Spituk Gompa , Monastery, Leh, Ladakh

Spituk Gompa, monastery  is located at a distance of 8 km from the town of Leh ,  is perched on a high hill overlooking the Indus river. The name “Spituk”, meaning exemplary, a translator, Rinchen Zangpo, said that an exemplary religious community would develop here, thus give the name Spituk for the monastery. It was founded by Od-de, the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od in the 11th Century.

Spituk Gompa , Monastery, Leh, Ladakh

It was originally established as Kadampa school  after some time the monastery started functioning under Dharmaraja Takspa Bum – Lde Lama Lhawang Lotus  and introduced order of Tsongkhapa (Gelukpa), today the monastery functions under the Gelukpa order . Three  monasteries , Stok, Sankar and Saboo are the branches of Spituk Gompa all these monasteries are the successive reincarnations of Skyabsje Bakula Rinpoche.

Spituk Gompa Monastery Ladakh

Dukhang  the assembly hall is the main attraction of the gompa housing a high throne, reserved for Dalai Lama. The Chapel features images of  two chief disciples of Tsong-kha-pa and Lord Buddha.The large statue of Shakyamuni draws the first glance of the visitors. To the left of Shakyamuni is the statue of Guru Padmasambhava and to the right is the statue of the goddess Tara. The Gonkhang is the largest temple of the monastery and is dedicated to Kali Mata or Mahakala ,  in this temple there is a Six-Armed form of Mahakala, the White Guardian, the Brother and Sister, Khyitra on his dog and the Goddess on her horse.

Spituk Gompa has one of the fine collection of exquisite antiques such as ancient masks, thankas, antique arms and many more. Huge image of Lord Buddha and Amitayus which is about a finger high in length in the Gompa is very stunning.

Stupa at Spituk Gompa, Monastery Ladakh

Annual festival, known as the Spituk festival, is held here from 17th to 19th days of the eleventh month. There is another shrine, higher up the hill, known as the Mahakal Temple, dedicated to the deity of Vajrabhairava. It has a frightening face, which is unveiled only during the annual festival in January.

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Thikse Gompa, Leh , Ladakh

Thikse Gompa ( Monastery) is 19 km from Leh at an altitude 3600 meters from Sea , it is a Tibetan Buddhist Monastry establised in early 15th Centenary of Gelugpa School . It has a resemblance of Potala   Palace in Lahsa . It is a Twelve Story structure , built as a Fort Monastery it is the largest structure in Ladakh , its position is such that is gives excellent East and West view of Indus plains , Matho Gompa in the East, Royal Palace of Stok across the Indus and Shey Palace to the West have excellent views

Thikse Monastery Ladakh

The main attraction is fifteen meter tall Maitreya Buddha statue largest in Ladakh besides Buddhist art stupas, Thangkas, wall paintings and arms.  Sherab Sangpo one of the Six disciples of  Tsongkhapa founder of Gelugpa school carried bone powder and drop of blood of his Guru Tsongkhpa and a small statue of  Amitayus as a gift for king of  Ladakh in early 15th Centenary in 1433 with the help from King a small monastery in a village of Stagmo, to the north of the Indus river was shifted to this place , legend is when Sangpo  after the prayers, offering kept in a plate  were taken away by two  crows, later it was found the offerings with plate were lying at a stone   in an undisturbed condition , it was taken as a divine directive to build a monastery here . Thikse became prominent second to Hemis Monastery in Ladakh . Around 1770 the Lama of Hanle dictated that the elder son will be the King of Ladakh while the younger brothers will serve as Lamas at Thikse and Spituk Monasteries

Thikse , Beautifull roof

The main attractions are the Bhavachakra the wheal of Life  has insignia images of a snake, a bird and a pig that signify ignorance, attachment, and aversion . Next to this is the main assembly hall for prayers , a number of old manuscripts and hand painted collection of books along with 225 volumes of  Tangyur warped in silk are kept , it also have a Eleven headed Avalokitesvara with Padmasambhava . There are murals of Mahakal and Dukar  In the center of hall is a seat for His Holiness The Dalai Lama and on right is the seat of head of the monastery .

Two stories tall Maitreaya Budhha Statue at Thikse

A temple dedicated to Tara with 21 images , a small shrine of protector  deity of Thikse the Cham-spring ,  an image of the Buddha with two of his disciples and the deity Yamantaka can be seen. In the courtyard murals of   Tsong Khapa, the Buddha , the Padmasambhava , Palden Lahmo and Mahakal are there.

Only men are allowed to enter the top floor of the monastery  the Lamokhang temple above the temple  local boys from the villages near by are students , among them few are chosen as Lamas , there is also an Nunnery  located within the precincts of the monastery  is managed by the Monastery Administration. In Ladakh, nunneries were held in a grossly inferior status ,  In the 1990s, awareness was raised on the status of the nuns  to ensure a shift in their functional role of servitude and to one of true spiritual practice the Chief Lama, Thiksey Rinpoche of this Monastery was  important in the positive developments in the betterment of nuns.

Gustor Ritual is celebrated every year from 17th to 19th day of Ninth month of Tibetan calander which falls in October/November . Scared Mask Dance or Cham Dance is performed as a part of the ritual . Morning prayers are followed by chanting of Buddhist sutras , people from far villages gather and meet the other villagers, a trade fair is also held where locals barter trade items .

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