Shey Palace & Gompa
Location 14 kms from Leh
Founded by King Deldan Namgyal in 17th century
Shey Gompa of Ladakh is situated on a hillock, at a distance of approximately 15 km to the south of Leh town. The monastery was erected on the instructions of King Deldon Namgyal, in the memory of his late father, Singay Namgyal. The main image inside the Shey Monastery is that of Buddha Shalyamuni. It is a huge image of the seated Buddha and is considered to be the biggest metal statue and the second largest Buddha statue in the Ladakh region. Copper sheets, gilded with gold, make up this amazing Buddha statue.
The image also contains sacrificial offerings such as grain, jewels, holy signs and mantras inside it. On both the sidewalls of the Buddha statue, are displayed the 16 Arhats (Worthy Ones who have achieved Nirvana), eight being on each side. The back wall of the statue is painted with the images of the two chief disciples of Buddha, namely Sariputra and Maudgalyayana. There is hardly any wall around the Buddha statue that is not painted with any image.
A large bowl of wax with a central flame, symbolizing divinity and purity, is placed in front of the Buddha statue. This flame burns continuously for one year, before getting replaced. Some exquisite murals adorn the second story of the Shey Monastery of Leh Ladakh. While, the lower story comprises of a large library and is decorated with murals depicting Buddha, with various types of hand gestures. An annual festival is also held at Shey Gompa, on the 30th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar.