Shey Monastery is situated in a small village Shey, about 15 km south of Leh
. Set on the eastern banks of the Indus River
, this monastery was the royal residence till the 16th century. It was constructed by the first king of
, Lhachen Palgyigon. The Shey Monastery rests on a knife edged ridge, and the path to the monastery is dotted with stupas and shrines.
This shrine is managed by the monks from the Hemis Monastery. The main attraction of the monastery is the 17.5 m high blue haired Maitreya Buddha made of copper and brass, gilded and studded with precious stones. Paintings of Bodhisattvas and protector deities surrounding the statue are preserved and Tibetan stone carvings are also found here. There is a new temple nearby that holds another giant statue of Buddha. There are some interesting rock carvings found on the mountainside next to the highway, depicting the five incarnations of the Buddha.
Shey can be approached easily on the route from Leh to Thikse Monastery and is well connected by a bus service. One can also trek down 4 km from Thiksey. The nearby airport is Leh Airport.