One of the most exquisite monasteries built in the Tibetan Buddhist style in India is Thiksey Monastery, which is situated in Leh's Eastern area. It is located between the frigid deserts of Leh and Ladakh at a height of around 3600 metres above sea level. Thiksey monastery, which has 12 stories, is the largest Tibetan monastery in Ladakh and is home to a number of stupas, sculptures, and other Buddhist artefacts. The monastery is divided into several sections, each of which has a unique architectural style that you may explore.
Visitors from throughout the world are drawn to the monastery by its unique aesthetics and the surrounding grandeur of the snow-covered landscape. Apart from the sculptures, paintings, and other artefacts, the monastery is notable for having a separate structure for female renouncers.
To honour the Dalai Lama's fourteenth visit to this location, the monastery also houses Maitreya. This location is frequently referred to as having a rich cultural legacy, whether it be due to the harmonious coexistence of nature and workmanship, the mixing of numerous Buddhist sects, the coincidence of ancient and modern buildings, or the tranquil, relaxing atmosphere. If you happen to be in Ladakh, you must go there.
Timings and Entry fee
Entrance costs and hours : Both Indians and tourists must pay a 20 rupee admission charge to enter the Thiksey monastery.
Hours : From Monday through Sunday, from 7 AM to 7 PM, the monastery is open.
A legend states that Sherab and Palden Zangpo desired to construct a more substantial Tibetan monastery. Two crows appeared and flew away with the Torma offerings while they were completing the rites close to the Yellow Temple and were about to hurl the Torma down the valley to finish the rituals.
As Palden Zangpo and a couple of his followers set out to find the Torma, they eventually arrived in Thiksey and discovered it there, being carried by crows and perched exactly where they intended it to be. They began erecting the Thiksey monastery here, believing it to be a divine order.
Highlights Of The Monastery
- Thiksey Gompa, one of central Ladakh's largest and most stunning monasteries, is perched on a hill with a view of Leh's chilly deserts.
- The monastery is frequently described as India's "Little Potala" since it is similar to Tibet's opulent Potala Palace.
- Upon visiting this 12-story tall temple known as Thiksey Gompa, one may witness a massive statue of the 'Maitreya' Buddha that is around 49 feet high.
- The Thiksey Monastery's structures were built in a hierarchical order, with each holding a special value and fulfilling a certain function.
Architecture / Structure
The biggest monastery in Central Ladakh is Thiksey. It consists of a number of structures ranging in height from the hill's base to its summit, each one placed according to its significance. The mountain's base is marked with a statue of a Tibetan god, while its summit is marked by a stupa. Each of the structures is decorated with red, white, and ochre paint to imitate Tibet's Potala Palace.
Thiksey monastery is sometimes referred to as the little Potala due to the striking likeness. The monastery has a variety of Buddhist sculptures, murals, and stupas in addition to housing 60 lamas in quarters at the top of the hill. Together with the Maitreya Buddha statue, an assembly hall, the Tara temple, and the Lamokhang Temple are all located inside the monastery.
Best time to visit
Thiksey Monastery is open for visitors from May to November. Yet, if you want to take part in the most celebrations, go there around October or November. These months saw the majority of trade shows as well as the Gustor ritual. Due to excessive snowfall, the monastery shutters in November and reopens in May. If you want to avoid too much snow and cold, you may also go there during May and June.
You can explore the area the most easily during these months thanks to the brilliant weather. These months are filled with numerous little gatherings and festivities. At these events, sand mandalas are built at the foot of the hill. This monastery will thus provide you enough opportunities to take part in the celebrations even if you miss the most important event.
Festivals of Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Gustor :
The Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism's Thiksey Monastery, a well-known tourist destination in Ladakh, hosts the Thiksey Gustor Festival. The 15-meter-tall Maitreya Buddha statue, which is the tallest monument in Ladakh, is the major draw of this monastery, which is the biggest in the heart of the region.
The Tibetan term "Gustor" means "sacrifice" in English. Throughout the course of two days, the event is observed with a variety of rites, ceremonies, folk music, and traditional dances.
A unique morning prayer is recited before the Thiksey Gustor Festival in Ladakh, during which time the monks read the Buddhist sutras in unison. The audience is put into a trance by it. More extravagant rituals follow that.
