ultramarinus – beyond the sea

DAY 3: MATHO GOMPA & SHEY PALACE, Indus Valley, Ladakh, India

The last two destinations of our day at the Indus River Valley were Matho Gompa and Shey Palace.  Situated on a mount directly opposite from Thiksey Gompa, Matho offered us a fantastic view of Thiksey beyond the lush green river valley.  The late afternoon sun and moving clouds cast a series of dark blue shadows on the the yellow mountain slopes.  We wandered around Matho on our own but didn’t stay for long.  The Buddhist prayer halls were colourful and parts of the monastery were relatively new, but we were more more interested in the surrounding landscapes.  Matho is the only Sakyapa monastery in Ladakh.

On our way back to Leh, we dropped by our last stop of the day, Shey Palace.  Shey was the summer palace of the Leh royal family in the past.  A sloped path led us to the main entrance of the former palace, which stood mostly in ruins nowadays.  A beggar woman dressed in dark shawl was gaining attention of passing tourists.  Most of the palace was empty and free for explore, except the hall where a 12m statue of golden Shakyamuni Buddha stood that we needed to purchase admission tickets.  At almost three storey tall, we could only see the top third of the Buddha statue.  On the roof and around the palace compound, there were white stupa, colourful prayer flags and mani stone pebbles at every corner we turned.  The little marsh across the street and the distant mountains glowed in the golden afternoon sun.  By the time we returned to Leh, it was already over 6:30pm.  We were tired and hungry and decided to go for Tibetan food before returning to our hotel.

DSC_4484Thiksey Gompa and distant mountains viewed from Matho Gompa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEntry stairway into the main compound of Matho Gompa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMain courtyard of Matho Gompa.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASupreme scenery was everywhere at Matho Gompa.

DSC_4499Some of the prayer halls were quite new and richly decorated.

DSC_4505Some parts of the building still maintained the centuries-old atmosphere.

DSC_4516View from the rooftop of Matho.

DSC_4545The golden Wheel of Dharma and deer sculpture on the roof of Matho.

DSC_4553_01Two local women rested near a stupa at the entrance of Matho Gompa.

DSC_4559Prayer flags and distant mountains at Matho Gompa.

DSC_4577Entry pathway up to the Shey Palace.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFront view of Shey Palace.  Much of the former royal palace was much in ruins today.

DSC_4610The three-storey tall golden Shakyamuni Buddha at Shey Palace.

DSC_4630Some of the crumbling buildings above the palace mount were poorly maintained.

DSC_4653Prominent stupa, distant mountains and the lush green Indus River Valley.

DSC_4665Large stupa back lighted by the afternoon sun.

DSC_4678Some parts of Shey Palace was really crumbling down.

DSC_4695White stupa and colourful prayer flags against the blue sky were quite photogenic.

DSC_4697Mani stones of various sizes with the six syllabled mantra of Avalokiteshvara were common at Shey Palace and many other monasteries in Ladakh.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe nearby marsh across from the Shey Palace under the late afternoon sun.

* * *

Other posts on 2016 Ladkadh & Delhi:
Introduction – LADAKH – The Land of High Passes, India
Day 1.1 – ENROUTE TO LEH, Ladakh
Day 1.2 – WALK TO MAIN BAZAAR, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.3 – LEH PALACE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 1.4 – HOTEL LADAKH GREENS, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.1 – NAMGYAL TSEMO GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.2 – LALA’S CAFE AND TIBETAN CUISINE, Leh, Ladakh
Day 2.3 – SPITUK GOMPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 3.1 – MONASTERIES OF THE INDUS VALLEY DAY ONE, Ladakh (with map)
Day 3.2 – THIKSEY GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.3 – CHEMREY & TAKTHOK GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.4 – HEMIS & STAKNA GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 3.5 – MATHO GOMPA & SHEY PALACE, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.1 – ON THE ROAD WEST OF LEH, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.2 – LAMAYURU GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.3 – ALCHI & LIKIR GOMPA, Indus Valley, Ladakh
Day 4.4 – FORT ROAD IN THE EVENING, Leh, Ladakh
Day 5.1 – SHORT HIKE NEAR PHYANG, Ladakh
Day 5.2 – PHYANG VILLAGE, Ladakh
Day 5.3 – NOMADIC WOOLLEN MILLS & BON APPETIT, Leh, Ladakh
Day 6.1 – ZINGCHEN GORGE, Ladakh
Day 6.2 – SHANTI STUPA, Leh, Ladakh
Day 7.1 – LEH AIRPORT TO RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.2 – RED FORT, Delhi
Day 7.3 – JAMA MASJID, Delhi
Day 7.4 – FAREWELL OLD DELHI, Delhi
Day 7.5 – UNITED COFFEE HOUSE, New Delhi

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