Thiksay Monastery (transcribed as Tikse, Tiksey or Thiksey)
Biggest gompa in central Ladakh and is also known for its resemblance to the Potala Palace.
The Monastery is situated at a height of 3,600 meters (11,800 ft) in the Indus Valley. It is located on top of a hill approx 19 Kms east of Leh. Thiksey Monastery is a twelve-story complex and houses numerous things of Buddhist craftsmanship, for example, stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. 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.
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 worshippers 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.