Standing solo on the edge of a ridge at an altitude of 11,600 ft above sea level is this magnificent white-domed monument with a 360 degree backdrop of brown Rocky Mountains. The Shanti Stupa – a Buddhist religious monument silently commemorates 2500 years of Buddhism and promotes world peace, harmony and unity.
The Stupa is a two-level circular structure of which the first level features the central relief of Dharma Chakra – The Wheel of Law which represents Buddha’s teaching of the path to enlightenment. A golden Buddha image sits on the platform depicting the ‘turning wheel of Dharma’. The second level of the Stupa features reliefs depicting the birth, death and Buddha’s victory over evil while meditating. The sides of the Stupa are decorated with gilt panels showing the life stories of Buddha.
The monument houses colourful painting and enshrines large statues of Buddha. There is also a pathway encircling the Stupa for circumambulation which is an integral part of Buddhism. Religious tourism is not the only reason that this monument is visited by thousands each year. At day, the Shanti Stupa offers panoramic view of the surrounding rock and Snow Mountains at a distance and the cityscape of Leh and Leh valley below. At night, the Stupa is beautifully illuminated in glittering lights making it a sight to see.