White and pristine, majestically perched atop Chamspa hilltop overlooking the mystical town of Leh in the Laddakh district of Jammu and Kashmir is the Shanti Stupa. Built in 1991 to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism it was built by Japanese Buddhist Gyomyo Nakamura and was inaugurated by his Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. The two level stupa has the relics of Buddha and is decorated with colourful statues depicting the four stages of life. It’s a good idea to walk up to the base of the stupa as this helps in acclimatization though a motorable road also can take you up there. As you climb up the 600 steps leading to the top of the stupa you experience true ‘shanti’. A panoramic view of snow clad Zanskar mountains on one side and sprawling Leh town on the other makes the climb worthwhile and is a shutterbugs delight.
The stupa is open from 5am to 9 pm and it is recommended that sunrise and sunset are best viewed from here. My personal take would be to catch the sunset and then see Leh from the heights as the lights of the town are turned on. The stupa too is beautifully illuminated and looks breathtaking against a clear star studded night sky.