Alchi, Ladakh's Hidden Buddhist Sanctuary

The monastic complex of Alchi is undoubtedly one of the most important and fascinating monuments preserved in the Himalayas. With its earliest monuments dating from the late twelfth to the mid-thirteenth centuries, it provides unique insight into the Buddhist culture flourishing at that time.

Through a detailed analysis of the architecture, sculptures and murals in their context, their interrelationship to each other and to Tibetan textual sources likely known at that time the publication offers a deeper understanding of the monuments religious environment. A reassessment of some of the inscriptions preserved at the site provides new insights into the historical circumstances of the temple's construction.

This two volume publication builds on and includes an updated version of the Sumtsek book by Roger Goepper, covers all early remains of the Alchi Choskhor, and still relies on the quality of Jaroslav Poncar’s early documentation for all main monuments. Holger Neuwirth and Carmen Auer contributed on the architecture and all plans, and Rob Linrothe and Nils Martin contributed new studies on the lineage depiction and the previously not recognised foundation inscription of the Sumtsek.

Book Data

Alchi, Ladakh's Hidden Buddhist Sanctuary
Serindia Publications, Chicago
Limited Edition in two volumes, gold stamping on cover and spine, museum-quality Japanese paper interior, sewn and bound in hardcover with a slipcase
24 x 29 cm
Vol I, 440 pages, Vol II: 400 pages; 1000+ colour illustrations
ISBN: 978-1-932476-97-2

Open Access Versions

With 1 June 2024, the publication is available in two Open Access (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) versions, both containing the two volumes in a single file. The PDF version is interactive, meaning the headings, figure and endnote numbers also work as crossreferences leading directly to the respective section, figure or note. The eBook is in the design of the publication and has a higher image resolution.

Table of Contents

Volume I Alchi – The Choskhor

  • Preface and Acknowledgments 8
  • Introduction 11
  • The Historical Background 19
  • The Layout of the Sacred Area 29
    • by Roger Goepper & Christian Luczanits
  • Architectural Documentation 33 > TU Graz
  • The Main Temple 37
  • The Palden Drepung Chörten 243
  • The Tashi Gomang Chörten 269
  • The Jampel Lhakhang 293
  • The Lhakhang Soma 309
  • The Development of the Sacred Area 345
    • by Christian Luczanits & Holger Neuwirth
  • Appendices 406
  • Notes Choskhor 429

Volume II Alchi – The Sumtsek

  • Preface 448
  • The Sumtsek 451
    • by Roger Goepper
  • The Alchi Style 715
    • by Roger Goepper
  • The Sumtsek Lineage Paintings and Their Implications for Dating 723
    • by Rob Linrothe
  • Mapping the Iconographic Programme of the Sumtsek 735
    • by Rob Linrothe
  • The Alchi Mandalas 747
  • The Foundation Inscription of the Sum­tsek 781
    • by Nils Martin
  • Observations on the Technology of the Wall Paintings 791
    • by Karl Ludwig Dasser
  • Notes Sumtsek 798
  • Bibliography 814
  • Index 832