Ladahk is full of ancient Buddhist monasteries, mostly with dramatic profiles on hills or high up on ridges. Thiksey Monastery is one of the most impressive, covering a whole small hill with its white (and red) washed temples and monk houses. We arrived at sunset, when the whole hill was aglow.
The monastery runs one guesthouse in the town, which was too expensive for us but luckily they also run another cheaper guesthouse on monastery hill. We were the only guests but there were about 10 staff, which made us wonder what happened during the day.
We were recommended to watch the Puja the next morning at 6.30am. Soon after entering the hall where it took place our question of staffing was answered. There were many many tourists and many many digital SLR cameras. Some were part of large tour groups, who left the Puja early for breakfast and to put all those staff to work.
The actual Puja was a nice experience. The monks chanted, while intermittently the young monks poured butter tea and passed around the tsampa (type of porridge). The chanting would stop while the monks ate and drank, then continue and the bowls would be refilled. The Puja lasted about an hour.
The monastery was my first experience of Tibetan/Ladahki architecture. Some of the features include; stone and mud brick rendered white, flat roofs, decorated doors and windows.