Likir Gompa

Buddhist Monastery in Likir

Though founded in 1065, this monastery’s current incarnation originated in the 15th century. The first prayer hall to the right on entry has seats allocated for both the Dalai Lama and his brother, Likir’s honorary head lama. After two more colourful prayer halls you climb to the crammed, one-room rooftop museum. The gompa is backed by a giant 20th-century Maitreya statue whose golden paint gleams dazzlingly in the sunshine.

Several prayer halls are open to the public but you might need to ask specially to get into the small Zimchung Temple, where till recently a fairly modest chamber was the used by the Dalai Lama during visits. The museum has a selection of moth-eaten thankas, weapons, chain mail and naively labelled curiosities.

For great photos of the gompa complex framed between barley fields and old chortens, descend for 10 minutes on the rocky footpath signed to the Old Likir Guesthouse.