Location: Shey Monastery lies in Shey, a small village, which is located at a distance of 15 km from Leh on the banks of River Indus. Well connected by road, visitors can reach this monastery easily.
Description: Once the residence of the royal family, Shey Monastery was built by Lhachen Palgyigon, the first king of Ladakh, in the year 1655 in the memory of his father. One of the most striking features of the monastery is the 17.5 meter high blue haired statue of Maitreya Buddha. This statue is made of brass and copper and is decorated with precious stones. This monastery is beautifully decorated with various paintings that showcase Buddha’s teachings, stone carvings and guarding deities. The lower floor of the monastery boasts of a library which houses ancient manuscripts. By offering special prayers to Buddha in this monastery, women can seek his blessings to bear a child.
Activities: The Shey monastery is popular for hosting two seasonal festivals. The Shey Doo Lhoo festival marks the onset of sowing season, while the Shey Rupla marks the beginning of harvesting season. Both these festivals are celebrated with huge enthusiasm and tourists can also join in the celebrations. Travelers can enjoy the Rhupla dance which is performed by men wearing tiger costumes.