The palace is a small ancient monument that is decaying and is situated across the edge below an ancient fort. It was installed in the year 1633, the twelve meter icon is allegedly said to be coated with hoard of precious stones, mandalas and powerful charms. This palace is crowned by a golden chorten spire and its pride and joy is the huge metal Shakyamuni Buddha housed in its ruined split level temple. When you enter from the lobby you will get face to face with the lord Buddha's huge feet, soles pointing upwards. Upstairs there is a balcony surrounding the statue's chest where the immense statue of Buddha is seen in light. This is existing from centuries which are now covered by thick filth from the votary butter lamps but the gold coloured murals coating the walls are some of the finest works in the valley.
Five minutes walk from the Shikhar Restaurant at the base of the palace, stands a temple, protecting another massive Shakyamuni statue. It can be best viewed from the mezzanine veranda on the first floor; it is slightly older than its cousin up the hill. The descendants of the Nepali metalworkers who made it, brought here by Sengge Namgyal, still live and work in the isolated village of Chilling (on the River lanskar), famous for its traditional silverware.
On the road, there is Shey's most ancient monument. The rock carving of the five Tathagata or "Thus gone" Buddhas, can be distinguished by their respective vehicles (vahanas) and hand positions (mudras) that appears on a smooth portion of stone on the edge of the highway; it was probably carved soon after the eighth century, before the "Second Spreading." The large central figure with hands held in the gesture of preaching (turning the wheel of dharma), is the Buddha Resplendant,Vairocana, whose image is central in many of the Alchi wall painting.
Accommodation in Shey
Besthang hotel is a converted traditional Ladakhi house with a lovely garden and simple home cooking. It is located at a few minutes distance down the lane behind the roadside shilkhar restaurant. It is a pleasing hotel with its old traditional styled rooms. The only eating option in shey is the shilkhar restaurant that offers a varied menu of both the Indian and western style of food. Buses come up at every 2 hours from leh and the last bus arrives at around 6.30 pm. Returning to Leh, buses pass by every hour until 6.15pm.
|More Articles in Cities of Jammu and Kashmir (129)|