Thiksey Gompa

sights / Religious

Thiksey Gompa information

Prices
admission ₹30, video ₹100
Opening hours
6am-1pm & 1.30-6pm, festival Oct/Nov
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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.