Hemis Monastery in Ladakh

Hemis Monastery in Ladakh


Beautifully adorned, Hemis Monastery is a Tibetan monastery belonging to the Drukpa Lineage. Counted as one of the iconic monasteries in Ladakh, Hemis Gompa is perched on a mountain along the west bank of the Indus River. People eagerly await to marvel at the numerous paintings or Thangkas carefully preserved and displayed at the famous Hemis Festival, Ladakh. A visit to the Hemis Monastery is one of the significant aspects of tourism in Ladakh. Apart from its cultural significance, multiple reasons draw tourists from all over the world. On top of that, you can explore these enchanting places by planning your personalized tour with Leh Ladakh India.

The land of Ladakh, with its exhilarating landscapes, is a destination that fills the journey with adventure. It's not just about the high passes and natural beauty, although these are the best things about Ladakh and probably the major reasons why most people follow the trail to this wonderful land. The mystical land of Ladakh houses several Gompas and Monasteries. These ancient monuments speak of the Ladakhi culture and their festivals. One such place is the infamous Hemis Monastery in Leh, a destination that will inspire and excite any traveler.

Hemis Monastery History

The ancient Hemis monastery's origins before the 11th century testify to Ladakh's rich history and cultural significance. Naropa, the translator Marpa's teacher and the yogi Tilopa's pupil, is regarded as the founding father of the Kagyu lineage of Buddhism, with Hemis as its principal seat. The first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso founded the monastery in 1630 when he was invited to Ladakh by King Singay Namgyal. This deep-rooted history and lineage is a source of respect and awe for visitors.

What to see in Hemis

  • A copper-gilded statue of Lord Buddha is nestled within the monastery. Many other stupas that are said to be made of precious metals like gold and silver can also be seen here.
  • A giant statue of Guru Rimpoche is also quite interesting to witness.
  • The monastery also has a museum within its premises. The Hemis Monastery Museum displays numerous historical and religious paintings (Thangkas), carriers, and weapons.

Major Festivals

Hemis Monastery comes alive during the annual Hemis Festival, celebrated here in early June to honor Guru Padmasambhava. His birth anniversary falls on the 10th day of the fifth month of the Monkey year of the Tibetan calendar. An interesting fact about the day is that it comes once after 12 years. Thus, Hemis in Ladakh is famous for celebrating the day fervently and enthusiastically.

As per beliefs, celebrating this festival bestows good health and spiritual strength. Many musicians play traditional music. The gala begins with an early morning ritual when the tapestry adorned with pearls depicting the image of Guru Padmasambhava is exhibited. This is then admired and worshipped by all. A major highlight of the festival is the Masked Dance, which is collectively known as Cham. These performances are part of Tantric tradition, and monks can be seen performing Tantric worship.

Hemis Monastery Nearby Attractions

A sacred hermitage is located some 3 km away from the monastery. The hermitage was founded by the great Gyalwa Kotsang, whose footprints and handprints can be found on the rock within the hermitage. Another nearby attraction to the monastery is Hemis National Park, where snow leopards and rare animals live in their natural habitat.

Best time to visit Hemis Monastery

The best time to visit Hemis Monastery is during the Hemis Festival, which takes place in June. Also, it's enjoyable to visit from May to September. At this time of the year, Ladakh experiences the summer season, and the roads from both Manali and Srinagar are open, making biking to Leh Ladakh comfortable and more accessible.

But then, if you wish to travel to Hemis Monastery in winter, you must take a flight to Leh, and the roads from there are always open. So plan your trip accordingly.

How to reach Hemis

On the Leh Ladakh tour, most people prefer visiting the Hemis Monastery during their trip to Pangong Tso from Leh city. Although the distance between Leh and Hemis is just about 40 km, people still prefer visiting here during their Pangong trip.

Hemis Monastery is 40 km Southeast of Leh and a wonderful destination for travelers. Visiting here is easy because people can take their bikes and cars. There are several taxis and shared cabs that visit here. So, book your trip now with Leh Ladakh India, to step into the enchanting world of Hemis Monastery’s storied past and vibrant culture. Our experts will design the Ladakh itinerary to suit your tastes and handle your needs, providing a hassle-free journey.

Accommodations at Hemis Monastery

Hemis Monastery is extensively visited by tourists worldwide; the locals have worked wonders in the past few years to develop hotels and eateries. From homestays to decent hotels, there is every option you would want. If a person visits here, many staying options are available around the monastery. But the best places to stay near Hemis Monastery include:

  • Ladakh Sarai Resort
  • The Grand Dragon Ladakh
  • WelcomHeritage Lha-Ri-Sa Resort
  • The Verda Driftwood Ladakh
  • The Abduz
  • Yarab Tso
  • The Silk Route Ladakh
  • The Zen Ladakh
  • Hotel Royal Palace
  • The Nature Residency Hotel

This is a list of accommodation options near Hemis Monastery, including budget-friendly and luxury hotels. Regardless of your choice, all these places are comfortable and perfectly blend in with the surroundings.

Other Important Tips

  • Hemis Monastery is accessible throughout the year. It is just about 40 km from Leh city.
  • If you plan to visit the monastery, you can stay at the destination for a night.
  • Those visiting Leh during summer can visit this Gompa without any problem. You don’t have to worry about any inner-line permission or permit.
  • Keep a map with yourself while heading out to the Hemis Monastery.
  • Depending on the season you are visiting here, you should wear a sufficient layer of warm clothes. Even if you visit here in the summer, warm clothes are still recommended.
  • The temperature and climate fluctuation of the place are too sudden, so keep in mind all the possibilities.
  • Make sure to carry enough food/snacks and water. Staying hydrated is of the utmost importance in Ladakh.
  • Remember that photography and videography are prohibited in the museum or the prayer hall. So, abide by this rule at all costs.
  • Before commencing your journey, it is advised and recommended that you connect with your doctor and explain the entire journey. The entire circuit is very complex, draining, exhaustive, and demanding energy. The climate here is also very unpredictable. So, keep all the required medicines as prescribed by the doctor.
  • Keep all the basic tools in your tool kit. You never know when you might need them.
  • Take all the AMS-related precautions and medicines to enjoy your entire trip.
  • Acclimatizing is important, and even seasoned travelers must adhere to this. So, ensure that you also acclimatize properly.


Many dream of visiting Ladakh, a wonderful place that attracts travelers worldwide. It is considered a must-visit destination with so many natural attractions, such as valleys, lakes, flora, fauna, and much more. Several monuments also depict Ladakh's historic past. The newly made union territory is dotted with monasteries.

Hemis Monastery is one of the finest attractions of Ladakh. People love to visit here and spend some time gazing at the monument and its architecture. So, remember everything discussed in the above section to have a fun-filled Ladakh trip.

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