Monasteries in Ladakh
Among the most significant architectural specimens in Ladakh are the monasteries. Some of the most prominent monasteries are discussed below.
The multi-storied Lamayuru Monastery was built in the 11th century A.D., standing lone in the bleak mountainscape. It stands on a steep slope and has within it a number of constructs including temple, assemble halls and cells for monks. These buildings have a wooden framework and earthen walls and willow for floors. Despite its age, the carved pillars and murals in the monastery are quite recent.
Another beautiful monastery is the Themisgang monastery built in the 16th century. It houses three separate buildings within it, with the architecture of the Red building being the most awe-inspiring. The Rizong monastery, built sometime in the 19th century, has quite a well planned out architectural structure. The Alchi monastery, a perfect example of Buddhist temple architecture, is situated more in the plains rather than the hills.
The Sumtsek Temple, built in the 11th century, is a magnificent example of Buddhist wood architecture. An influence of the Hellenic culture can be seen in the Grecian engravings, while the capitals of pillars are in the Ionic style. There is an entrance hall in the centre which goes upto three levels. The skylight on top that lights up the interior is in the original style used for the construction of Gompas.
Palaces in Ladakh
The Leh Palace is a nine-storied structure located in the city of Leh. The Palace was built in the 17th century by King Sengge Namgyal. There is seen the ruins of the Gompa amd prayer rooms inside the palace, pointing to the co-existence of religion and government at the time. The Potala Palace in Lhasa is built in the same architectural style as Leh Palace. All around the landscape resembles a desert with almost no greenery. Another palace found in Ladakh is the Stok Royal Palace built by King Jepal Namgyal. It lies along the banks of the Indus River and is a four-storied building with seventy-seven rooms. The Royal family still resides in the palace and a part of it has been converted into museum.
Cave Templs in Ladakh
Apart from the monasteries and palaces, some Buddhist rock cave temples can also be seen in Ladakh. Most prominent among these is the cave temple at Saspol, located 65 kilometres away from Leh. The temple has been built in such a way that it is completely devoid of pillars and beams and looks more like a cavern. Located within the cave are some very valuable murals representative of Mahayana Buddhism.
Thus discussed is the architecture of Ladakh.
(Last Updated on : 06-01-2011)
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