September 13, 2011

Hemis & Thiksey Monastery

Today is the day of local sight seeing; agenda was to visit Hemis, thiksey monastery and shey palace. But to due rain and our body rejected to climb so many steps in low oxygen; we could only visit Hemis & Thiksey Monastery.

Hemis Monastery is the largest in Ladakh and it belongs to Drukpa Lineage. It has more than 200 branches in the Himalayas and more than 1000 monks under its care. It was re-established in 1672 by Ladakhi King. It was existed before 11th of century.

Monastery walls are filled with mural paintings. Hemis festival is held in early June in the honor of Lord Padmasambhava.

Thiksey Monastery was built in 1433 and is situated on hillock over looking Indus Valley. It is a 12-storey complex and houses many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thankas, wall paintings and swords.
It was lunch time when we reached here. Had lunch and decided to climb several zig zag steps. Otherwise and at other places it is not much difficult but due to cold and less oxygen; after 4-5 steps breathing becomes heavy. One thought came in mind to give up and go back. But I heard someone saying there is a huge statue in the monastery which is must see. And I stared climbing the steps.
It was worth the efforts. The magnificent 15 meters high statue of Maitreya was covering two storeys of the building. View from above was breathtaking.

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