Among so many things that Ladakh is famous for, one is the monasteries. If you haven’t been to Ladakh, then it is worth knowing that the monasteries in Ladakh are fascinating places to visit. One of them is Thiksey Monastery which is situated at the altitude of 3,600m inThiksey village. It is one of the most famous and largest monasteries in Ladakh.
The monastery which is painted in ochre, red and white blends well with the surrounded landscapes. After seeing it for the first time, a person might get surprised with the same resemblance it has with Potala Palace in Tibet. Visit the monastery can be the rewarding experience. It offers the best opportunity for exploration and sightseeing. If you are planning a trip to Ladakh, then Thiksey Monastery is must explore.
History of Monastery
You might have thought about its history and why it is called so? As per the famous tale, Jangsem Sherab Zangpo (Tibetan Buddhist Monk in the 15th century) along with the disciple PaldenSherabwas offering the prayers with the ritual cake at the place which was situated about 3 km away from where the Monastery today stands. Surprisingly, a crow grabbed the cake and grew from there. After searching for it, they found the cake placed at the hillock top in the same condition as it was.
Buddhists believed this to be the auspicious sign and decided to build a monastery at the same spot. The name, ‘Thiksey’ which means ‘perfect order’ is derived from this in which the crow placed the cake.
What to explore inside the monastery?
Visit the place will leave you with the beautiful memories. Apart from sightseeing and exploration, it is also the great place to learn about some of the facts of Buddhism. The monastery is the home to ten temples, besides the one for nunnery, monks, assembly hall, etc. At the main entrance, you’ll be greeted by the protector deity statue. From here, you may enjoy the magnificent views of Indus Valley floodplains.
One of the primary attractions inside the Monastery is Maitreya Buddha. The statue is two stories tall and is also the best piece of architecture. Some of the other attractions which will interest you are Lamokhang Temple and Tara Temple. There’s also another temple which has the images of Lord Buddha engraved on it.
Festivals at Monastery
On the visit to Thiksey Monastery, you must not miss the chance to attend Gustor Festival. This is the festival which takes place annually from 17th to 19th day of the ninth month as per the Tibetan calendar.
As a tourist, you’ll find the different rituals of the festival extremely delightful and interesting. One of all is the mask dance which is also called Cham dance. Performers wearing masks delight the audiences with the gracious dance moves.
One must know that the dance is performed only by the lamas. The festival ends with by burning the effigy which is the evil symbol.
Best time to visit
You may visit the Thiksey Monastery from 7 AM to 7 PM throughout the week. The best months for the visit are October and November. After this month, the place remains closed and again get open in the month of May. Try to visit the place early in the morning to witness the morning prayers.
Entry Fees of Thiksey Monastery
The fee is Rs. 20 for both the foreigners and locals. There are no additional charges for photography.
Opening and Closing Time
The place remains open from 7 AM to 7 PM all the days of the week. However, if you want to experience morning prayers, make sure to visit the place early in the morning.