The monastery is located at an altitude of 3,600 meters (11,800 ft) in the Indus Valley. It is a twelve-story complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. One of the main points of interest is the Maitreya Temple installed to commemorate the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970; it contains a 15 meters (49 ft) high statue of Maitreya, the largest such statue in Ladakh, covering two stories of the building.
It was noon by the time we finished our tour of the monastery and headed back to Shey Palace. The Shey Monastery or Gompa and the Shey Palace complex are structures located on a hillock in Shey, 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) to the south of Leh in Ladakh, northern India on the Leh-Manali road. Shey was the summer capital of Ladakh in the past. The palace, mostly in ruins now, was built first in 1655, near Shey village, by the king of Ladakh, Deldan Namgyal, also known as Lhachen Palgyigon. It was used as a summer retreat by the kings of Ladakh.
The Shey Monastery was also built in 1655 on the instructions of Deldan Namgyal, in the memory of his late father, Singay Namgyal, within the palace complex. The monastery is noted for its giant copper with gilded gold statue of a seated Shakyamuni Buddha. Shakyamuni Buddha is so named since Buddha was the sage (muni) of the Sakya people who resided in the Himalayan foothills and their capital was Kapilvastu. It is said to be the second largest such statue in Ladakh.
I suggest that this one can be missed, since we were there so we fitted it in our itinerary of local sightseeing, had a quick tour of the palace and started towards Stok.
We visited the Stok Monastery. Stok Monastery or Stok Gompa is a Buddhist monastery in Stok, Leh district, Ladakh, northern India, 15 kilometres south of Leh.It was founded by Lama Lhawang Lotus in the 14th Century and has a notable library including all 108 volumes of the Kangyur. A ritual dance-mask festival is held annually. Around 2km from the monastery is Stok Palace, built in 1820 and it’s still the summer home of Ladakhi royalty from the Namgyal dynasty of Ladakh. There they have a tour of the Monastery which gives an insight of the past years depicting about their culture, way of living and artifacts from ancient time put on display.
Built entirely by the Ladakhi craftsmen in 1820, the Stok Palace still continues to be a snug abode for the Namgyal dynasty. The Namgyal dynasty traces its origin to its founder –Lhachen Palgygon as early as 10th century. You are entering a historical property and the Palace stands 195 years old. The Stok Palace was opened to public in 1980 with blessings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and since it’s been over a decade and visitors continues to pour from all over the World. It encapsulates and reflects the lifestyle and history of Royalties set in the midst of the valley of Singey Sangpo which is known more popularly as Indus River.
Preserved from urbanity, this pristine natural landscape allows you to relax in serene atmosphere, pregnant with the delicious aroma of the country side and amazing views all around and takes the visitors through the imagery experience, detailing the softness of Snow, the brilliance of sunlight, billowing clouds, wandering pathways, and picturesque local architecture. As with anything embracing the grandeur and beauty of nature, the landscapes achieve a sense of timelessness; they envelop the echoes and silence of eons gone by. So come and enjoy the fine dining experience prepared from the family kitchen products coming from the local market and village. You can enjoy the pleasures of healthy and natural Ladakhi, Tibetan and Indian food.
After a heady tour of the Stok Palace which has been turned into a luxury Hotel now we headed back to Leh, with foodies of our group feeling hungry and a tour of Bazaar which resulted in zilch, we landed back at Changspa to eat and some of us reached our Guest House. Too much of activity owing to past few days we sat relaxing waiting for others to come back after finishing their lunch which was pay past a normal Lunch time.
It was evening by the time they walked in as we all sat in the Lobby having tea, Abid our coordinator at Leh paid us a visit to bid us goodbye as we were to leave the next day for our journey back to Delhi. We had a good time spent with him discussing about our trip so far, giving him inputs about generally an awesome experience minus the one we had at Pangong, sun was out and sky started to turn dark and we decided to enjoy our last night at Leh for the time being, rounds of drinks started with regular chit chat. Dinner was served, we all ate feeling little heavy at leaving such pristine naturally beautiful destination. With the inevitable sadness we retired to our rooms, some of us doing the last minute packing. Our target was to leave next day early around 8:30 am heading off to Sarchu. Thus by 11:30 PM we were in bed. As I was ready to sleep with vivid memories of the beautiful creation of the Almighty, I could not resist humming a song from the movie “The Burning Train” which was inspired by an Urdu Christian Prayer composed by ever great RD Burman “Teri Hai Zameen Tera Aasmaan…Tu Bada Meherbaan. Tu Bakshish kar… Sabhi Ka hai tu… Sabhi terey… Khuda Merey Tu Bakshish Kar” The prayer gets me nostalgic too as I recall singing it to Aarav as a bedtime lullaby when he was a little kid memories………