Shey Monastery

  • imageLeh
  • Ladakh

About Shey Monastery of Ladakh

A complex that comprises a monastery and a palace, Shey was once the summer capital of Ladakh. The monastery is known for its giant copper with gilded gold statue of Shakyamuni Buddha, which is said to be the second-largest statue in Ladakh and a must-see.

The current Shey Palace and Gompa were built on the instructions of Deldan Namgyal, in the memory of his late father, Sengge Namgyal. Shey is also known for its two annual festivals known as Shey Doo Lhoo (sowing season) and Shey Rupla (harvesting season). Both the festivals are the major attractions in Shey Monastery.

History of Shey Monastery

The history of Shey Monastery states that the current structure was built in 1655 by Deldan Namgyal, in the memory of his late father, Sengge Namgyal. However, the original palace was built near the Shey village by Lhachen Palgyigon, the king (Maryul) of Ladakh, in the 10th century.

Architecture of Shey Monastery


The architecture of Shey Monastery is that of Tibetan style. The main Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the gompa is 12 metres tall and covers three floors of the monastery. On the upper floor of monastery, there are a number of beautiful wall paintings. The lower floor houses a library with several manuscripts and murals of Buddha figures in various mudras (hand gestures). A short distance away from the monastery is another small shrine built by Sengge Namgyal that houses another large statue of Shakyamuni Buddha.

Highlights of Shey Monastery

  • Giant copper with gilded gold statue of Shakyamuni Buddha
  • Wall Painting on the upper floor
  • Museum in the lower floor
  • Shrine built by Sengge Namgyal
  • Shey Doo Lhoo and Shey Rupla Festivals

Best Time to Visit Shey Monastery

The best time to visit Shey Monastery is during the two festivals of Shey Loo Doo and Shey Rupla. Apart from this, the months between July and September are ideal to visit Shey Monastery, when the weather is quite pleasant.

How to Reach Shey Monastery?

The best way to reach Shey Monastery is to hire a cab or rent a bike to reach the Shey Palace, which is on Delhi-Manali Road, some 16 kms from Leh City.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How far is Shey from Leh & what is the best way to reach?

Shey Monastery is situated at a distance of 16 km from Leh on Delhi-Manali Road. Hiring a cab or renting a bike are the best ways to reach here from Leh.

Q. Is there a festival to see in Shey Monastery?

Yes, Shey Loo Doo and Shey Rupla are annual festivals that are a must-see in Shey Monastery.

Q. How old is Shey Monastery?

The current structure of Shey Monastery dates back to the 17th century.

Q. What is the major attraction in Shey Monastery?

The 12m tall statue of Sakyamuni Buddha that covers three storeys of the building is the major attraction of Shey Monastery.

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