The Tsemo Fort or the Victory Fort lies on the Tsemo hill is a significant landmark which is virtually visible from everywhere in Leh. Built in the 15th century by King of Ladakh, Tashi Namgyal, a dedicated Buddhist follower. The fort is just 15-minute climb-up opposite Chenrezi Lakhang with its ruins of red bricks. Namgyal Tsemo Monastery seems as if it is a crown on the head of the Palace ridge. This fort cum monastery also known as Namgyal Tsemo Monastery or Namgyal Tsemo Gompa or Leh Monastery stand guard over the city and witness Buddhist ceremonies in the morning and evening. There is the significant number of worship flags in the fort which adorns the fortress. Tsemo monastery has two temple buildings with eight-meter tall, three storey and pure gold faced the statue of Maitreya Buddha also known as future Buddha, who is to follow historical Buddha Sakyamuni.
Leh Monastery History
The fort is built by the king after the invasion of Nubra Valley by Mirza Heder in the 15th century for dedicating it to guardian deities to chase away the evil spirits and protect the kingdom from attacks and invasion in future. Striking idols of Avalokitesvara and Manjushri are also present in the shrine. Several ancient manuscripts and beautiful paintings related to Buddhism are also kept and well preserved in the shrine.
The Leh monastery which was once served as the royal residence is now a structure of ruins of red bricks which still did not fail to attract and amaze people from all over the world. It is a living example of beauty in ruins. The red brick structure is the fantastic place for a person with a photographic eye as it provides the panoramic view of the whole city. The entry cost is 20 RS per person as some amount is taken for the maintenance of the monastery. The view from the fort is magnificent and serene.
Best Time To Visit Namgyal Tsemo Monastery
The best time to visit the Leh Monastery (Leh Fort) is during the morning and evening when monks perform their spiritual ceremonies in the Gompa or monastery. With the view of majestic mountains all around, bird view of the Leh Valley, fluttering worship flags and the paintings in a monastery , a person can relax and enjoy the calmness of the place.
The silently flowing Indus River and the snow-covered Zaskar range give a spectacular view of the region. The fort which has witnessed so many years and centuries, have seen floods and natural disasters and had gone through the harsh climatic conditions still stand still for the people of Leh as a devotion to guardian deities and make them believe in the power of their faith.
This ruin structure had seen the old building demolishing and the emergence of new structures. The fort provides a view of Indus river and mountain which represents nature, city and the architecture which shows the changes in human civilisation and the manuscripts and paintings on the walls of the fort which serves religion all at one place. Changes may take place in Leh, but it is ageless Gompas, and its religious beliefs make it unique at the same time versatile.