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Trekking to Chemrey and Takthok Monastery. My wife and I did this, with alittle hitchhiking. Liesurely walking through the valley and villages it took us two days.
The Chemrey Monastery, situated about 40 kilometers (24.8 miles) east of Leh, is one such structure that sits serenely over a rocky mound with a towering mountain as its backdrop. The unevenly, jutting out structures flanking the monastery unmistakably provides the typical landscape of a Tibetan settlement. Belonging to the Drugpa order of Buddhism, the Chemrey Monastery was founded in the early 17th century by Lama Tagsang Raschen under the tutelage of King Sengge Namgyal, although a theory presented by acclaimed historian Luciano Petech declares it as a monument built in 1664 to honor the king after his death. Standing seemingly like a fortress over a hill, the monastery is home to about 120 lamas of the Red Hat order who get real busy during the sacred dance festival of Chemrey, celebrated every year on the 28th and 29th day of ninth month of the Tibetan calendar. This festival witnesses various dance and musical performances by the lamas, besides a pilgrimage parade to the images inside. The monastery has a notable high Padmasambhava statue. It also contains a valuable collection of scriptures, with title pages in silver and the text in gold letters. The monastery holds, among many relics, the famed one-storey high statue of Padmasambhava who was also known as Guru Rinpoche and even regarded as the second Buddha by the Nyingma school followers. His images have been manifested in various forms, including one in the fearsome role of a devil vanquisher. Inside the Dukhang (main temple) you will find images of Lama Tagsang Raschen, murals of the Sakyamuni, paintings of Kalachakra and Akshobhya and 29 volumes of the ancient Buddhist scriptures, on which the title pages are incredibly done in silver and the text in gold. Other artifacts inside the monastery include images of several lamas, religious texts, various deities and several manifestations of the Buddha.

Takthok Monastery, variably known as Thag Thog and even Thak Thak, is a mid-16th century monastery, which is the only one in Leh to follow the Nyingma school of Buddhism. Interestingly, the literal meaning of Takthok is ‘rock-roof,’ named so because of the discovery of a cave inside the monastery, which was believed to have been inhabited by Padmasambhava for three years to meditate during the 8th century. About 46 kilometers (28.5 miles) west of Leh in Sakti village, Takthok Monastery stands as an iconic structure in Buddhist history, characterized by the preservation of 108 volumes of the Kanjur of the Buddha’s teachings, among other important relics like the statues of Sakyamuni. The walls of the temple are adorned with murals of the guardian deities and Padmasambhava, while images of the Guru and Avalokitesvara can be found opposite the cave chapel. The verandah of the Dukhang displays paintings of the Four Lords with paintings of some fierce guardian deities, which have been added recently, can be seen at the entrance, besides statues of Maitreya, Padsambhava and his manifestation of Dorje Takposal. The cave is, of course, off bounds for public visit, even as a new temple was sanctified by the present Dalai Lama right below the gompa complex in 1980. Every year, the monastery witnesses the celebration of two festivals – the Takthok Tse Chu Festival from the 9th to 11th days of the sixth month of the Tibetan calendar and the Takthok Manchog Festival from the 20th to 29th days of the ninth month.