Likir monastery (gompa) is a Buddhist monastery belonging to Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism, about 50 km west of Leh town of Ladakh in India. The monastery was established in 1065 by Lama Duwang Chosje under the command of Lhachen Gyalpo, the fifth King of Ladakh.
The name Likir means “The Naga – Encircled”, representing the bodies of the two great serpent spirits, the Naga-rajas — Nanda and Taksako. Likir gompa is situated on a hilltop alongside Indus river valley. Likir is an isolated but picturesque place, about 6km extreme right from the Leh-Srinagar highway while coming from Leh.
The main temple is roughly at the highest plateau of the hill. The complex itself consists of the main temple, the assembly hall, the monk’s quarters, and services such as kitchen and dining as its main recognizable parts. The parts of the complex has been modified and built over a long period of time, and its present state suggests a well-fortified, compact and strategically sited monastery.
The Lekir monastery is also a repository of old manuscripts; it has a notable thangka collection and old costumes and earthen pots. On the roof Likir has a 75 ft (23 m) high statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha. The statue can be seen from a certain distance.
Most parts of Likir monastery are reconstructed in recent years. However, the main monastery has not been tampered. The road to Likir monastery ends at a huge parking area just below the monastery complex.
How to reach Likir Monastery
Likir monastery is well connected by a road. The road is blacktopped and smooth. The monastery is about 50km from Leh. Taxis are easily available from Leh. If driving private car or bike, drive for about 45km on Leh-Srinagar highway and take the right turn (you will see a welcome gate) to Likir (between Basgo and Saspol). Drive for about 6km on the link road.
Best time to visit Likir Monastery
You can visit Likir gompa anytime of the year. But, April to October is the best time to visit the monastery.
If you are planning to visit Likir monastery, take a whole local sightseeing package which includes visit to Hall of Fame, Spituk, Pathar Sahib Gurudwara, Magnetic Hill, Alchi and Likir etc. If you are travelling between Leh and Srinagar (in any direction), you can also visit all the places on the way.