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The Likir Monastery or gompa is one of the oldest and well maintained Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh. The monastery is located in Likir village is believed to have been in existence since 11th century. About 62 km from Leh, Likir village located in Indus Valley is believed to be among the oldest villages of India.

Likir means the Naga or serpent encircled. The monastery got its name as it is believed two serpent spirits –Nanda and Taksako – guard it.

The original name of Likir monastery is Klu-kkhyil gompa. Besides being the oldest, the monastery is also known for the 75 feet statue of Maitreya Buddha, which you can see to the right of the monastery building. The gompa belongs to Gelugpa sect of Buddhism which is also referred as Yellow Hat sect. It was founded by Tsongkhapa in 15th century.

The monastery was built like a fort so that it offered sanctuary to local inhabitants during war. Fields are located at the base, above which are located the monks’ residences. The temples and the assembly hall are located above the monks’ residence. About 120 monks reside in the monastery.

Next to the statue of Buddha you can see firewood stocked up for the harsh winter months which last 8 months in a year

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7852 W: 324 N: 16061] (56760)
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