It is difficult to establish when Buddhism was introduced into Ladakh. It is a popular belief that it was introduced under the reign of the Emperor Ashok the greatest ruler of the Maurya dynasty in India, in about 200 B.C. Ancient stupas in upper and lower Ladakh built of stone from the time of Ashoka stand testimony to this. The first Buddhist temple in Ladakh is said to have been constructed in the Suru valley.
In the 8th century A.D.,the Buddhist scholar Padmasambhava blessed Ladakh with a visit. He, together with BhikhuShankarakshita, firmly established Buddhism in Tibet and Ladakh.
Written by: Sandesh Bhandare Photographs: Sandesh Bhandare Copy editor: Shama Lahiri