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Photographer's Note

15 km to the south of Leh on the Leh-Manali highway is the Shey Palace. Located in the same complex is the simple, but beautiful & a very important Shey Monastery or Gompa. The buildings are placed on a ridge similar to a knife edge and the approach to the monastery is decorated with many stupas and shrines.

Shey used to be the capital and the home for Ladakh's royal family up until the Dogra conquests forced the royal family to be stripped of their power and move to Stok. In 1655, in memory of his father, King Deldan Namgyal built the two-storey Gompa or monastery, adjacent to the palace. He installed a two-storey high image of the seated Buddha. After entering the central courtyard located on the second storey of the gompa, the 12-meter high image of the Buddha is found in the room to one's right. The Buddha is worked of copper sheets gilded with gold. This is the biggest metal statue in the region and was the largest Buddha statue of any type in Ladakh until Thiksey installed a 15-meter tall Buddha made of clay in 1970.

Shey Monastery today is managed by Buddhists Monks from Hemis Monastery. Lhachen Palgyigon, the first King of Ladakh built this Monastery.

It was evening when we reached Shey. As we approached the monastery, the late light shone on the Crown of the stupa – the 13 Metal Discs (which signify the 10 mystical powers of Buddha & the 3 Essential remembrances – Past, present & future). The entrance to the Gompa or Monastery past the small flight of stairs is to the right, inside which sits a giant 2 storey tall statue of Sakyamuni Buddha.

For those who might be interested, in the Workshop a detailed explanation of the parts of a Stupa & their significances

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Additional Photos by Angshuman Chatterjee (Angshu) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 7750 W: 324 N: 15578] (54921)
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