Likir Gompa, Monastery, Ladakh

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.

Likir Gompa Monastery

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 .

Lord Buddha statue at Likir Monastery

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.

Assembly hall at Likir Monastery

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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Zanskar , Ladakh

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Zanskar is located in the Great Himalayan range on the banks of  the Zanskar River formed by the confluence of its two Himalayan tributaries, the Stod/Doda and the Lingti-Tsarap rivers,  the most isolated of all the trans-Himalayan valleys, it is a remote, ancient kingdom in the northwest Indian Himalaya in Ladakh region of Jammu & Kashmir State. It remains inaccessible for nearly 8 months in a year due to heavy winter snowfall resulting in closure of all access passes, This geographical isolation and the esoteric nature of Buddhism practiced here have enabled its inhabitants to preserve their identity in a chain of far- flung monasteries, most of which occupy spectacular fortified locations, high on rocky ridges in isolated valleys. These isolated valleys are linked across high passes by a number of long established pathways.

Reaching Zanskar the only  240 km road connection is from Kargil Suru Valley crossing the Pensi – la Pass at a height of 4400 meters from sea . Padum also called Padam the main village or town on the Doda river in the center of Zanskar valley and there are several small villages scattered around it.

Gateway to Zanskar Pensi-La (4400 meters) connects Suru and Zanskar valley

Access to Zanskar is difficult from all sides as it is located sandwiched between High mountain ridges on both sides of the Doda and Lingti–kargyag valleys, which run north-west to south-east. On the south-west is the Great Himalaya range it separates Zanskar from the Kisthwar and Chamba valley . On  the north-east is  the Zanskar Range, it  separates Zanskar from Ladakh. The only way out for the whole Zanskar valley is the Zanskar river, which cuts a deep and narrow gorge through the Zanskar range. In winters the commuting to this area is maintained across mountain passes or along the Zanskar river when frozen. Walking on Frozen river of Zanskar is an ultimate experience,  it had been trade route for centuries for Zanskari valley. Now the route is also famous as winter trekking among adventure lovers. Kargyag river which originates from Shingo – la and  Tsarap river which originates from Baralacha – la joins near village Purne  to form the Lungnak river (  Lingti or Tsarap) this river flows towards the Zanskar central and meets the Doda river at  Gzhung Khor  to form the Zanskar river . From Lahul Valley one can reach here by crossing the The Shingo- La  at a height of 17000 feet from sea level .

New road is being built from Darcha to Padum and then to Nimmo meeting at Kargil-Leh highway after its making Manali-Leh an all season road bypassing Barlacha la, Nakee la, Lachung-la and Tanglang-la along with building up of Rohtang Tunnel to bypass Rohtang,  until that would be operational only motor able approach to Zanskar is  from Kargil.

Village near Padum, Zanskar, Ladakh

The Great Himalyan range acts as a barrier for protecting Ladakh and Zanskar from most of the monsoon,  May to September it is warm  and dry hardly any rainfall or snow in this period , water comes from the melting glaciers,  winter snowfalls are of vital importance, since they feed the glaciers which melt in the summer and provide most of the irrigation water,  barley, lentils, and potatoes are grown by farmers at the lower heights.

People of Zanskar have origin from  an Indo-European the Mon and the Dard who came from Baltistan , the Buddhism came here from Kashmir about 2200 years ago,  in the 7th century  the Tibetans introduced Bon ,  8-10th centenaries  the monasteries of Karsha and Phugtal  were built. Zanskar existed as a more or less independent Buddhist Kingdom ruled by between  related royal families till 15 th centenary. Since the 15th century, Zanskar has been subordinate to Ladakh .

Two main branches of Tibetan Buddhism are practiced  here , the Drugpa , Sani Monastry ,Dzongkhul Monastry , Stagrimo and Bardan Monastery  affiliated with Stakna . The Gelugpa control monastries are  Rangdum , Karsha , Stongde  and Phugtal under the Ngari Rinpoche,  his main seat is Likir Monastery  in Ladakh,  the Ngari Rinpoche is the younger brother of the His Holiness Dalai Lama.

For more information and packages contact +91-9810506646

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Callers from Outside India contact +44 7700093414

Email : promark@promarktravels.com

website : promarktravels.com 

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