The community's elders create a concoction to entice the guardians living in the four corners of the globe (north, south, east and west). The gods are said to be pleased by this and come to the masked dances that are performed.
The renowned Black Hat Dancers present the Chhams, or famed masked dances. Dancers use elaborately embellished costumes and masks that are meant to symbolise the gods, goddesses, guardians, and protectors
The masked dances are intended to be a reenactment of the fabled story of King Lang Darma of Tibet, who was notorious for abandoning his people and was ultimately killed by a monk.
The strangely constructed effigies are burned after the rites are said to have transferred all the negativity and bad spirits to them. As a result, good will triumph over evil in a symbolic way.
Tips for visiting
- Food products are not permitted within the monastery.
- The monastery must be kept in complete stillness.
- Despite frequent CCTV monitoring of the visitors, it is advised that you take the utmost precautions with your possessions.
- Maintain quiet mode on your phones.
- Pets are not allowed within the monastery under any circumstances.
- Special authorization is required for filming.
- You may take still pictures within the monastery. So you should make sure your flashlight is turned off.
- Often, you may get in touch with the monks of the Thiksey monastery, who can show you around the structures and give you a detailed explanation of their design.
- Reading about the monastery's history and varied sections can also help you better appreciate the many buildings, artefacts, and artwork when you visit the monastery.
How to reach
- By Flight : You may fly to Leh and then drive down the Leh-Manali route to get to the Thiksey monastery. Your journey to the location would take about 30 minutes.
- By road : In Leh, you may also catch a bus at Choglamsar. Every 15 minutes, a bus departs from Leh for Thiksey, and they are fairly regular. You would need to spend about 35 rupees and take a half-hour to get there.
- Cabs : From Leh, you may also catch taxis that travel through Karu to Thiksey. Using a cab would take you there in around 40 minutes.
Places to Visit nearby
- Shey Monastery and Palace :
15 kilometres outside Leh town, on the Leh-Manali route, are the Shey monastery and palace. The monastery and Shey Palace were constructed in the sixteenth century. The monastery houses the Du-Khang, which is protected by a nearly 10-meter-high copper figure of Lord Buddha.
The greatest victory stupa in Leh, with an all-gold top, is located in the Shey Palace, which was erected by King Deledan Nagmyal. Prior to moving to the Stok palace in 1834 A.D., the royal family lived at the Shey Palace. ASI has assumed control of the Shey Palace for preservation.
- Stakna Gompa, Hemis :
The Stakna Gompa is located on the banks of the Indus River and offers possibly some of Hemis' most breathtaking and expansive vistas. It is reached by a short, wobbly bridge.
The surroundings that the building is situated in more than make up for the fact that it may not be as expansive and colourful as some of the other monasteries in the vicinity. The name literally translates to "tiger's nose" since it is thought that the hill that the monastery sits on formerly resembled a tiger's snout.
- Stok Palace :
The Ladakh royal family and heirs of King Sengge Namgyal spend their summers in the Stok Palace. King Tsepal Namgyal founded it in 1820, and the Dalai Lama declared it accessible to the public in 1980.
In addition to housing the Stok Palace Museum and Temple, the Stok Palace has been transformed into a heritage hotel. The hotel's rustic interiors exude regal vintage design, and some of the rooms are also eccentrically furnished. Moreover, the Stok Palace is a traditional Buddhist artefact that has been conserved. Six units make up the Stok Palace portion of the hotel, while the Chulli Bagh Villa portion of the hotel has three further divisions.
- Taglang La :
One of the amazing high-altitude mountain crossings in Ladakh is Tanglang La Pass, which is situated at a height of 5,328 meters (17,480 feet). Its spectacular vistas and the pure thrill of crossing it, which is nothing short of an adventure, are what make it a well-known tourist destination in Ladakh.
This Ladakh mountain pass is 49 kilometres long and situated at a high altitude on the route from Debring to Gya. Although the route itself is paved, the tight curves and twists need the use of an expert driver rather than a novice.
- Yarab Tso Lake :
The most well-kept secret in Ladakh is the sacred Yarab Tso lake, often known as "the hidden lake". This stunning lake in the Leh Ladakh area is only accessible by 20 minutes of arduous uphill climbing and is situated close to the Sumur Village, around 15 kilometres from Diksit.
