Located 20 kms to the east of Leh. It is also spelt as Tikse, Thiksay or Thikse. This is a hilltop monastery on the road to Hemis, north of River Indus. Around eighty monks live in Thiksey Monastery. One of the main points of interest is the Maitreya Temple introduced to celebrate the visit of the fourteenth Dalai Lama to this monastery in 1970; it contains a 15 meters (49 ft) high statue of Maitreya, the biggest such statue in Ladakh, covering two stories of the building.
History of Thiksey Monastery:
Sherab Zangpo built a monastery at Stakmo. His nephew, Paldam Sherab, shifted it to Thiksey. The gompa is said to dated around 11th century. In the 15th century the monastery was part of the Ge Lugs Pa order.
Interior of Thiksey Monastery
Thiksey is one the biggest gompas in Ladakh, with some of the architecture in the land. Its walls highlights Thangkas. Most of the paintings in the DuKhang are of ferocious deities.
Exteriors of Thiksey Monastery
This twelve-storey gompa has ten temples, a chomo gompa(nunnery) and residence for sixty to a hundred monks. If you accept this as a genuine hearsay it must certainly be the oldest extant one in the world. It has a huge pillar on which Lord Budhha’s teachings have been engraved. In addition to the usual idols, chortens, wall paintings and thankas, the monastery also has a collection of mediaeval swords. Its library is one of the best in Ladakh. A multi-denominational gompa was constructed at Thiksey in the 1970s.
The gompa sits majestically atop a hill. It commands a grand view of the green Indus valley.
Festivals in Thiksey Monastery
The annual festival held in Thiksey Gompa is known as the Gustor ritual, which is held from the 17th to 19th day of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar (October–November). Sacred dances such as the mask dance or Cham Dance are performed as a part of this ritual. Another special feature is the trade fair held at the base of the monastery, in which villagers from all over Ladakh assemble to exchange and trade items and socialize with other traders. Sand mandalas are made for smaller festivals. The morning prayers at 7 am, with synchronized chanting of the Buddhist sūtras at this monastery, attract many worshipers to observe the services. Facilities such as medical clinic, hotel & restaurant, souvenir shops and so forth are available at Thiksey. A fee of 20 rupees is charged for entry to the monastery.
Close to Thiksey are ruins of Nyarma, a monastery and seminary founded be the great 10th century scholar Rinchen (b)Zangpo. It’s a pity that these ruins are today just a pile of rubble, because the Nyarma seminary has an extremely important place in the history of Ladakhi Buddhism, partly because of its antiquity and partly because of its founder.