Leh Monasteries

The monasteries of old Leh are an important part of THF's conservation work.
So far we have carried out surveys and /or interventions at the Tsemo tower, the Red Maitreya Temple, the Guru Lhakhang, the White Maitreya Temple and the Chutarangtak Mosque, the last historic Ladakhi-style mosque in Leh.

Our Leh Heritage Walk map has some basic information about these and other sites (we are grateful for the pointing out of any errors and omissions):
Leh Heritage Walk (click to download the map)
Map by Pimpim de Azevedo, with A. Alexander, J. Niewoehner, E. Otsuka © THF 2006
Text by A. Alexander with Ven. Konchok Pande and Konchok Rafstan

1 Namgyal Tsemo tower and chapel, built by king Tashi Namgyal (r. ca. 1520-1540)
2 Tsemo Goenkhang (protector temple) built by king Namgyal Tashi after his victory over an invading army from Yarkand in 1532
3 Tsemo Maitreya temple, built by Tragspa Bumde (r. ca. 1400-1440)
4 Leh palace, Leh-chen Pel-khar, built by king Senge Namgyal (1590-1620), modeled on the Shigatse Dzong in Tibet; since the overthrow of the dynasty in the mid-19h century vacated, currently owned by the Indian government and under restoration by Archaeological Survey of India
5 Namgyal Choerten, a Buddhist stupa erected here to protect the palace from bad influences
6 Guru Lhakhang, a Buddhist shrine built in the early 17th century and operated by 44 Buddhist families of Leh, restored 2004-2005 by THF/L.O.T.I.
7 Lonpo House, formerly the residence of one of the king’s ministers, presently owned by Chemrey monastery
8 Gonpa Soma, built in 1840 by lama Tashi Tenpel above the old royal stables
9 Gonpa Soma’s chamra courtyard, the Ladakhi group LASOL perform traditional songs and dances, currently undergoing restoration by THF/L.O.T.I.
10 Red Chamba Lhakhang, the red temple of Maitreya, was built by king Tragspa Bumde (ca.1400-1440); it was restored in the 19th century after a Dogra invasion, and again in the late 1950s, when it was partly rebuilt. In 2005 THF/L.O.T.I. discovered that underneath whitewash on two walls are still remains of the original 15th century wall-paintings. These are currently being cleaned by a group of Romanian, German, Belgian and Ladakhi restorers and restoration students.
11 Chenrezi Lhakhang (temple of Avalokiteshvara), built reportedly in the 17th century as main monastic assembly hall for Leh, today owned by Hemis gonpa, its importance today has been overshadowed by the new Jokhang built in the main bazaar
12 Lakruk house, one of the best-preserved old Leh mansion houses, currently the office of THF/L.O.T.I.
13 Stupa gate
14 Stalam (horse road) leading up to the palace and the monasteries
15 Munshi house, formerly home to the king’s treasurer, under conversion into an art center by the Mumbai-based group Lamo
16 White Champa Lhakhang, the white Maitreya temple, also credited to king Tragspa Bumde in the 15th century
17 Manikhang, a group of stupa-s close to the now-demolished main entrance gate to old Leh town
18 Sankar house, formerly the home of the keeper of the white Maitreya temple, is now a gallery-cum café operated by THF/L.O.T.I.; in the groundfloor is a chapel room with ancient stone Budddha-s, and upstairs are exhibitions about the history of Leh and art by Ladakhi artists.
19 Jama Masjid, Sunni mosque, founded in 1663
20 Stupa gate to old town
21 Chutarangtak street, where bread is freshly baked every day
22 Chutarangtak mosque, presently disused, originally a mosque for women.
23 Shi’a mosque
24 Leh Jokhang, the new main Buddhist temple for Leh built in the 1980s by the Ladakh Buddhist association
25 Stupa gate
26 Old carved gateway to the former Tehsildar office, which is now demolished and replaced by a community hall
27 Stagopilog stupa gate, THF/L.O.T.I. paved the alley with slate stone and built a drain, and restored the historic Sofi and Hor Yarkandi houses
28 Old Ladakh Guesthouse
29 Tak Guesthouse
30 Mani wall

Copyright, Tibet Heritage Fund