Hemis Monastery is the most popular monastery and tourist attraction in Ladakh. Situated some 45 km from Leh City, Hemis is tucked on a mountain on the west bank of the serene River Indus. The monastery belongs to Dugpa Kargyutpa order or Red Sect of Buddhism and is said to be enriched with a large number of Thangkas or paintings, which are exhibited during the one of the famous festivals in Ladakh, Hemis Festival. During the Hemis Tsechu held in the year of the Monkey of the Tibetan Calendar, one can see the sacred applique work along with tapestry wrought with pearls depicting the image of Guru Padmasambhava.
If you are planning your holiday in Ladakh and thus looking for some splendid tourist attractions then Hemis Monastery in Ladakh would definitely win your heart. Hemis monastery is one of the popular tourist destinations in Ladakh. This monastery is stationed on the west bank of the peaceful river Indus. The location lies 45 km from Leh city. This is the largest as well as an almost favored monastery in Ladakh was constructed in 1672 AD under the reign of King Singge Namgyal. Hemis monastery host an annual festival called Hemis Tsechu attracts plenty of tourists across the globe. During this colorful day-long festival the local resident lamas glorify the victory of good over bad and perform dance wearing holy masks.
Best Time To Visit
The best time to visit Hemis is during the two-day Hemis Festival, which is held annually in the month of June or July. One can see the famed Cham Dance during the festival and the display of age-old Thangkas.
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Interesting facts about Hemis Monastery
Hemis monastery owns excellent architecture which attracts numerous tourists each year. If you wish you can pay homage to the large structure of Guru Rimpoche and Lord Buddha. Else there is also a museum that possesses a huge collection of Buddhist structure, statues and several ancient items that reflects the existence of rich culture during the ancient period. Apart from that, you can visit the Hemis High Altitude Wildlife Sanctuary. This sanctuary is at the altitude from 3300 m to 6000 m above the sea level. This place is considered as the largest park in the South Asia and also the highest park in the world. At the sanctuary, there is a chance of spotting rare snow leopard, Ibex, and other wild animals.
There are a couple of eating stalls around the Hemis monastery where you can grab quick bites, but it is advisable to carry food/water with you for the day, as it would be a long day exploring the nearby places. In the monastery, there is a dining/rest hall where tea/coffee and biscuits are served for free.
There is a museum within the monastery where numerous carriers, weapons, and other Buddhist relics and artifacts are displayed. The Hemis Monastery is one of the world’s highest settlements at a height of 12000 feet and is the center of Drukpa ancestry where the Lamas are trained for all the royal monasteries.
About 3 km away from the monastery sits another sacred hermitage, which is said to have been founded by the great Gyalwa Kotsang whose footprint and handprint can be seen on a rock inside the cave. The hermitage is adorned by fluttering Buddhist flags and is thus visible from far away.