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Shanti Stupa | Ladakh’s Iconic Symbol of Global Peace

Shanti Stupa Image


Shanti Stupa, a symbol of peace and enlightenment in the alluring region of Leh, Ladakh, is nestled in the lap of the Himalayas. This architectural wonder, perched on a hill, exudes a tranquil aura that both pilgrims and other tourists feel.

Shanti Stupa, created in 1991 through a partnership between Ladakhi monks and Japanese Buddhists, has significant historical significance. Its building was started to honor Buddhism’s 2,500-year history and to advance world peace. The stupa’s pure white exterior and elaborate carvings combine traditional Ladakhi and Japanese architectural elements stunningly, creating a spectacle that perfectly encapsulates the idea of variety in harmony.

Shanti Stupa is a spiritual retreat that offers guests a chance to find their inner selves against the stunning backdrop of Leh’s panoramic vistas. Beyond its impressive appearance, it fulfills this purpose. The stupa fosters an environment of peaceful reflection as the first rays of dawn reveal its contours, and the setting sun paints a golden color onto its surface. Join us as we explore Shanti Stupa to learn more about its fascinating history, stunning architecture, and the transforming journey it offers to everyone who travels to its serene heights.


  • Shanti Stupa, which encourages introspection and meditation, is a symbol of global peace and inner harmony.
  • The stupa's white elegance against the mountain backdrop is a visual wonder. It is a blend of Ladakhi and Japanese design.
  • Perched high, it provides panoramic views of Leh and the surrounding Himalayas, which are especially breathtaking at sunrise and sunset.
  • The stupa is reached after a climb of about 500 steps, providing both a strenuous ascent and a peaceful destination.

History of Shanti Stupa

The Shanti Stupa in Leh, Ladakh, is a tribute to the enduring values of harmony and peace. Its beginnings can be found in the latter decades of the 20th century when Japan and India—two nations with strong ties to Buddhism—joined forces to construct it.

Japanese Buddhist monk Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura laid the Shanti Stupa’s foundation in 1983 as part of the Peace Pagoda project. The mission’s goal was to advance world peace and spiritual awakening. When the stupa was eventually finished and dedicated in 1991, Buddhism had been around for 2,500 years.

Shanti Stupa Visit in Morning

Both religious and political motives drove the construction of the Shanti Stupa. It was intended to symbolize hope for world peace and as a place of worship and meditation. Indian antique stupa architecture and Japanese artistic aspects have affected the stupa’s design.

The opening of the Shanti Stupa was a historic occasion that drew thousands of worshippers, dignitaries, and spiritual leaders. Since its construction, the stupa has become a revered Buddhist pilgrimage site and a destination for tourists looking for spiritual tranquility and expansive vistas of the surrounding landscapes.

The Shanti Stupa is still a symbol of peace and cross-cultural harmony today. Its past is still entwined with the united resolve of nations and communities to foster compassion, understanding, and calmness in a world that frequently lacks these traits.

Architecture of Shanti Stupa

The Shanti Stupa’s apparent architectural fusion represents its spiritual importance and the joint efforts of the two cultures. A characteristic of Ladakhi design, the stupa’s white façade is covered with exquisite carvings and symbols that reflect the region’s long-standing artistry. This artistic decision honors the local culture and gives the stupa a sense of place in the landscape.

Japanese inclination
A closer inspection reveals modest Japanese elements in the stupa’s design. The design of Shanti Stupa smoothly incorporates the straight lines, symmetry, and minimalist components prevalent in Japanese architecture. The end product is a special fusion that cuts across cultural barriers and embodies the stupa’s symbol of universal peace.

Design Symbolism
The Shanti Stupa’s architecture is more than just beautiful; it is a blank canvas for symbolism and significance. The five tiers of the stupa reflect the Five Dhyani Buddhas, who each stand for a different facet of enlightenment. The dome’s design alludes to the supreme wisdom Buddhism aspires to achieve, while the central pillar stands for the triumph of good over evil. Visitors are encouraged to pause and think more deeply about each carved picture, color scheme, and arrangement.

Spiritual Ascension

Traveling to Shanti Stupa involves both a physical elevation and a spiritual ascension. The stupa’s architecture encourages reverence and tranquility while facilitating visitors’ introspection. The roughly 500 stairs that go to the stupa’s peak are climbed gradually, reflecting the spiritual journey and ending with a peaceful moment at the top.

