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
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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