Thiksey, Ladakh

You’ll spot Thiksey’s monastery even before you arrive. Towering over the rest of the landscape, it is the most prominent monastery in central Ladakh and houses a 15-metre statue of the Maitreya Buddha. Dating back to 15th century, it is noted for its resemblance to Potala Palace in Tibet. The daily morning prayers are an utterly hypnotic experience and a chance to witness the Buddhist religion in a manner unchanged for centuries. Pop back in the afternoon to visit the amchi, the resident Tibetan herbal doctor. Close to the banks of the Indus river, it is also a wonderfully bucolic location for walking and cycling.