Hello travelers! In this beautiful earth, there are a lot of worth visiting places and Shey Monastery is one of them. The ancient structure lies on the way to Thiksey and Hemis Monastery and is at an altitude of around 11200 feet above the sea level. This is considered as one of the spectacular monasteries in Northern India. Shey monastery shares a distance of 15 km from the city Leh and is situated at a solitary hillock. This large monastery was founded in the sixteenth century AD by Lhachen Palgyigon, the first king of Ladakh as the residence of the royal family and thus this monastery is also known as Shey Palace by the local residents. The Shey Palace left neglected just after the Dogras from Jammu and Kashmir captured Ladakh.
The main attraction of the monastery is the 10 meters high gigantic copper-gold gilded statue of a seated Shakyamuni Lord Buddha. This very statue is said to be the second Buddha statue in Ladakh. There is one more stone-carved towering statue of Lord Buddha inside the temple. Plenty of Chortens containing the ashes of royal dignitaries and Lamas can be found around the Dresthang Gompa.
There are two major celebrations take place at Shey Monastery Shey Doo Lhoo and Shey Suey Rupla. Shey Doo Lhoo takes place on the 26thand 27th day of the first Tibetan month (most probably July or August). This festival is to celebrate the beginning of the sowing season. In these two days, monks perform special rituals in the monastery along with other religious rites. Every year a number of tourists across the globe visit this monastery to experience such unique celebration in the lap of mountains.
An oracle reader visits the Shey Monastery during the festival riding a horse. He conducts prayer for three days and goes into a trance. The reader is believed to utter the prophecies for the upcoming year.
The second ceremony is Shey Rupla. This celebration is to welcome the harvesting season. During this festival, the farmers dedicate their first fruit to the Lord Buddha. Famous dance Rhupal Dance is then performed by dancers wearing tiger costumes. Else other types of dance performances are also performed. If you do not want to experience these rituals you can simply pass your time by viewing amazing Buddha statues in the monastery.
Reaching Shey Monastery is nothing hectic. If you want to travel by car or bike you can hire it from Delhi or Leh. Buses from Leh connecting the monasteries are enough in number. But if you have less time and thus tends to visit by air then you can board your flight from Delhi to Leh and can reach to the monastery hiring a bus or personal cab. So think less and book the preferable one.
If you ask for the right time to visit Ladakh then February to August will the answer. Yes, between these months the area remains open and allows tourists to visit this amazing place. In the other seasons, Ladakh remains closed due to heavy snowfall. So it would be better if you avoid starting your trip to Shey Monastery from November to March and visit in the months from March to October and experience jaw-dropping colour of nature. If you can manage your time schedule try to hit Ladakh during the major festivals at Shey Monastery as experiencing such ceremonies of different religion and culture would be undoubtedly interesting.
So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and start your journey without a delay.