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Thiksey Monastery

In central part of the Ladakh District, Thiksey Monastery is one of the largest Monasteries. It is perched nearly 18 kms from Leh in the Indus valley at an elevation of 3,600 meters. The Gelugpa sect which is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastery is situated at the hilltop. The Monastery is well-known for its architecture and its scene.  This 12 storied Monastery includes assembly hall, 10 temples and residence for about 120 monks and nunnery. The Monastery buildings are planned in a hierarchal order.

The monastery is also known as ‘Mini Potala’ of India as it resembles the Palace of Potala which is in Lhasa, Tibet. In this Monastery, there is one large statue which is of Maitreya (future Buddha) that covers about two floors of the Monastery. The height of this statue is 40 feet and it was established in the year 1970, to memorialize the visit of the 14th Dalai Lama. Tara temple dedicated to Goddess Tara is one of the chief attractions for the tourist. Other than exploring the Monastery, the visitors can also find several rare and valuable stupas, thangkas, statues, swords and wall paintings in the Monastery.

Due to its vicinity to Leh, the prayer of the morning at the Monastery magnetizes huge masses. The Monastery gives a clear and magnificent view of some Monasteries like Matho, Stok and Shey. The Indus Valley can also be viewed from here. Celebration of festivals is an additional attraction for the tourists, Buddhists and locals in Thiksey Monastery.

Inside the complex of the Monastery there is also a nunnery, run by the administration of the Monastery. Thiksey Monastery is also significant as it works for the betterment of the Buddhist nuns. A land is donated by the Monastery for a new nunnery which is at Nyerma near to the Thiksey Monastery, at the very place where the first Monastic seat was built. It was built by Rinchen Zangpo who was a Tibetan translator of the 10th century. The nunnery is presently under the support of the Thiksey Monastery. At present the nunnery consists of 26 nuns of different ages from 43 to 87.

At the uppermost floor of the Monastery there is a temple called the Lamokhang temple. It is also a repository which houses various volumes of scriptures which includes Stangyur and Kangyur. In this floor, only males are permitted to enter. A huge pillar carved with the teachings of Buddha is also located here. A tiny room on top of the temple is fully used like a school room to teach the boys from the nearby villages and out of those some are chosen as Lamas.


The history of the Thiksey Monastery belongs to Jangsem Sherab Zangpo and Palden Sherab who was one of his followers. One day, as they were praying along with a ritual cake at a place which is nearly 3 kms away from the place where the Thiksey Monastery is situated today, a crow came and flew with their ritual cake. When they were searching here and there suddenly, they found that the piece of cake was placed at the top of a hill in just the right order. They believed that it was a positive sign to construct a Monastery at that place. In this way, the Monastery got its name as Thiksey Monastery. The word Thiksey means ‘in just the right order’ as the cake was placed in just the right order by the crow.


Thiksey Monastery is one of the biggest structures in the central part of Ladakh. Perched on a hilltop, the Monastery’s building is organized in an ascending order of significance and are well spaced, from the bottom of the hill accommodating the dwelling chambers to the hilltop setting up the Potang which is chief Lama’s official residence and the Monasteries. The architecture of Thiksey Monastery robustly resembles The Palace of Potala in Lhasa, Tibet was Dalai Lama’s earlier official seat. This architecture also resembles Tibetan and Ladakhi architecture. The Monastery complex at the bottom of the hill has a courtyard from where we can go upstairs to the main area of the Monastery. In height the Monastery is 12-storied. It includes two key chambers. The monastery includes 60 lamas and is painted in white, red and ochre. This Monastery was constructed in the central Tibetan style and was also built like a fort Monastery.

Reaching There

Thiksey Monastery is nearly 18 kms away from Leh and it takes only 30-40 kms drive from Leh to reach there. Jammu & Kashmir bus services provides service from Srinagar to Leh (700 kms) and Manali to Leh (474 kms) which takes 2 days. Jeep services are also accessible. Many airline services operate regularly from Leh to Delhi. From Leh airport to the town, the taxi will cost about Rs 1000/- . From Leh, Jammu is the closest railway station. The distance is nearly 734 kms from Leh.

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