Likir Monastery is located on the Leh Srinagar National Highway and it is one of the oldest monasteries of the region. This well-maintained monastery is snuggled in the Likir Village and is been into existence since the 11th century. The monastery accommodates a 75 feet tall statue of Buddha which is a sight to behold.
The original name of the Likir Monastery is Klu-kkhyil gompa. The Likir Monastery got its name from the serpent as Likir means Naga encircled. It is believed that there were two serpents named Nanda and Taksako who guarded the monastery. Likir Monastery is one of the oldest and most visited monasteries of the Ladakh region. There are several stories of its existence and origin. The guardian of the Likir Monastery is the Yellow Hat Sect or the Gelugpa sect of Buddhists. The Tsongkhapa was believed to the founder of this monastery.
Structure of the monastery
Likir Monastery is dotted with beautiful wall paintings, stone relics, murals, and art crafts. It is a perfect place to witness the cultural and traditional heritage of Buddhism. There is a school inside the monastery which is run by the Central Institute of Buddhist Studies. There is a library as well which is open for the public. Visitors can read old manuscripts and learn about Buddhism. The monastery comprises two assembly halls, a central courtyard where six rows are for lamas and a throne for head Lama. There is one room which is a Gonkhang and is dedicated to the divinities who have guarded the monastery.
The architecture of Likir Monastery
Likir Monastery is one of the oldest and well-maintained monasteries of the region. It is perched on the hill in Likir Village. This monastery comprises a 75 feet tall Buddha statue that offers an enchanting view. This monastery is white-colored with the red roof and accommodates some of the most beautiful wall paintings and murals. It is a perfect place to learn about the culture and principles of Buddhism.
There is a central courtyard and the main assembly hall which is also known as a Dukhang, both sides of the entrance are painted with the Guardians of the Four Directions. The hall comprises a statue of Bodhisattva, Amitabha, three large statues of Sakyamuni, Maitreya along with Tsong Khapa, and founder of the yellow-hat sect. The walls are lined with glass bookcases containing the Kandshur (the 108 volumes of the Buddha's teachings) and the Tandshur (the 225-volume commentary on the Kandshur).
The new Dukhang is a 200-year structure and the walls of the hall comprise the murals which shows the different ways in which lamas wear their robes while the right wall shows how lamas should behave in a Gompa. The Dukhang also consists of an image of Avalokitesvara with 1,000 arms and eleven heads. The room of the head lama is known as Zinchun which is situated on the first floor of the monastery. Dalai Lama stays in this room when he visits Likir. It is characterized by images of various lamas. The most striking are the images of the 21 Manifestations of the White Tara as each image is adorned with rich fabric.
How to Reach Likir Monastery
There are two major routes to reach Likir Monastery. One is from the Manali-Leh route (473 km) and the other is from the Srinagar-Leh route (434 km). The first route remains open from July to September while the other route remains open from June to October. People can choose the option of self-driving or they can also hire a taxi from Leh. Alternatively, you can catch the local buses from Leh bus stand which runs from 5:30 AM to 3:30 PM between Leh and Likir.
Best Time to visit Likir Monastery
The best time to visit the Likir Monastery is during the summer season when the place is accessible. Then during the winter season, the place is inaccessible as the roads get blocked due to the heavy snowfall. There is an annual event held in the monastery namely Dosmochey which is being held in the monastery from the 27th to 29th day of the 12th month of Tibetan Calendar and falls during the February mid every year. It is a good time to delve into the cultural and traditional heritage of the region.
Places to visit near Likir Monastery
The Likir Monastery is situated on the Leh-Srinagar highway and is situated in the proximity of several famous tourist attractions. The places to visit near the Likir Monastery are Alchi Monastery, Leh, Hemis National Park, Lamayuru, Magnetic Hill, Confluence of Zanskar River and Indus River, etc. People can also enjoy the river rafting in the Zanskar River during the summer season.
Likir Monastery Timings: It is open on all days from 09:00 am to 01:00 pm and from 02:00 pm to 06:00 pm
Likir Monastery Entry fee: INR 5 to 10 per person