Sky High Treks and Tours
Shey, Thiksey, Chemrey, Takthok Monasteries
Driving east along the Indus Valley, Shey and Thiksey monasteries are about 30 minutes from Leh. Chemrey and Takthok monasteries lie on the road from Karu to Pangong Lake about one hour from Leh.

Shey Monastery, about 15km south of Leh in the ancient capital of Ladakh was built in the memory of King Sengge Namgyal by his son Deldan Namgyal in 1633 CE. The huge statue of Buddha Sakyamuni, made of gilded copper sheets, is the largest metal status in Ladakh. A large bowl of wax with a central flame, symbolizing divinity and purity, is placed in front of the Buddha statue and burns continuously for one year before being replaced. The lower story has a large library and is decorated with murals depicting Buddha with various hand gestures. There are also some exquisite murals on the second story.

Statue of Maitreya Buddha at Thiksey
Statue of Maitreya Buddha at Thiksey
Thiksey Gompa, with its 30m-high gilded statue of Maitreya Buddha, the Buddha of the future, is one of the most beautiful monasteries of Ladakh. This monastery of the Gelukpa order was founded in 1430 CE by Spon Paldan Sherab, nephew of Sherab Zangpo.

Approximately 40km east of Leh, Chemrey Gompa of the Drugpa order was founded by Lama Tagsang Raschen in the 17th century as a memorial to King Sengge Namgyal. The major attraction is its one-story high image of Padmasambhava, but the monastery also holds a precious collection of scriptures written in silver and gold.

Takthok Monastery is situated in Sakti Village, about 6 km east further on from Chemrey. The monastery is built on the site that once served as the meditation cave of Mahasidhas "Kunga Phuntsog". Takthok belongs to the Nying-ma-pa sect of Buddhism, also known as the Old Order, and is probably the only Gompa in Ladakh that follows this order. Behind images of Padme Sambhava and Avalokitesvara there is a small cave believed to the place where Padme Sambhava lived and meditated for three years. Murals of guardian divinities adorning the entrance to the main assembly hall are only displayed during the annual festival. The throne inside the hall is reserved solely for the Dalai Lama. Also inside the hall are the statues of Maitreya (the Future Buddha or Buddha of Compassion), Padmasambhava and Dorje Takposal (a manifestation of Padmasambhava).

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