Hemis Monastery Ladakh – History And Complete Travel Guide 2024

 In Destination, Holidays, India, Ladakh, Travel

Tucked away in the rugged terrains of the Himalayas, high above the clouds sits Hemis Monastery – the crown jewel of Ladakh tour packages. 

It’s not just a place, but a captivating realm where spirituality meets natural splendour. Imagine a tranquil space enshrined in an ancient setting where time itself seems to pause and whisper tales from centuries ago. That’s Hemis for you!

Drawing in adventurers and solace-seekers alike, Hemis Monastery is the grandest and richest of all monasteries in Ladakh. It’s a vivid blend of spiritual essence and cultural richness set against the breathtaking canvas of stark mountains and clear azure skies.

As one of the most intriguing places to visit in Ladakh, it charms its visitors with beautiful murals and stupas, lively mask dances and a unique treasure of ancient artefacts. 

History Of Hemis Monastery- A Flashback In Time

Source : Wikipedia

In the year 1672, under the guidance of King Sengge Namgyal, Hemis Monastery in Ladakh was built. Now just imagine when most of the world was fighting over territories and shiny structures, here high up in the Himalayas, these folks were perfecting a spiritual sanctuary, an oasis of peace and tranquillity.

The Hemis Monastery is a two-story wonder, built with the perfect blend of Tibetan and Indian architectural styles. When the first rays of the morning sun fall upon it, the monastery seems like a majestic sandcastle, painted with strokes of the rising sun, a sight to behold!

What Makes It So Special?

Now, you might be wondering, what makes Hemis Monastery in Ladakh so special, other than its age? Here’s the twist in our tale. Hemis Monastery is the very venue of the famous Hemis festival, a colourful carnival celebrated annually in honour of Guru Padmasambhava, who brought Buddhism to Tibet. 

The event sees a swarm of monks performing an enchanting mask dance. Picture this: a whirl of colours, rhythmic beats, and the chants of Buddhist hymns echoing through the mountains. Gives you goosebumps, doesn’t it?

An Experience Not To Be Missed

The Hemis Monastery in Ladakh is not just a monument, it’s an experience, a spiritual rollercoaster. Travellers and seekers from all over the globe trek through the mountains to get a taste of this transcendental adventure. And guess what? It’s one of the most popular places to visit in Ladakh in summer.

And for the adventurous at heart the journey to Hemis Monastery in Ladakh adds another level of thrill. A Leh Ladakh bike trip is the ultimate way to breathe in the raw beauty of Ladakh and savour the spiritual essence of Hemis. It’s not just a trip; it’s an adrenaline fueled pilgrimage.


The beauty of the Hemis Monastery is timeless it’s as if it grew out of the mountains itself. It has stood tall, laughing with the winds, dancing with the snow, whispering tales of peace and harmony to the land of Ladakh for centuries.

Also Read: Restaurants In Ladakh

Checking Out The Architecture Of Hemis Monastery

Source : Wikipedia

The Hemis Monastery architecture feels like a warm, inviting hug from a long-lost friend. The monastery’s layout is a mix of courtyards and assembly halls, all centred around a statue of Buddha. 

While the statue itself exudes an aura of tranquillity, it’s the Thangka paintings adorning the walls that grab your attention. The brilliantly coloured depictions of divine beings and spiritual concepts are not just eye candy but food for the soul. It’s like stepping into an artistic rainbow filled with profound messages.

The Courtyard

The courtyard, called Dukhang is the heart of Hemis Monastery in Ladakh, pumping life and energy throughout the structure. It’s here that you’d witness the enchanting Hemis Festival, a spectacle of dance and drama, where monks spin tales of victory of good over evil through masked dances and rhythmic music. You might be tempted to join in the dance, and don’t resist – let your spirit swirl along!

The Prayer Hall

The Gompa – the prayer hall is the calm within the storm. When you enter this room filled with rows of cushions and ancient scriptures, you can almost hear the whispered prayers of the centuries gone by. It’s a quiet, introspective space that urges you to hit the pause button on life and breathe. Trust me; even if you’re as restless as a cat on a hot tin roof, the Gompa can soothe your soul.

Exploring Togspa

A unique feature of the Hemis Monastery is the multi-storey structure called Togspa. Like a game of Jenga, it houses the quarters of the Lama (head monk), other monks and even storage spaces. 

Each layer of Togspa tells its own story, each corner hides a secret and each room echoes with the laughter and chants of monks from the past and present.

Combing Spirituality, Serenity And Symmetry

The Hemis Monastery is a symphony of spirituality, serenity, and symmetry. It encapsulates not just the essence of Tibetan Buddhism but also showcases the influence of Indian and Chinese architectural styles. 

The play of light and shadow on the white-washed walls, the fluttering of prayer flags, and the sound of bells and chants create a symphony that would make a place in everyone’s heart.

Visiting Hemis Monastery and partaking in the Hemis Festival is like being a part of the living, breathing, vibrant festivals of Ladakh. It’s like walking into a colourful dream woven with threads of spirituality, tranquillity and rich history. 

So, if you ever find yourself in the mystical land of Ladakh, let the Hemis Monastery sweep you off your feet and transport you to a world that’s simply out of this world!

Also Read: Trekking Spots In Ladakh

Best Time To Visit Hemis Monastery

Source : Wikimedia Commons

Leh Weather Guide suggests June to September as the ideal time to visit this spiritual oasis. And here’s the quirky twist – plan your sojourn to coincide with the Hemis Festival, typically happening in June or July. 

This vibrant event is the monastery’s pièce de résistance, offering a spectacle of colourful masks, melodious chants, and rhythmic dances.

The warmth of the summer not only tempers Leh’s usually frigid temperatures but it also brings to life the surrounding greenery, enhancing the charm of this ancient Buddhist sanctuary.

 So, gear up for an enthralling spiritual journey filled with divine grace, cultural delight, and scenic beauty. There’s no better time to soak up the mystical allure of Hemis Monastery!

How To Reach Hemis Monastery

Source : Devil On Wheels

To reach Hemis, first, you need to arrive in Leh, which is the nearest city with a functional airport. Direct flights to Leh are available from Delhi, Mumbai and other major Indian cities. 

From Leh, the monastery is approximately 45 kilometres southeast, which translates to a 1.5 to 2 hour drive through some of the most scenic landscapes. Private taxis and local buses ply this route regularly. 

The road to Hemis is fairly good and the journey can be quite enjoyable with views of the Indus River and the stunning Ladakh landscape.

Experience the tranquillity of Hemis Monastery, a gem tucked away in the serene beauty of Ladakh. Embrace the harmony as you stroll through the monastery’s intricate architecture, soaking in the history and spirituality etched into every corner. 

So, visit the Hemis Monastery in Ladakh, and feel the magic in the air. 

Frequently Asked Questions About Hemis Monastery

1. When was Hemis Monastery built?

Hemis Monastery was originally established in the 11th century but the monastery in its current form was re-established by King Senge Namgyal in 1672. It’s one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh, India.

2. What is the speciality of Hemis Monastery?

Hemis Monastery is known for its rich collection of ancient statues, sacred thangkas and other artefacts. It’s especially famous for the annual Hemis Festival, celebrating Padmasambhava’s birth anniversary with vibrant dance performances.

3. What are the opening hours of Hemis Monastery?

The operating hours of Hemis Monastery are from 6 AM to 8 PM.

4. What is the best time to visit Hemis Monastery?

The best time to visit Hemis Monastery is from June to October.

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