Shanti Stupa Winter Image

A Contemporary Peace Symbol:

The architecture of Shanti Stupa embraces modernity while remaining firmly anchored in tradition. Electric lighting illuminates the stupa at night and casts a glow that can be seen for kilometers surrounding it. The stupa’s everlasting message of peace and harmony is further highlighted by the contrast between its antique design and modern utility.

Essential Information

A few important information when you are planning for a visit to Leh Palace. 

Best time to visit

The Stupa can be visited throughout the year, but in the summer months May and June. September  and October are best. 

Visiting Hours

Open all days from 8 00 AM to 8 00 PM. You can visit the place even up to 8:30 if weather permits. 

Entry Ticket Charges

The entry is FREE. 

However, you can feel free to make donations which is used purely for maintenance. 

Altitude of Leh Palace

The Stupa is located at approximately 11500 feet (3500 meters). 

Distance from Leh

Approximately 5 km from the city center. 

How to reach

The stupa is around 5 kilometers from the city center and can be reached in the following ways.

  1. Local Taxi
    You may hire a local taxi from your hotel or Leh union and visit the place. Ideally, they would charge you around Rs 350 for it.
  2. Rental Bike
    You can travel on your own by renting a bike at Leh Market. 

Itinerary for Shanti Stupa

You can choose from our two options when visiting Shanti Stupa. We advise you to include local locations like Leh Palace and Leh Market in your plan.

Itinerary 1

Recommended itinerary for travelers arriving in Leh by Srinagar Leh Route. 

  • Set aside the morning for rest and acclimatization after a reviving breakfast.
  • Following lunch, you can begin your tour of  Shanti Stupa, Leh Palace, and Leh Market.
  • It will take two to three hours to complete the tour.

Remember to stay hydrated and take it easy, considering the altitude and the day’s activities.


Itinerary 2

Travellers arriving in Leh via flight or the Manali-Leh highway should follow this route.

  • After breakfast the following day, reserve the morning for the Sham Valley Tour to the Sangam View Point.
  • Return to Leh after lunch so that you can begin your tour of Leh Palace, Shanti Stupa, and Leh Market.
  • It will take 6 to 8 hours to complete the excursion.

Remember to stay hydrated and take it easy, considering the altitude and the day’s activities.



Who built Shanti Stupa?

The Stupa was built by a collaboration between Japanese Buddhists and Ladakhi monks, with the foundation laid by Bhikshu Gyomyo Nakamura.

When was Shanti Stupa built?

The foundation of the Stupa was laid in 1983, and it was completed in 1991.

Why was Shanti Stupa built?

Shanti Stupa was built as a symbol of peace, unity, and global harmony while serving as a meditation and spirituality place.

How many steps lead to Shanti Stupa?

The ascent to Shanti Stupa involves approximately 500 steps, making it accessible for visitors of varying fitness levels.

Is there any view point at Shanti Stupa?

Awe-inspiring panoramic views of Leh, the Indus Valley, and the surrounding Himalayan ranges may be seen from Shanti Stupa.

Is Shanti Stupa illuminated at night?

Yes, the Shanti Stupa is lit up by light at night, producing a peaceful and alluring scene that can be seen from a distance.

Can visitors enter the Shanti Stupa?

Visitors cannot enter the core of the stupa. However, can circumambulate the main stupa in a clockwise route as a sort of Buddhist practice, 

Are there any nearby attractions to visit along with Shanti Stupa?

Nearby sights include

  • The Leh Palace,
  • The Leh Market,
  • The Namgyal Tsemo Gompa and
  • Leh’s major bazaar.

These can be explored in conjunction with your visit to the Leh Palace.

Are there any specific timings to visit Shanti Stupa?

The Shanti Stupa is typically open all day long. Popular times to visit for breathtaking views and a tranquil atmosphere are around sunrise and sunset.

Is photography allowed at Shanti Stupa?

Yes, Photography is permitted. Photographs of the stupa and its surroundings are frequently taken by visitors.

Is there a dress code for visiting Shanti Stupa?

It’s advisable to dress modestly out of respect for the site’s religious and cultural significance even if there isn’t a strict dress requirement.

Can I meditate at Shanti Stupa?

Yes, the calm environment appeals to many tourists who wish to meditate here.

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