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Hemis monastery, Ladakh

Monasteries of Ladakh

Monasteries of Ladakh

Discover the Monasteries in Leh Ladakh

Think Leh Ladakh and you will conjure images of austere landscapes and colourful prayer flags signalling the practice of Buddhism and spirituality in the region. Ladakh, which was once ruled by Tibetan rulers and is in geographical proximity to Tibet, still retains Tibetan culture, among which are Tibetan food, Tibetan architecture, and Tibetan Buddhist monasteries. These monasteries are known for their mystical beauty and their history as some of them are centuries old.

Apart from their religious significance and the spiritual experience they offer, the monasteries of Ladakh also offer visitors a chance to interact with an old world through statues (some are several metres high!), artefacts, manuscripts, and thangkas that are present in the monasteries. You can also learn what monks do in a monastery such as witnessing their religious study, the sacred chanting in Tibetan and Sanskrit in the assembly halls of monasteries, and the local and state-wide festivals known for their masked dances and music.

There are many monasteries, or gompas, to explore while in Ladakh. These monasteries, built in traditional Tibetan architectural style, are generally complexes that comprise temples, assembly halls, courtyards, stupas, libraries, and the living quarters of monks.

The monasteries in Leh are usually a few kilometers outside the town. Leh serves as a gateway to these monasteries. Some monasteries are further off. All our tours include visits to some of Ladakh monasteries. We also have a Spiritual Tour of Ladakh, which specifically explores this facet of Ladakh with visits to monasteries as well as sessions with traditional healers such as a shaman and an amchi.

Map of the Monasteries in Ladakh

Map of the Monastries in Ladakh

Ladakh – Map of the Monasteries

If you want to visit the monasteries of Ladakh by road we recommend you to keep at least two days for that purpose. One day to visit the monasteries to the East of Leh and one day to visit the monasteries to the West of Leh. It will take a full day to visit Lamayuru from Leh.
You can also spend a night in the guesthouse of your preferred monastery to participate in the monastery life.
Let us know your preferences we will organize your monastery tour of Ladakh with a genuine experience of the Buddhist culture.

Thiksey Monastery

How to Visit Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh ?

Thiksey monastery is one of the easiest to reach from Leh. It is 18 km from Leh on the road that goes towards Upshi.

Thiksey Monastery Festival

Festival of Ladakh are organized according to the Tibetan calendar. Hence, there are no fixed dates for the Thiksey festival, but it usually happens in the month of November.

Thiksey Monastery Stay

You have several option for a stay near the monastery. There is the Thiksey monastery guesthouse which is reasonably comfortable, a nearby hotel and even a luxury camp. Staying at one of these places allows you to enjoy the atmosphere of the Thiksey without having to worry about getting back to your hotel in Leh.

Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh is believed to be the largest monastery in Ladakh. It is around 20km from Leh. The monastery is known for its three-story-high Maitreye Buddha, who is believed to be the future Buddha who will teach enlightenment. The monastery in central Ladakh is built in the style of the Potala Palace in Lhasa and is called mini Potala. It overlooks the Indus Valley and Stok range.

Thiksey Monastery in Ladakh

THIKSEY MONASTERY
A fascinating monastery that you can visit in half a day from Leh.

Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery in Ladakh

HEMIS MONASTERY
Secluded in steep gorge Hemis offers its visitors the experience of a unique atmosphere.

How to Visit Hemis Monastery in Ladakh ?

Hemis monastery is East of the capital Leh. You will have to drive 40 km from Leh on the road that goes towards Upshi. It takes one to one and half hour to reach.

Hemis Monastery Festival

Festival of Ladakh are organized according to the Tibetan calendar. Hence, there are no fixed dates for the Hemis festival but it usually happens in the month of July.

Hemis Monastery Stay

If you want to stay at the Hemis monastery (a good idea), it has a guesthouse. Although it is great to stay at the monastery, you need to compromise of the comfort of the stay. Rooms are very basic, and the bathroom is common and not in good conditions.

Hemis Monastery is a famous monastery of Ladakh and known for the Hemis festival, which features cham dance. During the festival, a three-story-high tapestry of Guru Padmasambhava is unfurled at this 17th-century monastery. Ladakh’s Hemis Monastery is associated with the Drukpa Lineage of Buddhism. It houses manuscripts, thangkas, stupas, and other cultural artefacts. It is an hour’s drive from Leh.

Likir Monastery

How to Visit Likir Monastery in Ladakh ?

The Likir monastery is 52 km from Leh and it takes around one and half hour to reach by taxi. It is to the West of Leh.

Likir Monastery Festival

Festival of Ladakh are held according to the Tibetan calendar. Hence, there are no fixed dates for the Likir festival but it usually happens in the month of February.

