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Hemis Monastery

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Hemis Monastery is the largest and most popular monastery in Ladakh.

Hemis Monastery is famous for the annual Hemis Festival which is held in the month of July. Masked dancers during the Hemis festival represent the various demons and dieties which a person will encounter in the afterlife. This is the best time to see Hemis monastery in all its glory.

Every 12 years, the 3 storeys high Thankgka - sacred tapestry - of Guru Padmasambhava is displayed.

Hemis monastery is a rich treasure house of cultural riches of Ladakh. There is the Hemis museum with cultural artifacts from the past. There are various Buddhist temples with daily prayers by monks. There are several gilded statues of various dieties. There are several resident monks who are working to preserve and evolve Ladakhi Buddhist culture.

Hemis Monastery is conveniently located 90mins from Leh - the capital of Ladakh.

Unlike most other monasteries in Ladakh, the Hemis Monastery is hidden behind a mountain. It is not visible from Ladakh valley. This was intentionally done to hide the monastery from any invading army.

Visit Hemis monastery to see Ladakhi Buddhist culture at its best.

Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery

Courtyard at the Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery

Temple at Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery

Architecture details at Hemis Monastery

Hemis Festival


Hemis Festival is an annual festival which is held once a year in the month of July.

Hemis Festival is very popular with locals as well as tourists. Thousands of people come to see the festival. There are dances by masked dancers. These masked dancers represent the various demons and dieties which a person will encounter in the afterlife. Familiarizing one with these demons and dieties ensures smooth passage in the afterlife. So it is very important for local Ladakhis to familiarize themselves with these masked dancers.

Once every 12 years, the Thangka - sacred tapestry - of the Great Guru Padmasambhava is displayed during the Hemis festival.

In 2016, the Hemis Festival was held at the Hemis monastery but because of its popularity, it will be held in new festival grounds in the Ladakh valley in the future. The new festival ground on the way to Hemis monastery will accomodate the large number of visitors who come to see the Hemis monastery during the Hemis festival.

Hemis National Park

Masked dancers at the Hemis Festival

Masked dancers at the Hemis Festival at the Hemis Monastery represent the various demons and dieties which a person will encounter in the afterlife

Hemis National Park


Hemis Monastery borders the Hemis National Park. However, access to the Hemis National Park is through Rumbak or Chilling in the Markha valley.

Hemis National Park is one of the best places in the world to see the snow leopard.


Hemis National Park from the air

Terrain of Hemis National Park

Hemis National Park is a high altitude cold desert with the Snow Leopard as the flagship species

Hemis Monastery Photos


Hemis Monastery painting

Guru Rinpoche

At Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery and Festival masked dancer

Masked dancer at Hemis Festival

At Hemis Monastery

Visiting Hemis Monastery


Hemis Monastery is a convenient 90min drive from Leh - the main city in Ladakh. There is good choice of accomodation available in Leh. Alternatively, one can stay at the excellent Chamba Hotel at the base of Thiksey monastery from where it is only about an hour to Hemis monastery.

Basic meals are available at a commercial food outlet at Hemis monastery.

A day is more than enough to visit and explore Hemis monastery and its surroundings.



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At the annual Hemis festival for the once in 12 years unveiling of the sacred Thangka - sacred tapestry - of Guru...

Posted by Himalayan Ecotourism on Wednesday, August 31, 2016

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