• Likir

  • Monastery in Ladakh


The Likir monastery stand 6 km north of the main Leh -Srinagar highway, a little before the village of Saspol. From Leh itself, the distance is 62 km in the western direction.

The Likir monastery stand 6 km north of the main Leh -Srinagar highway, a little before the village of Saspol. From Leh itself, the distance is 62 km in the western direction.

It was during the rule of the fifth king of Ladakh, Lhachen Gyalpo, that land was offered to Lama Duwang Chosje, an eminent advocate of meditation, to construct the monastery. The lama graced the land and the monastery came up in 1065 AD.

The monastery was enclosed by the bodies of the two great serpent spirits or the naga- rajas, Nanda and Taksako. Because of this, the name of the monastery became Likir or the Naga encircled. Initially, the monastery was associated with the Kadampa sect, however, the year 1470 saw a conversion by a central Tibetan monk Lawang Lotos. This coversion resulted in the monastery being brought under the Gelukspa Order of the great Lama Tsongkhapa.

The monastery, as it stands today, is not the original structure that was constructed in the 11th century. A fire destroyed the original temple, and in its place, a new structre was erected in the 18th century. Because of this the monastery does not gives an appearance of being very old. Clay Images of three Buddhas - "Marme Zat" (past), "Sakyamuni" (present) and "Maitreya" (Future) - dominate the Du-khang whereas the Gon-khang houses a statue of "Tse-Ta-Pa", the wrathful protector. Additionally, the impressive murals of "Yamantaka" and "Mahakala" too adorn the Gon-khang.

The monastery is also a repository of various old manuscripts, attractive collection of thankas, old religious and domestic costumes and implements. A huge Jupiter tree, amongst the few remaining ones of its species stands majestically in the courtyard.

Likir Monastery is not only large, it is pretty wealthy too. Around 100 monks reside in Likir and it also has another significant monastery, Alchi, as its branch.

The Likir Monastery celebrates its annual festival from the 27th to 29th of 12th Tibetan month. The festival sees votive offerings known as Dosmochey apart from the performance of the sacred dances. The festival will next be celebrated on February 15-16 2007.

Mangyu Monastery :
Amongst the earliest, the Mangyu complex comprises four chambers. Within the main temple is an image of the Vairocona, with the four Buddhas of the directions around him. The main temple is entered through exquisitely carved wooden doorway. The walls here have paintings of mandalas of Vairocana. Other belongings of the temple include rare thangkas (scroll paintings on the cloth) of the Panchen Lama, brought from Tibet
Rizong Monastery :
Renowned Lama Tsultim Nima laid the foundation of this monastery some 138 years ago. The monastery is located around 73 km away from Leh at a secluded place and is also known by the name of Yuma Changchubling about. The monastery is associated with Gelukpa order.
Alchi Monastery :
The Alchi monastery was established some thousand years back and has numerous miniature sized pictures and three huge clay images of Buddha as its prime attractions. The monastery was a thriving religious centre at one point of time, however, today, the monks at Likir monastery look after its running.