The beauty of Ladakh is so much that summarizing it in words is an unattainable task. Things it offers one to explore is not something you can count on your figures. Out of innumerable gems of Ladakh, its monasteries are the ones that just multiply its charm. One of such and perhaps the grandest monastery of Ladakh is this 12 storeyed monastery called ‘Thiksey Monastery’. It is a Tibetan style monastery called Gompa.
Thiksey Monastery is located at an elevation of about 11800 feet and a distance of about 19 km from Leh. The monastery is affiliated to the yellow hat sect of Buddhism (Gelug sect).
The chief Lama’s residence is at the top of the hill, living quarters are present at the foot of the hill.
The Monastery’s appearance is similar to that of Potala Palace of Lhasa, Tibet hence it’s often called Mini Potala.
Thiksey Monastery was founded in 1433 AD. The Monastery has a story associated with its presence at this very spot.
It is said that once (in 15th century) at the yellow temple, about 3 km from the current location of Thiksey monastery, two Buddhist monks ‘Jangsem Sherab Zangpo’ and his disciple ‘Palden Sherah’ were offering prayer and rituals, as part of the rituals monks were about to offer the cake to the lord. Suddenly a crow took the cake away and placed it on the top of the hill. The monks took it as a sign to build the monastery at this spot. Because the cake was placed in perfect order which in local language translates to Thiksey, the monastery was named Thiksey Monastery.
Every year a festival is organized by the monastery. The energy and beauty of this festival is outstanding. Mask dance performed the monks to wade off the evil is a major attraction of the festival. The monastery also hosts a fair where you can get to know the locals and buy souvenirs for your friends and family.
The Thiksey Monastery gives you the opportunity to explore, gain spiritual insights on Buddhism, sightseeing admire the grand architecture, connect with nature, and much more.
The Monastery has grand structure, it houses various Paintings, Thankas, Statutes, Stupta, Religious texts, etc. The major attractions of the 12 storey structure are:
- 10 temples painted in red and white
- A two storey tall statue of Maitreya Buddha. This is the biggest statue of Buddha in Ladakh.
- An Assembly Hall: one will find murals of Tibetan calendar, manuscripts, books, and painting in the assembly hall and in the prayer room.
- Tara Temple is adorned with various murals, and it has 21 images of the deity.
- Lamokhang Temple: The temple house Many scriptures and a school for the young monks, here they are trained to become lamas. The entry to the women is prohibited in this temple.
- Nunnery: This is the training centre/ school of the Nuns.
- Scenic view from hilltop: One can enjoy a spectacular view of Indus from here.