Thiksey Gompa information
Glorious Thiksey Gompa is one of Ladakh’s biggest and most recognisable monasteries. Covering a large rocky outcrop with layered Tibetan-style buildings, it’s a veritable monastic village incorporating shops, a school, restaurant and hotel. The main gompa starts with a prayer chamber containing a 14m-high Buddha whose expression is simultaneously peaceful, smirking and vaguely menacing. Smaller but much more obviously ancient is the Gonkhang and little rooftop library.
A museum hidden away beneath the monastery restaurant displays well-labelled Tantric artefacts including a wine-vessel made from a human skull. Notice the 10 weapons symbolically used to combat evil spirits.
Over 40 monks gather for morning chanted-prayers, lasting around two hours from 6am. It’s a fascinating ceremony and visitors are welcome, but it’s so popular that tourists often outnumber worshippers.
Pedestrian access is a steep climb from near Km455. By car it’s a 1.5km loop starting from Km454.2 where monastery-run Chamba Hotel has a restaurant with Ladakhi-style decor that makes a popular breakfast stop. The best rooms are unexpectedly plush with geyser-heated water. Simple courtyard rooms have en-suite squat toilets.
The monastery itself also has some guest rooms beneath the gompa museum.