Yarab Tso is widely regarded by the residents of the area as one of the most sacred and high-altitude lakes in the Nubra Valley. It is warned against trying to swim or wash your feet in this alluring water. Experience the sensation of tranquilly it gives by sitting by the rocks and taking in the pure mountain air while observing colourful prayer flags flying in the beautiful blue lake.
Hotels to Stay
- Thengzing Guest House - Man Village – Pangong :
Pangong Lake lodging is available at Thangzing Guest House in Maan Village. Visitors can gaze at the lake. Each room includes a private bathroom, slippers, and bed linens, among other amenities. With friendly hospitality, a continental, Indian, and local cuisine is served. Both hot and cold water are available to them. have free parking and a backup power source. All of the apartments face the lake, which is about 600 metres away. From the Guest House, guests may take a stroll to the lake. It's one of the area's few properly constructed properties.
- Himalayan Eco Resort :
The Himalayan Eco Resort is an environmentally friendly resort with 20 individual, autonomous, luxurious cottages, each with a stunning view of the snow-covered mountains. It is surrounded by vivid forests and imposing poplar, willow, apple, and apricot plantations. A way of life that makes you smile with the delicious scent of vegetation, energising pure mountain air, and bird chattering that accompanies the splendour of the brilliant daybreak.
- Sand Dunes View Resort :
In the calmest and most beautiful valley of Nubra, there is a place called Sand Dunes Retreat Hunder. The hotel has an amazing outlook and is close to the well-known Nubra silver sand dunes. The authentic Ladakhi traditions may be enjoyed by visitors, who can also ride a rare Bactrian camel on a camel safari. On the banks of the River Shayok and Siachen Confluence is where the hotel is situated.
- Hunder Resort :
The attitude and culture of its surroundings are reflected in Hunder Resort, which offers exceptional hospitality to all of its visitors. The hotel has raised the standard for services much above what its customers would have anticipated thanks to the seamless integration of contemporary décor in the opulent surroundings. Customer experience is unrivalled because to the concept of anticipatory, intuitive service.
- Alchi Kitchen :
Alchi Kitchen is the ideal location to sample regional cuisine while on vacation in Ladakh, including delectable Sku, Thukpa, Chutagi, Momo, and Khambir. The restaurant is known for delivering classic flavours with a contemporary twist and has a cosy atmosphere. The classic setting with a captivating outlook is perfect for a classy rest. The restaurant was the first in Ladakh to provide culinary courses for traditional cuisine.
- Lamayuru Restaurant :
Lamayuru Restaurant might be a lifesaver if you're a vegetarian vacationing in the Leh Ladakh area because you can organise your meals there. This affordable eatery delivers pleasant service and delectable food. You may sample Tibetan, Chinese, and Indian cuisine here, but visitors to one of the greatest restaurants in Leh prefer Indian specialties.
- Sky Wok Restaurant :
In Leh Ladakh, there is a multi-cuisine café and restaurant called Sky Wok. It offers a cosy atmosphere. If you have a hankering for Chinese, Tibetan, Thai, Italian, local, or even fast cuisine, this location will satisfy it, along with a selection of beverages. The eatery is open all year round. You have the option of sitting inside or on the rooftop, which offers a stunning view of the main market and the nearby mountains. Hence, your hunt for the greatest cafés in Leh Ladakh is over now.
- Penguin Garden Restaurant :
Penguin Garden Restaurant, which is perched at a tranquil corner across congested Old Fort Road, is perfect for peace seekers who want to spend time in cosy settings while savouring delectable dishes from their menu, which has a predominance of Asian and Indian cuisine. As the name indicates, the location's greenery inspires you to take wonderful family photos. It is ideal for big parties who want additional room during meals.
- Tibetan Kitchen :
Another well-known eatery in Leh Ladakh to satisfy your hunger for Tibetan cuisine is Tibetan Kitchen, which is tucked away in peaceful surroundings. There are indoor and outdoor seating choices at the restaurant. Here, you can enjoy delicious meals and even romantic candlelit dinners for two. Here, you may visit with your travelling group and sample genuine Tibetan cuisine. Make careful to secure tickets in advance if you are travelling during a popular time of year.