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Shey Monastery or the Shey Palace is an ancient monastery located 15km from Leh. It once served as the summer capital of Ladakh but is mostly in ruins now. Located on top of a hillock, it offers stunning panoramic views. The highlight of the monastery is 39ft tall Shakyamuni Buddha statue which is the second largest Buddha statue in Jammu & Kashmir. A special permission needs to be taken to visit the monastery.
Shey Monastery is often visited along with the surrounding Thiksey Monastery, Hemis Monastery, Stakna Monastery, and Matho Monastery. The monastery complex is adorned with various murals and rock carvings of Buddha. 400 metre away is anothe rshrine which houses the Shakyamuni Statue in the sitting posture. The best time to visit the monastery is during Shey Rhupla and Shey Doo Lhoo festival celebrated in July or August. The Shey Palace was built in 1655 by Deldan Namgyal, the king of Ladakh, in memory of his father.
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