Weather :

Time Required : 2 to 3 hours

Elevation : 3700 m

Distance from Leh : 52 kms

Established in : 1065 AD

Built By : Lama Duwang Chosje
Established during the reign on Lhachen Gyalpo, the fifth king of Ladakh

Entry Fees : INR 30 per person

Timings : 6:00 AM - 1:00 PM and 1:30 PM - 6:00 PM

Likir Gompa, Leh Ladakh Overview

The Likir Monastery is the oldest monastery in Ladakh, located around 52 km from Leh in the scenic Likir village. Belonging to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, the main attraction here is a 75 feet large seated statue of Maitreya Buddha gilded in gold. There are also various paintings of guardian divinities, murals and thangkas that adorn the walls of assembly halls.

The monastery is the seat of Ngari Rinpoche, the youngest brother of Dalai Lama. ‘Likir’ means ‘The Naga-Encircled’ which represents the bodies of two great serpent spirits- Nanda and Taksako. It is believed that these serpents had guarded the monastery. 

Currently, there's a school inside the Likir Monastery run by the Central Institute of Buddhist studies and a library open to visitors where old manuscripts, volumes and books on Buddhism and the teachings of Tsong Khapa are housed. A temple named Gonkhang is also present in the complex having images of Sakyamuni and Tsongkhapa. The annual Likir Monastery festival is the most enticing event which includes Cham dance performed by lamas and an exhibition of monastery collection.

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Architecture & Layout of Likir Monastery

Likir Monastery, perched on a hill in Likir village, is one of the oldest and well-maintained monasteries in the region. The white coloured buildings with red roofs and a huge 75 feet tall statue of Buddha offers a scintillating view. With wall paintings, art and crafts, the monastery perfectly showcases the principles and culture of Buddhism.

To the right of the central courtyard, there is the main assembly hall or Dukhang. Both sides of the entrance are painted with the Guardians of the Four Directions. There is also a painting of a Wheel of Life mandala held by Yama. The hall has six rows of seats for the lamas and a throne for the head. It also contains statues of Bodhisattva, Amitabha, three large statues of Sakyamuni, Maitreya along with Tsong Khapa, founder of the yellow-hat sect. The walls are lined with glass bookcases containing the Kandshur (the 108 volumes of the Buddha's teachings) and the Tandshur (the 225-volume commentary on the Kandshur).

In the new Dukhang, which is around 200 years old, the left wall shows different ways in which lamas wear their robes while the right wall shows how lamas should behave in a gompa. There is also an image of Avalokitesvara with 1,000 arms and eleven heads. The head lama’s room, known as Zinchun, is on the first floor of the monastery. When Dalai Lama visits Likir, he stays in this room. It is characterized by images of various lamas. The most striking are the images of the 21 Manifestations of the White Tara as each image is adorned with rich fabric.

How to Reach Likir Monastery

There are two major routes to reach Likir Monastery by road- Manali-Leh route (473 km) and Srinagar-Leh route (434 km). The first route remains open from July to September while the other route remains open from June to October. Self-driving or hiring a taxi is the best option. Alternatively, you can hop on to local buses which run from 5:30 AM to 3:30 PM between Leh and Likir.

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