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Shubhyatra >> Jammu and Kashmir >> Monasteries


Main Destinations : Lamayuru Valley, Padum, Sani and Indus River
Location : Leh and Zanskar
Main Monasteries : Tiksey, Hemis, Sani, Strongdey and Lamayuru
Other Monasteries : Diskit, Spituk, Likir
Monastries in Leh & Zanskar
Monastries in Leh & Zanskar

Tiksey Monastery : Location : About 20 km From Leh.
Altitude : 3600m Above Sea Level.
Founded By : Palden Sangpo.
Asset : One of the Largest Statue of Buddha.
Belongs To : Gelukpa Order.
Referred As : Most Beautiful Monastery In Ladakh.
Hemis Monastery : Location : 47 kms from Leh.
Founded By : Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyats.
Asset : Gold and Silver Stupas, Sacred Thankas.
Belongs To : Dugpa Order.
Prime Attraction : The Annual Hemis Festival.
Referred As : Biggest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh
Sani Monastery : Location : 6 km West of Padum
Asset : Presence of The Kanishka Stupa.
Belongs To : Bardan.
Prime Attraction : The Annual Unveiling of The Bronze Statue of Naropa.
Strongdey Monastery : Location : 18 km to the north of Padum.
Altitude : 3,500 m.
Belongs To : Gelukpa monks.
Prime Attraction : View of the valley from the top.
Lamayuru Monastery : Location : 127 km west of Leh.
Asset : Beautiful Wall Paintings, Shrines And Thangkas.
Belongs To : Red-Hat Sect of Buddhism.
Prime Attraction : Singhe Ghang.

Incredible Journey to See Kashmir


Interior of Lamayuru Monastery
Interior of Lamayuru Monastery

Ladakh is the hub of the Buddhist culture. Here you will find a unique amalgamation of the Buddhist as well as the Tibetan culture. It is home to some of the greatest monasteries in the world. There are more than 100 monasteries in Ladakh, which is the domicile of the religious Buddhist, who meditate, pray and live in these 'Gompas' or 'Monasteries'. The Lama, who is the head of the monastery, is also known as the 'Kushak', which means reincarnation. The access to these monasteries is possible only through trekking,as they are situated in the far-flung areas of the Ladakhi region. The tour of these monasteries will make you vigilant of the great impact this religion has on the locals.

The 'Gompas'

Mahayana or the Hinayana sect of Buddhism, are the two braod categories in which we can divide these monasteries. The enchanting monasteries of Ladakh give flavour as well as colour to these desolate areas of the state. Most of these Gompas are built on rickety rocks and mountain slopes. Some of the world renowned monasteries are listed below.

Tiksey Monastery – The Leader of All Monasteries

About 20 km from Leh is a monastery which is situated 3600m above sea level, is the Tiksey monastery, the most famed gompa of Ladakh. It is situated on the top of the hill and forms part of Gelukpa order. Beside being the seat of the the main leader of the Gelug School in Ladakh, Tiksey Rinpoche, it is the leading monastery for all the other monasteries. Legends have it that this monastery was founded by Palden Sangpo, who was the disciple of Sherab Sangpo, who too was the disciple Tsongkhapa, the founder of the reformed Gelug School. Being the most visited and the most beautiful monastery, it also houses the Champa, the 15 m tall statue of Buddha, which is one of the largest statue of Buddha. It is the residence of around 100 monks and is the finest example of Ladakhi architecture.

Hemis Monastery

On the west bank of the Indus river and around 47 kms from Leh, stands the Hemis monastery. Discovered by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyats in the year 1630, this is the biggest and most affluent monasteries in Ladakh. Belonging to the Dugpa Order, it is concealed in a gorge. The main attraction of this monastery is the Hemis festival, celebrated in the solemnization of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tantrik Buddhism in Tibet. During this festival, once in 12 years, the Thanka (sacred appliqué-work tapestry wrought with pearls depicting Padmasambhava), of Guru Padmasambhava is displayed for the local public. This monastery is in possession of various gold and silver stupas and many sacred Thankas. The sacred mask dance is also performed here, during the festive season. The cave of Kotsang, at 4200m, founded by Gyalwa Kotsang is a sacred destination. The rocks and the shrines found on the way to the cave, still bear his impressions.

