The Hemis monastery is one of the wealthiest Tibetan monastery located 45km away from the Leh in Hemis, right on the bank of river Indus. The monastery has been dedicated to the prestigious Dugpa Kargyutpa order and is built surrounded by some of the most beautiful visuals in the entire country. The monastery is also ones of the oldest one founded in the year 1630 by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa, Nawang Gyatso.
The place is religious primarily, but from a tourist’s point of view, the place has to offer much more. Set amidst the enchanting greenery in the arms of the Himalayan range, the monastery has more than 200 branches, where about 1000 monks pray and live in peace. The richest and wealthiest monastery in India is the Hemis monastery of Jammu.
How to Reach
The monastery is about 45km away from the Leh in the south direction. By road, the visitors can opt for taxis, buses and one can travel through their own vehicle.
It is advisable to keep map while traveling to this place as the route is confusing. By air, flights run on the daily basis from Delhi to Srinagar from where Zoji-la pass road connects to Leh. Interestingly, for those who want to seek some adventure, they can reach the Leh by cycle with a large group of friends through highways.
The monastery is surrounded by majestic mountainous region and is well connected to motorable roads. The bike rides to the monastery are a common sight and one of the most memorable ones at that.
The monks here believe in living the life of grandeur and there is no dearth of necessities being provided to them.
Impressive and intriguing, the sprawling complex of the monastery is segregated into two parts – the Tshongkhang and the Dukhang. As you take a walk along the corridors, the vividly painted corridors depicting the stories of the Kalachakra and the Lords of the Four Quarters are delight to watch.
The Hemis Monastery is the biggest and the richest in the Ladakh region and it is much evident in the eye-catching gold statues adorning the stupas, embedded with precious stones. The Hemis Monastery also has an interesting library that hosts that an inspiring collection of Tibetan books, relics, manuscripts and more.
You can also find an extensive museum inside the monastery, a little place that documents the history of the Gompa and has some very precious religious treasures. Do not miss the souvenir shop where you can buy curios.
The Hemis Festival
The famous Hemis festival shouldn’t be missed at any cost. It is celebrated on every 10th day of lunar according to their calendar. The festival is celebrated annually somewhere near the end of June or early July. The monks perform the Chham dance wearing heavy brocade gowns and masks which are a visual treat to the observers. This dance depicts the victory of good over evil.
The festival lasts for 3 days in the month of June.
The monastery provides a great place to stay for the tourists who intend to spend the nights here. The food and butter tea provided by the monks to the tourists are in the house.
Hemis shares cuisine varieties with Leh. Do not miss the different styles of cuisine including the thukpa (thick soup with vegetables), Pava which is made of sattu) , khambir and tasty sandwiches prepared with apricot jam.
Here are a few best restaurants to explore while you are here.
- Bon Appetit, Leh, Ladakh
- Lamayuru Restaurant(Indian Restaurant)
- The Nook
- Tibetian Kitchen
- The Zen Hotel Leh Ladakh
The best time to visit
The best time to visit Leh is the ‘season’ time starting from June, and this is also the time when the Hemis Festival is held. It’s an ideal time to visit as one can cherish the clear skies and take delight in the mountains sparkling in the sun.
Important details you need to know
The Monastery can be visited from 8 AM onwards and it is open every day for the visitors. There is no entry fee for visiting the monastery, but to visit the museum, you will need to buy tickets.
Places to stay in Hemis Monastery
The monastery provides a great place to stay for the tourists who intend to spend the nights here. However, if you do not want to stay in the monastery, there are other resorts and hotels to stay near Hemis Monastery.
Some of the best options to stay are Ratna Hotel Ladakh, Hotel Shangrila, Hotel Royal Palace, Hotel Ladakh Imperial and Hotel Cho Palace.