Shey Palace and Monastery in Leh Ladakh

The Shey Village

Shey Village

Shey Village

It is a small village located a distance of around 15 km from the capital city. Like other towns of this region, Shey also lies in the middle of high mountain ranges. It was the capital of Upper Ladakh before the Dogras from Jammu invaded the region. The place is among the rare towns of Ladakh that managed to harness waters of the Indus River. It is believed that the name of this village originated from the nearby lake and is the distorted form of the term for shell. Residents of this place celebrate the Sindhu Darshan Festival, every year on the bank of the river. The village is dotted with a number of chortens, which have interesting stories behind them. As per tell-a-tales, the king of Shey did not imprison criminals for wrongdoings and instead asked them to build these structures to beautify the place. He believed that the criminal will be absolved by building these monuments of Lord Buddha.

Shey Palace and Monastery

This palace is located on a hillock, on the Leh-Manali road. It used to be the ideal retreat of the kings of Ladakh in summers. The edifice was built by Lhachen Palgyigon (also known as Deldan Namgyal) in the year 1655. The monastery was constructed in the memory of King Singay Namgyal – his deceased father. This monastery houses one of the largest statues of the country. The giant statue is almost 12 metres long and covers three floors of the monastery. It is said that almost 5 kg of gold was used while building and gilding this copper and tin statue.

Divided into three levels, the statue features the feet of Buddha in the first level with soles pointing upwards. The second level shows murals and the third one features butter lamps, which burn throughout the day. Walls on both sides of this huge statue display pictures of 16 Buddhist saints who achieved Nirvana while the wall behind it shows images of the two revered disciples of Gautama Buddha – Maudgalyayana and Sariputra. Tourists can see a number of beautiful paintings on the top floor or can go through efficiently-preserved manuscripts in the library on the lowest floor. They can book Leh Ladakh tour packages in order to behold the picturesque views of the valley from this palace.

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