The Thikse monastery is yet another monastery that is found in Ladakh, India. It belongs to the Tibetan Buddhists from a sect referred to as the yellow hat or Gelugpa. The monastery sits beautifully on a hill top that is found about 19 kilometers east of Leh. It is attributed to being the largest monastery in the center of Ladakh. It is situated at an altitude of 3,600 metres which is the equivalent of 11,800 feet in the Indus valley. The monastery is a 12-storey building complex that portrays a stunning view over the hill. It houses many items of importance to the Buddhist art. Thangkas, wall paintings stupas, statues, and swords are among the items you find in the monastery.
The history of the monastery dates back to a mission that began in the early 15th century. Six disciples from the reformed Gelugpa School or the Yellow hat sect were sent to remote expanses of Tibet to spread the teachings of the new school by the founder, Tsongkhapa. One of his disciples carried a small statue of Amitayus or Chepakmet which was given to him by Tsongkhapa. The statue carried with it bone powder and a drop of blood that came from Tsongkhapa’s body. The disciple was under instructions to meet the King of Ladakh and request him to help in the quest of spreading the of the Buddhists’ teachings. The disciple delivered the gift from Tsongkhapa to the King whose palace was at the Nubra valley near Shey. The king was so impressed with the gift of the statue and the meeting between the king and the disciple was concluded successfully as the king seconded a minister to deal with the request of Tsongkhapa which was delivered by his disciple. The king’s minister was to help the disciple whose name was Sherab Sangpo set up a monastery in Ladakh. So the monastery of the Gelugpa order was established in Ladakh thanks to the vision of Tsongkhapa and the courtesy of the king of Ladakh.
All the diplomacy and the courtesy call culminated in the founding of the monastery called Lhakhang Serpo. The Lhakhang Serpo which means the yellow temple was founded in the year 1433 in the small village known as Stagmo which is situated a few kilometers to the north of River Indus. The good will from the king and the numerous works that was done by the disciples sent here didn’t facilitate the embracing of the teachings that they came with. Nevertheless the work didn’t stop there, it was the disciples’ persistence that brought converts to the new teachings in numbers after a period of time. Some of the disciples were rewarded with an honour for a long time to come as their names will continue to be mentioned in a good way for the work that they did. The place where the Thikse monastery stands today reflects many years of dedicated work that culminated in a stunning monastery which serves people many years after the endearing effort of six disciples.