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Wanla Gompa
About Wanla Gompa

Wanla Gompa is located in Wanla village on a flat ridge hill with a steep climb to the main building sided by two shattered tower remnants of a 14th-century fortress. This Gompa is contemporary to the Gompas at Alchi which was founded by Lhotsava Rin-chen-b Zang-Po in the early Eleventh centenary AD , it is believed to be most blessed Monastary in Ladakh and people from all over Ladakh come for a pilgrimage here. It is in the Khalsi tehsil 65 km from Leh .One can reach by 4-5 hr. trek from Lamayuru .

Wanla Gompa is an historic Buddhist monastery on the edge that crowns Wanla village in Ladakh, part of Indian controlled Kashmir. It is small but remarkably preserved three-storeyed Avalokitesvara temple which is one of the earliest known Drigung Kagyu prayer chambers to have survived in Ladakh. Wanla is a sub-monastery of Lamayuru which provides a caretaker monk who is responsible for daily rituals and for granting permission to enter the temple.

The main image features Avalokitesvara in 11-headed ("Chuchigzhel") form along with a 1980s side building the monastery sits within the thin remnants of a medieval castle whose construction is mentioned in Ladakhi history as being by the Ladakhi King Lhachen Ngaglug, most likely in the 12th century. The monastery was added in the heart of the castle in the 14th century. This timing adds to academic interest in Wanla since, as some writers have described, this was an otherwise fully obscure period of Ladakh’s history between the establishment of the Alchi group of monuments, the latest of which are to be accredited to the early 13th century, and the foundation of the Ladakhi kingdom in the early 15th century.The temple is presently being renovated by the Achi Association.

Structures in Wanla Gompa

There are three main structures in the monastery but the middle structure is vital it is similar in design and look to Sumtsek of Alchi , the windowless lower level is ventilated through a cut out hole in the middle of roof , the flat mud roof is supported by centrally placed wooden pillars with cross sections of columns on top. The upper levels are having small windows to provide light and air in the rooms. One of the three building is actually inserted into a rock , it is a double story with stone base to give strength to the structure , rooms are in a line and can be reached by stairs, there is a balcony which was supported by a wooden frame. the whole pattern , wall paintings, ornamentations, woodcraft, subject and theme are similar to that of Alchi.

Foundation of Wanla Gompa

It is one of the 108 Monasteries which was founded during the 958-1055 AD under the support of King of Ladakh under the supervision of Lama Rinchen Zangpo . They were at some stage taken over by the Ka-dam-pa, and when it fell into decline they were taken over again, this time generally by the Ge-lugs-pa.

Three storeyed Avalokitesvara temple is one of the earliest known Drigung Kagyu prayer chambers still active in Ladakh , image of Chovo-je-Paldan Atisha can also be seen in the monastery.Wanla is a sub Monastery of Lamayuru , a caretaker Monk from Lamayuru takes care of daily rituals in the monastery. The main image Avalokitesvara is 11 headed Chuchigzhel form.


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