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Thiksey Monastery

Ronak Vora
According to legend, Sherab Zangpo and Palden Zangpo were performing some sacred rituals near the Yellow Temple. The torma offerings were then taken to a rock outcrop to be thrown down to the valley. As they were about to throw the torma into the valley, two crows appeared suddenly from somewhere and carried away the ceremonial plate with the offering of torma. They then placed the torma at a location on the other side of the hill. When Palden Zangpo and his disciples began looking for the torma, they reached Thiksey, where they found that the crow had placed the tormaon a stone in perfect order and in an undisturbed condition. Palden took this finding as a divine directive to build the monastery here.
Thiksey: Thiksey is on the same way from Leh to Hemis. It comes earlier and is just 19 Km from Leh town. We visited Thiksey on our way back. Built atop a hill in the Indus valley the ThiKsey monastery resembles the Potala palace of Lhasa in Tibet. It is the largest gompa in central Ladakh. It has separate quarters for female renunciates. It is a twelve story complex and houses a 43 ft. high statue of Maitreya Buddha(The Future Buddha) covering two stories of the building. It was installed to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970. It is a monastery of the Gelug (the yellow hat) sect of Tibetan Buddhism. We also visited the temple of Tara Devi inside the same complex. The goddess and her 21 images were in glass covered wooden enclosures.As we came down to the main courtyard we noticed another flight of stairs leading to a different section of the building. We were curios but unsure whether that part was restricted to visitors. As if to meet our query a Ladakhi family came down the stairs indicating that this section was not out of bounds. We reached a dark chamber leading another smaller temple dedicated to “chan-spring”- the protector deity of Thiksey. This part of the monastery dates back to the 10th century. The architecture was totally different with stone walls and a low ceiling made of wooden structures. The murals on the walls are faded, and some on the left wall have almost completely faded. The deity is accompanied by two other huge statues of Manjushri, the god of learning and wisdom, and Yamantaka, the god of death. It is not very hard to assume the antiquity of the place and the idols from the structure and decorations. Standing alone in that cold, dark, narrow prayer room once again I was wondering how ancient is our country, how old are these cultures, these civilizations and all the religions, beliefs, lifestyles that originated or came here and amalgamated here over the years while protecting their individual authenticity. We came back to the warmer courtyard and spent some time taking pictures of the valley beneath before starting the walk downhill back to our car.
Swati Keshri
Our batch was having 11 travellers with only one girl (me :P). First day was only for acclimatisation. I along with fellow travellers explored some places in Leh like Shanti stupa and Thiksey monastery. This was day 1.
This place is a must for all those seeking peace and calm. Climb to this peaceful land of monks and Buddha, and find your Self at the Thikse Monastery. 18kms away from Leh, once here, you’d come face to face with a gold plated statue of the Maitreya Buddha (the future Buddha).Located at the top of the hill, the spiritual vibrations can be felt from a distance. Out of excitement, you might start your ascent to the top by climbing more than 100 steps but there is a motorable road around the other way of the Monastery, which will take you right at its doorstep. So choice is yours, climb up or just drive up to serenity! At the Monastery, the painting and architecture is so fascinating. The 40-feet-high statue of Buddha covering almost two floors will just spellbind you and in the next moment, you’ll find yourself soaking in the serenity around. The Thiksey Monastery is 12-storeys high, has 10 temples, an assembly hall, and a nunnery. It is home to 120 monks. The morning prayers are so soulful and powerful; it’s blissful to be a part of these sacred mornings.