Shanti Stupa

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Shanti Stupa
Shanti stupa1123-1.JPG
Shanti Stupa is located in India
Shanti Stupa
Shanti Stupa
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Location within India
Coordinates: 34°10′25″N 77°34′29″E / 34.17361°N 77.57472°E / 34.17361; 77.57472
Monastery information
Location Chandspa, Leh district Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India
Founded by Ladakh Shanti Stupa Committee under Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura[citation needed]
Founded 1985
Type Tibetan Buddhist

Shanti Stupa is a Buddhist white-domed stupa (chorten) on a hilltop in Chanspa, Leh district, Ladakh, in the north Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir.[1] It was built in 1991 by Japanese Buddhist Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura . The Shanti Stupa holds the relics of the Buddha at its base, enshrined by the 14th Dalai Lama himself .[2] The stupa has become a tourist attraction not only due to its religious significance but also due to its location which provides panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Construction[edit]

The Shanti Stupa was built by both Japanese Buddhists and Ladakh Buddhists. Original idea was stated by Nichidatsu Fujii (Fujii Guruji) in 1914.[3] The mission of Nichidatsu Fujii was to build Peace Pagodas and temples over the world and try to resurrect Buddhism back in India.[3]

Construction of the Shanti Stupa began in April 1983 under the supervision of Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura and Kushok Bakula, a lama of Ladakh from New Delhi, member of the Minority commission of Govt of India, former statesman and former international diplomat of the Republic of India.[3] The project was built with the help of Ladakhi Buddhists, who offered voluntary labour, and Japanese Buddhists, who consider India as the "sacred" birth place of the Buddha.[3] Then prime minister of India, Indira Gandhi, sanctioned the construction of a vehicular road to the stupa in 1984.[3] The state government also provided some financial assistance for the construction of the Shanti Stupa.[citation needed] The 14th and current Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso inaugurated the Shanti Stupa in August 1991.[1][3][4]

Description and significance[edit]

The Shanti Stupa features the photograph of the current Dalai Lama with the relics of the Buddha at its base.[3] The stupa is built as a two-level structure. The first level features the central relief of Dharmacakra with deer on each side. 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.[5] Both levels feature a series of smaller meditating Buddha reliefs.

The Shanti Stupa was built to promote world peace and prosperity and to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism.[1][3] It is considered a symbol of the ties between the people of Japan and Ladakh.[3]

Tourist attraction[edit]

Since its inauguration, Shanti Stupa has become a popular tourist attraction. According to The Hindu it is the "most famous tourist attraction" around Leh, though its architectural style is different from the Ladakhi style.[1][6] 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.[7][8] Sunrise and sunset are considered to provide the best views from Shanti Stupa.[9] The stupa is illuminated with lights at night.[citation needed] The stupa is open for tourists between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 p.m.[9]

Panorama from Shanti stupa

Access[edit]

Situated at a height of 4,267 metres (13,999 ft),[4] the stupa is located 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) from Leh - the former capital of Ladakh - on a steep hill facing the Leh Palace.[3] The stupa can be reached by a drivable road or on foot using a series of 500 steep steps to the hilltop.[8]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Shanti Stupa". Buddhist-temples.com. Retrieved October 19, 2009. 
  2. ^ "Leh". NDTV. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bhasin, Sanjeev Kumar (2006). "Shanti Stupa". Amazing land Ladakh: places, people, and culture. Indus Publishing. pp. 119–20. ISBN 978-81-7387-186-3. 
  4. ^ a b Jagir Singh Bajwa, Ravinder Kaur (2007). Tourism Management. APH Publishing. p. 117. ISBN 978-81-313-0047-3. 
  5. ^ The titles of the reliefs are given on the plaques under the reliefs at the Shanti Stupa.
  6. ^ Luv Puri (August 21, 2005). "Ladakh monuments cry for renovation". The Hindu. Retrieved 1 December 2009. 
  7. ^ Frommer's India. Hoboken, NJ, USA: Wiley Publishing Inc. p. 524. ISBN 978-0-470-16908-7. 
  8. ^ a b "Leh: Places to see". VISITLADAKH.COM. Retrieved 1 December 2009. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b "Shanti Stupa". Buddhist-Tourism.Com. 2007. Retrieved 1 December 2009.