One of the most beautiful and memorable monasteries I visited in Ladakh is the Thiksey monastery. Even though, I had to get up really early, the visit to the monastery remains close to my heart because of the prayers we attended in the morning.
For more pictures from Ladakh, read my post the picture perfect Ladakh.
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About Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh. It is situated about 20 kilometers from Leh. The monastery is also referred to as ‘Mini Potala’ as it is a replica of the Potala Palace in Tibet. The 12 storey monastery is situated on top of a hill and is famous for its 2 storey statue of Maitreya (the future Buddha).
How did the Thiksey monastery get its name?
According to one of the local guides of Ladakh, there is a very interesting story about how Thiksey monastery got its name:
Jangsem Sherab Zangpo and his disciple Palden Sherab were offering prayer services with a ritual cake about three kilometers from where the Thiksey monastery is. A crow flew away with the cake. When they searched, they found the ritual cake in perfect order at the top of the hillock. They believed it is an auspicious sign to build a monastery at this place. Hence the monastery got its name “Thiksey” meaning in perfect order.
Thiksey monastery during morning prayers
One of the best opportunities that I got in Ladakh was to visit the Thiksey monastery during the morning prayers. The chanting and the sounds of drums and horns by the lamas was a different kind of an experience that I had never witnessed. The youngest lama was 3 years old and it was a delightful sight to see this cute lama participating the morning prayers with the older lamas. I highly recommend visiting the monastery to see and witness the prayers, its absolute divine.
- Best time to visit Thiksey for morning prayers: 6 AM.
- Entry fee: Rupees 30.
- Distance from Leh: ~20 kilometers.
- More details on their official website. My visit to the monastery was arranged by the tour group Trails with Tales that I visited with.
My most favourite moment of the morning prayers is of two cute young lamas (kids in the below picture).
The lama on the left looked at me curious to see what I was doing with my big heavy camera. I looked at the kid and made a gesture with my right hand to smile. Instantly in no time he had a smile for the camera and even told his friend sitting next to him to look at the camera and smile.
It was such a cute reaction and it shows kids are cute and innocent no matter where and what they are.
This was the highlight of my Ladakh trip and will always remain as one. It was such a nice and beautiful moment to see the prayers and see the cute little lamas. Have you been to Thiksey monastery? Let me know in the comments below.