Buddhism is widely practiced in Ladakh. Leh and the entire region of Ladakh is famous as the land of Monasteries. Amongst the many Buddhist monasteries accessible from Leh are Hemis, Lamayuru, Likir, Sankar, Shey and Phiyang Gompas. These monasteries or Gompas are treasure chests of ancient art, paintings; scrolls, scriptures; sculptures and architecture. Travelers to this mystic land require at least a week to explore the numerous monasteries in the region and do justice to their grandeur.
- Tesemo Gompa: This monastery was built in 1430 AD and has statues of Maitreya Buddha, Avalokitesvara and Manjushree.
- Sankar Gompa: A part of Spituk Monastery, this small Gompa, has a collection of paintings and miniature statues of pure gold.
- Spituk Monastery: Houses prized Thangka paintings and a Kali temple with a huge statue of Goddess Kali.
- Shey Palace (15 kms): Highlight of the palace is the beautiful multicolored murals.
- Lamayuru Monastery: Limetrails takes you on a tour of the magnificent Lamayuru Monastery – one of the largest and oldest in Ladakh or लद्दाख. Located 115 kms from Leh (लेह ) and takes around 2.5 hours to reach the monastery and can be covered as a day visit. Lamayuru moonland or lunar landscape gets the name due to its resemblance to the moon’s surface. Join us as we show you around this spectacular monastery on the Srinagar – Leh highway in Ladakh. Incredible India indeed!!
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Watch Lamayuru Monastery video on YouTube: https://youtu.be/ASpz1gDjOik
- Likir (60 kms) and Alchi (67 kms): Two of the oldest Gompas, huge clay statues of Lord Buddha can be seen in various forms. The walls of the Alchi Gompa are adorned with ancient colorful paintings. Photography is strictly not permitted inside the Gompas to protect the priceless ancient paintings from fading away due to the camera flashlights.
- Thiksey Monastery (20kms): One of the most famous and largest monasteries, it was built in 1430 AD. Intriguingly perched at a height of 3600 metres on a hill, the 12 storied Gompa is an imposing structure overlooking the beautiful valley. The Gompa belongs to the Geluga sect (Yellow Hats) of Buddhism. It houses the 15 metres high statue of Maitreya Buddha, the largest in Ladakh. There are multiple shrines within the complex, the most prominent being the ruins of the Lakhang Nayerma built by Rinchen Zangpo dedicated to Goddess Dorje Chenmo. The gompa is said to have a nunnery and the biggest library in Ladakh. The 3 day Gustor festival is celebrated every year. Ritualistic and sacred masked dances are performed during the celebrations.
- Hemis Monastery (41 kms): The richest and most important of all Gompas in Ladakh, it belongs to the Druk-pa order of Buddhism. Hemis was built in the 17th century. The Druk-pa school was set up in the 13th century. The museum houses priceless paintings, statues and scrolls. Visitors can trek 2 kms up to the cave where the famous Sage Gotsampo meditated years ago.
- Deskit Monastery: Small monastery in the village of Deskit in Nubra Valley.