Likir Monastery Stay

A guesthouse is available near the monastery.

Likir Monastery is located around 52km from Leh and in a village called Likir, which is believed to date back to the 11th century. The highlights of the monastery include a 75-foot Maitreya Buddha, which towers over the monastery complex. It is said that the serpents Nanda and Taksako guard the monastery. You will find cultural artefacts and manuscripts here.

Likir Monastery in Ladakh

LIKIR MONASTERY
A fascinating monastery that you can visit in half a day from Leh.

Takthok Monastery

Takthok Festival in Takthok Monastery Ladakh

TAKTHOK MONASTERY
Monks dancing in costume at the Takthok monastery festival.

How to Visit Takthok Monastery in Ladakh ?

Takthok monastery is East of the capital Leh. You will have to drive 48 km from Leh on the road that goes towards the Changla pass (on the way to Pangong lake). It takes one to one and half hour to reach.

Takthok Monastery Festival

Festival of Ladakh are organized according to the Tibetan calendar. Hence, there are no fixed dates for the Takthok festival but it usually happens early August.

Takthok Monastery Stay

There is no stay possible in the monastery itself, but a few homestays and guesthouses are available at the next village called Shakti.

One of the standout features of Takthok Monastery is that its roof and walls are made of rock. The monastery, which is located in Sakti village around 46km from Leh, is believed to be built around a cave where Padmasambhava had meditated in the 8th century. This is a pilgrimage spot for Tibetan Buddhists. The monastery is also home to ancient manuscripts, which include the teachings of Buddha, and splendid murals.

Lamayuru Monastery

How to Visit Lamayuru Monastery in Ladakh ?

The distance from Leh to Lamayuru Monastery is around 115km, which is a 2.5hr drive

Lamayuru Monastery Festival

There are no fixed dates for the festival but it usually happens in June or July.

Lamayuru Monastery Stay

The Lamayuru monastery is located right in the village of Lamayuru. Therefore you have several options like homestays or guesthouses for your stay.

Known to be the oldest monastery in Ladakh, Lamayuru Monastery is located in Lamayuru, which is famously known as “moonland” because of its surreal geological formations. According to legend, the scholar Naropa meditated in a cave here called Naropa’s cave. The library contains Kandshur, which is the collected teachings of Buddha. Many lamas still live in the gompa.

Lamayuru Monastery in Ladakh

LAMAYURU MONASTERY
A fascinating monastery that you can visit in half a day from Leh.

Other Monasteries in Ladakh

Alchi Monastery

Alchi Monastery in Ladakh is located in Alchi, which is 65km from Leh. The Indus river flows through this village. The monastery is 1000 years old. The highlights of this monastery are the exquisite wall paintings dating back to the 11th and 12th centuries, which reflect the Indo-Himalayan style of painting. What differentiates the monastery from many others in the region is that it is built on lowland and not a hillock.

Stakna Monastery

Stakna Monastery is less than an hour from Leh. Stakna means Tiger’s Nose and the monastery is named so because of its appearance. Built in 1580, the monastery features wall paintings, silver-gilded chorten, and a statue of Arya Avaloketesvara. It overlooks the Indus river and Stok range. A small number of monks live here

Phyang Monastery

Around 30 minutes from Leh is the Phyang Monastery. Phyang is named after the mountain in the background, Gang Ngonpo, which means “blue mountain”. The monastery is worth a visit for its 900-year-old museum with exhibits of Kashmiri bronzes and ancient weaponry as well as thangkas and scriptures. It also includes a Mahakal temple dedicated to a fierce guardian deity in Buddhism.

Spituk Monastery

Spituk Monastery is hardly 15 minutes from Leh. It dates back to the 11th century. One of the unusual elements of Spituk Monastery is that it has a Kali statue, which is shown to the public only during the Gustor festival. The collection in its museum includes thangkas that are originally from the Potala Palace in Lhasa.

Diskit Monastery

Diskit Monastery is a 14th-century monastery in Nubra Valley. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. Typical of Tibetan Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, the monastery features a tall statue of Maitreya Buddha and frescoes. Mongolian and Tibetan manuscripts too are kept here. It is built on a hilltop and offers stunning views of the austere landscape around it. The monastery is a 3.5hr-drive from Leh.

Namgyal Tsemo Gompa

Namgyal Tsemo Gompa is just a 15-minute-drive from the market of Leh. It is a 15th-century gompa renowned for its three-story-high Maitreye Buddha statue made in solid gold. The monastery was built during the Namgyal rule. You can also admire the frescoes and ancient manuscripts that are still kept here. You will also find statues of Avalokitesvara and Manjushri. Close to the monastery is the Namgyal Tsemo palace.

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