Incredible Journey to See Kashmir

Sani Monastery

Likir Monastery in Ladakh
Likir Monastery Situated on a Hill Top

Around 6 km west of Padum, inhabitates the village of Sani, on the road to Kargil. Build in the facsimile of a castle, it the major tourist attraction in Ladakh. Unlike any other monastery, it is built on a ground surface. The presence of the Kanishka Stupa in the backyard of this monastery, paves pay for the legend that this gompa belongs to the time when the roots of Kanishka empire were being laid. In the main building of the monastry, there is a multi-columned central prayer hall, and has a wealthy collection of the statues of popular Buddhist monks and also of the saints of Drugpa(old school). Intense stucco frenzies adorn the chapel behind the main building. There is an old cemetery encircled with some ancient rock carving with an Indian influence. Naropa, known as the Indian Yogi of Vikramshila, is believed to have sat under the Kanishka Stupa for the purpose of meditition. This site has been preserved by constructing a room and placing the veiled bronze statue of the Yogi inside. Two day festival is celebrated once in a year, wherein this veiled is removed.

Strongdey Monastery

Lying 18 km to the north of Padum, is the second largest monastery in Zanskar, Strongdey. At an attitude of 3,500 m, this monastery associated with the Tibetan Yogi, Marpa. This whitewashed monastery has a number of temples and is inhabited by 60 Gelukpa monks. It is a four hour long walk to the monastery, which is quiet streneous, but however the view of the valley from the top is worth all the pain and hard work. This monastery is opened for tourists from the period of mid July to early November. The June cllimate is ideal for trekking in t his area. Situated on the 240 km long Kargil-Padum road, there is availability of buses and jeeps that will take you to the monastery. Padum has several hotels that provide furnished rooms, the likes of the Tourist Complex.

Lamayuru Monastery

127 km west of Leh lies the Lamayuru Monastery, which is associated with the legend of Sakyamuni (the Historical Buddha), nags (holy serpents), who resided in the lake present in the Lamayuru valley. It is said that Bodhisattva Madhyantaka, anticipated that this lake will drain out for the construction of a monastery. One more belief related to this monastery is that, the cave in Dukhang, was used in the 11th century by the Indian Buddhist Scholar Mahasiddhacharya Naropa, for meditation. Draining of the lake due to the split in the surrounding hillsides, lead to the discovery of a dead lion by Naropa, who converted the site into the very first temple known as the Singhe Ghang or the Lion Mound. Incipiently this monastery is believed to be comprise of five buildings, however only one remains till date. This monastery is home to 150 monks, Belonging to the Red-Hat sect of Buddhism. Beautiful wall paintings, shrines and Thangkas are its prized possession. The two masked dances performances during the 2nd and the 5th month of the Tibetan Lunar calendar is perhaps the main attraction of this Gompa. Some monasteries welcome guest out of goodwill, however they are expected to make some contributions for the welfare of the monastery.

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Top 5 Reasons to Visit Ladakh Monasteries

Hemis Monastery Leh

The Home of Divinity
Ladakh is the perfect blend of the Buddhist and the Tibetan culture. The life led by these monks will surely intrigue you. Visit this land this holiday and enjoy the colorful yet serene life of the monks who reside in more the 100 monasteries on this land.

Trek And Enjoy
The only way to reach these monasteries is through trekking as they are mostly build on mountains. The trekking routed here are very steep and hence very challenging. Come this holiday to enjoy trekking in the desolate 'Land of the Gompas'

Enjoy The Festivity
Visit these gompas in the Ladakhi festive seasons to enjoy the true flavor of these monasteries. The masked dance performances of these monasteries are very famous. The best part is that stalls for artifacts are put on display during the festival and you can even buy these memoirs.

Be A Part of The Buddhist Culture
Visit these monasteries and have a feel of the reclusive life spent by the monks here. The fact that they are so complacent, is bewildering. These monasteries are in possession of some of the beautiful wall hanging, Thangkas and statues.

Show Your Gratitude
The monks residing here are wonderful people who live with solace yet harmony. Some monasteries welcome guest out of goodwill, however they are expected to make some contributions for the welfare of the monastery.

Best Selling Yatras (Tours)

» Incredible Kashmir

Kashmir Visit A fascinating journey to the panoramic Kashmir Valley along with the adventure activities and sighseeing of the Lakes, Gardens and Hill Stations.
Duration: 11 Days / 10 Nights
Tour Pin: 11SY-003

» Safari to Ladakh

Ladakh-Safari A bone chilling adventure trail to the elevated heights of Himalayan ranges in Ladakh along with a cultural Buddhist tour to the monasteries and temples.
Duration: 12 Days / 11 Nights
Tour Pin: 11SY-012

» The Taj and the Hills

Taj Mahal , agra The Unique tour to explore the glorious Taj Mahal and further mounting up the hills to excavate the beautiful hill stations offering great adventure.
Duration: 8 Days / 7 Nights
Tour Pin: 7SY-018

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