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Leh  

Kirit Mankodi

Capital of Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir, India. Located near the River Indus on an ancient trade route between India, Tibet and China, Leh is notable for a Tibetan Buddhist monastery, known as the Tsemo Gompa, and the Lechen Pelkar palace and fort, all erected under the Namgyel rulers of the 16th–17th centuries. Among the buildings of the Tsemo Gompa is the Temple of the Guardian Deities, built by Tashi Namgyel in the 16th century, which contains images of the fierce protector Mahakala, Vaishravana (one of the four heavenly kings), the Great Goddess and another fierce guardian (yet to be identified). Also in the Tsemo Gompa, the Maitreya Temple contains a celebrated three-storey-high figure of the Future Buddha flanked by the bodhisattvas Avalokiteshvara and Manjushri; the shrine may date to the 16th century, but it has been extensively renovated in recent times. The palace is a ruined nine-storey structure set on a hill north-east of the town; founded by ...

Article

Sankhu  

Erberto F. Lo Bue

Village 19 km north-east of Kathmandu, in Bagmati Province, Nepal, near the ancient Buddhist monastery, Gum Vihara. The monastery is located on a ridge 3 km north of the village at a site known as Vajrayogini (or Khadgayogini). Gum Vihara is one of the most ancient Buddhist sites mentioned in Lichchhavi inscriptions in the Kathmandu Valley, and it may well antedate the Lichchhavi period (c. ad 300–800). According to tradition Manadeva (reg c. ad 464–505) repaired the monastery, and under his influence a large caitya (stupa) was erected. This may refer to the only monumental stupa at this site, which is now enclosed in a c. 17th-century Newar-style double-roofed temple, surrounded by four stupas of the Lichchhavi period. The enclosure of a stupa of this size is now unique in the Kathmandu Valley and can be related to early Indian Buddhist monasteries with a stupa in the centre of a courtyard lined with cells....