Likir Gompa Monastery is situated at 52 km from Leh little away from Leh-Srinagar highway near Saspul village , it was built in the regime of King Lahchen Gyalpo in 1065 AD under the supervision of Lama Duwang Chosje of Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. New addition to the monastery was made in 1999AD is the 23 metre (75 ft) tall a statue made of gilded gold of Maitreya (the future) Buddha in sitting posture on the roof . It is one of the best kept monastery in Ladakh .
The name Likir means “The Naga – Encircled”, representing the bodies of the two great serpent spirits, the Naga-Rajas, Nanda and Taksako . This monastery originally belonged to the early Kadampa order of Tibetan Buddhism , Lama Lha-dbang-chosrje student of Tsongkhapa converted the lamas to the reformed doctrines of the Gelugpa order in 15th centenary . This monastery is also popularly known as “Klu-kkhyil”, which means water spirits. It is believed that the monastery is the first in Ladakh to have been constructed by Tibetan monks.
The monastery is located on a top of hill on the bottom of hill is lush green agricultural fields it was expanded in 15th century by Lhawang Lodos Sangphu . Monasteries that flourished during this period evolved their complexes as small fortress perched on strategic height, utilizing the terrain and reinforcing it with thick peripheral walls . Likir monastery is a classic example of a fort-monastery, main temple at the highest point followed by monks residence just below them and their after the village houses, thick peripheral walls and narrow open spaces as movement paths.
There are over 100 monks and students who live here are taught Hindi, Sanskrit and English under the supervision of Central Institute of Buddhist Studies .It is also a seat of the Ngari Rinpoche the younger brother of His Holiness the Dalai Lama .
The monastery has two assembly halls, known the older one is located on the right of the central courtyard with six rows of seats for the lamas and a throne for the Head Lama of Likir ,in the hall there are statues of Bodhisattva , Amitabha, large statues of Sakyamuni , Maitreya and Tsong Khapa the founder of the yellow-hat sect. The second hall 200 years old contains a statue of Avalokitesvara with 1000 arms and 11 heads . The left wall has paintings of the 35 Confessional Buddhas while the right wall has an image of Sakyamuni with two of his chiefs by his side . There is a good collection of old manuscripts, has a notable Thangka , old costumes and earthen pots . The upper floor has a images of Lamas and the 21 manifestations of the White Tara, the consort of Avalokitesvara.
Likir monastery also serves as the venue of an annual event Dosmochey, the assembly of votive offerings and sacred dances which takes place on the 27th day to 29th day of the 12th month of the Tibetan Calender .
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