Thiksey monastery was founded in 1433 AD and was part of the original Gelugpa order. In the monastery complex there are ten temples and shrines, a school, a museum, a medical clinic, a restaurant, a hotel and shops. On the slopes below the monastery are the houses of the 120 resident monks. Thiksey monastery is one of the biggest monasteries in Ladakh.
The main temple is open between 6 - 13 and 14 - 18. There is supposed to be an admission but I don‘t know how much. I saw a man selling tickets but he walked away and then I didn’t see him again during my visit. But you can always donate money inside the temples.
It has become popular for tourists to visit very early in the morning to see the monks doing their morning prayer.
In the basement of one of the newer buildings at the monastery complex is a museum. The museum was established in September 2007 to preserve some ancient Ladakhi treasures. The objects are displayed in a few rooms and many of the labels are in English.. Among other things you can see Thangka paintings, sculptures of wood and metal, musical instruments and household items. When I visited the museum there was no one else there.
Maitreya is the future Buddha. The Maitreya in the main temple at Thiksey is a 15 metres high statue made of clay, gold paint and copper. It was made by local artists to commemorate the visit of Dalai Lama in 1970, and it took them four years to complete the statue. The face, which you can see in the photo, is seen from the second floor.
When I arrived to Thiksey I went to eat lunch before visiting the monastery. I ate my lunch at the restaurant at Chamba Hotel, a monastery run hotel near the main road. There are many tables indoor, but as the weather was nice I sat in the yard outside. I had a big bowl of chotagi and a coke to drink. With service it was Rs 121 (July 2010).
Chotagi is a traditional meal in Ladakh and I ate it twice during my Markha Vally Trek. Cho means water and tagi means bread. It is a kind of noodle stew with pieces of shaped dough mixed with vegetables like carrots, potatoes and green leafs. Sometimes meat is added. It has a mild flavour.
My guide on the Markha Valley trek told me it is possible to visit Takthog, Chemrey, Stakna, Thiksey and Shey on a daytrip from Leh using public transportation, if you start early. I didn’t want to be in a hurry in the morning and decided to visit only Stakna, Thiksey and Shey, which have more frequent buses. The Leh - Thiksey bus pass by Shey, then Thiksey and then has its end stop near Stakna Gompa. The bus leaves every half an hour from the main bus station in Leh.
This is how much I paid in July 2010 and how long the bus ride was:
Leh - Stakna Rs 20, 40 min
Stakna - Thiksey Rs 5, 10 min
Thiksey - Shey Rs 5, 5 min
Shey - Leh Rs 10, 25 min