Do you love to visit monasteries? If yes, then travelling to Thiksey would give you the ultimate experience. There is a set of travelers who only visit Leh Ladakh to explore these monasteries. This place would be new for most of you. It is situated 19 km (approx.) before Leh on the Manali-Leh highway in Indus Valley. If you are travelling to Ladakh, then it is a must-visit This key. The main attraction to see in Thiksey is Monastery. There are tons of monasteries in Ladakh, but the monastery in Thiksey is the tourist’s main attraction. If this place is new to you and you wish to explore some more details regarding it, then here is the comprehensive guide that will help you plan your visit to Thiksey monastery.
About Thiksey Monastery
It is one of the largest structures in Ladakh, and it has a Maitreya temple on its campus. It is a 12-story structure that consists of 10 temples, a nunnery, and a monk’s home. Apart from this, it also has a separate set of apartments for females. This monastery is located in a beautiful place with a stunning surrounding view. If you are booking any Leh Ladakh tour package, then make sure to include this one as well.
History of Thiksey Monastery
The founder of Gelug school Je Tsongkhapa was known to send six disciples to his teaching across Tibet in the 15th century. As a part of this process, one of the disciples was situated at Stango, which later on upgraded to a bigger complex. It took approximately half a century for this upgradation process. It is said that a few crows grabbed the torma offerings while performing prayers and spread across the valley. Some of the monks came to search these tormas, and they found them on the opposite side of the valley. This location is known as Thiksey. A monastery was set up there later, and they also renamed the village Thiksey.
Reasons to Visit Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey Monastery is the prime attraction for people travelling to Leh Ladakh. Here the buildings are structured in hierarchical order. It is also known as Mini Potala as it looks similar to Potala palace based in Lhasa. The major attraction here is the 40feet height statue of Buddha, which is also known as Maitreya. It almost covers two floors of the monastery. Another attraction for visitors here is the Tara temple. Apart from the temples, you can also find some great statues, thangkas, wall paintings, stupas, and swords in the monastery. This monastery offers a clear view of the Indus valley and other monasteries in Ladakh, such as Matho, Stok, and Shey.
How to reach Thiksey Monastery
This key town is based on the Manali Leh highway. You would need to reach Leh first. You can reach here by flight, or you can also drive from Manali Leh highway. Once you reach Choglamsar, you would need to catch the bus for Thiksey. These buses are available at 15 minutes intervals. It takes about an hour to reach Thiksey by bus. If you are not comfortable with the bus, then you can also choose to travel by cab. You can reach within 35 to 40 minutes.
Entry Fees and Timings for Thiksey Monastery
The entry fees for Thiksey Monastery are INR.30 (approx.), which is applicable for both Indian and foreign nationals. The monastery is open from 7 AM till 7 PM. Also, it is only open for visitors between May to November. Rest of the month, it remains closed to tourists. Make sure you wear proper, well-conservative clothes as too many revealing clothes are prohibited.
Places to visit around Thiksey Monastery
Apart from the monastery, you can also explore some of the amazing places around Thiksey. If you love to go camping and get a foldable tent, you can definitely visit Pangong Tso. It is a beautiful lake, and you must have seen it in many Bollywood movies. You can also enjoy the Yak Safari in Leh. If you love to trek, then here you got the option at Chadar Trek. Buddhist Thangka House, Ladakh Art Palace, Leh Main Market are the best places for shopaholics. If you wish to explore some adventurous activities, then visiting Khardung La Pass could be the best option for you.
Festivals at Thiksey Monastery
One of the big festivals celebrated in Thiksey is Gustor. It is a two days event that is highly popular in Ladakh. It begins with Torma Indicating an evil force, sacrificial cake preparation, and cake cutting is done by the monk, indicating the end of evil. This cake is then distributed among all the worshippers. This festival is generally celebrated in October or November, depending upon the Tibetan calendar. During this festival, the monastery residents dress up and wear masks to perform a Chham dance. This performance is dedicated to the victory of good. Another event celebrated in this festival is the re-enactment procedure of King Lang Darma from the 9th century.
Places to eat at Thiksey Monastery
At Thiksey Monastery, you would find two cafes in the complex itself. The first one is situated on the rooftop where you can experience the beautiful view while the other is situated near the parking area. Apart from these cafes, you can also find a restaurant located in Hotel Chamba in the village. While traveling to Thiksey, you can also munch on roadside delicacies at various dhabas. Here you will get a chance to explore the local Tibetan food such as Thupka and noodles.
Tips for visiting Thiksey Monastery
Try to get into the Monastery early in the morning since monks perform many beautiful rituals.
Carry the sunscreen with you as you will be travelling at the top where direct exposure to sunlight and your skin can get damaged.
Always carry water bottles with you while travelling since you tend to get dehydrated even when you are in the colder regions.
The next tip is for the ones who suffer from acute mountain sickness. The lack of oxygen at the top can certainly cause serious issues, and hence it is important to take the necessary medications and you for an emergency.
About connectivity, you can find good network coverage of Airtel postpaid and BSNL.
For accommodation, you can find various options. You can either stay at the monastery, which provides excellent services at very nominal charges. Here they will only serve vegetarian food.
If you are looking for hotels, you can find luxurious hotels at the hill base equipped with all the modern amenities. At hotels, you can relish Indian as well as Tibetan food.
That was quite a long brief about your next tour to Thiksey Monastery. So, plan your Ladakh holiday Package as per this information to make the most of your journey. We recommend doing your research well in advance about the places around you will be visiting and the places where you will be staying to avoid last-minute issues. Apart from the accommodation, you can also research your mode of travelling at your convenience. Also, make sure to carry all the essentials with you while travelling as sometimes it could be difficult to find the necessities at a new place.