’s pride. Situated at a height of 4,267 metres (13,999 ft), the Stupa is located 5 kilometres from Leh 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.

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 dazzling lights, sparkling all around making the visitors mesmerized & dumb struck.

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