Shanti Stupa, Leh Ladakh
Shanti Stupa, Leh Ladakh
Shanti Stupa, Leh Ladakh

The Shanti Stupa in Leh is a magnificent white-domed Buddhist monument. It is located atop a steep hilltop at a dizzying height of 11,841 feet. It is a religious place for Buddhists as it holds the relics of Buddha, consecrated by the 14th Dalai Lama.

It is also popular amongst tourists as it offers a sweeping view of Leh and the nearby Changspa village. Shanti Stupa looks exceptionally beautiful during the whole moon night when the moonlight naturally illuminates it.

Shanti Stupa was constructed in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura. The construction was jointly done by the Japanese and Ladakhi Buddhists to mark the completion of 2500 years of Buddhism and promote world peace. It is a part of the peace pagoda mission, which aims to spread peace through the preaching of Buddha. Shanti Stupa is a perfect getaway for both- those looking to obtain peace from offering prayers to God and those waiting to be mesmerized by nature’s wondrous beauty.

Structure Of Shanti Stupa :

The Shanti Stupa is constructed on two levels. The first level houses the gold embellished statue of the Buddha and the Dharmachakra (the wheels of life), where the devotees move the wheels while they pray to God for their prosperity.

The second level of the stupa depicts the life, nirvana (enlightenment), and the death of Buddha. You can take a round of the stupa, praying and enjoying the astonishing beauty of Ladakh.

The Architecture :

Buddhist stupas serve as a marker for a sacred space representing the grand Gautam Buddha’s burial mound. India has few of the oldest stupas of the Buddhist culture. The Shanti Stupa’s architecture imitates that of the much older stupas. Its architectural style is quite different from the typical Ladakhi architecture, making it a unique and popular attraction.

The Shanti Stupa is approached by a climb of 500 steps with Buddhist stone pyramids flanked on both sides. The structure is milk-white and is two stories tall with a dome on the top. The dome or the mound recalls a mound of dirt used to cover the Buddha’s remains. The square railing on top of the dome signifies a fence around the mound and is a marker of a sacred site.

Above the square edifice is a central pillar that holds an umbrella; this is called the ‘chhatra,’ representing the pivot of the universe – where the divine ascends from the heavens and becomes accessible to humanity. The walls of Shanti Stupa are painted with colorful reliefs that depict the milestones in the life of Gautam Buddha: his birth, his fight against devils, his victories over injustice, and his death. There is a vast meditation hall inside where you can sit, chant the Lord’s name, meditate and find your inner peace.

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