Buddhist Monasteries in Ladakh
Ladakh is a region in Jammu and Kashmir and is seemingly a barren one but, there are many surprises here especially for those interested in Buddhism. Ladakh has been following Buddhism for centuries and this reflects in the daily lives of its people and in its culture as well. There are beautiful Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh that make a trip to this region definitely worthwhile. The people here too are cheerful and simple and the faith that they have in their religion is reflected strongly in their daily lives especially when one takes into account the inhospitable surroundings. There are many Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh but there are at least 5 that must not be missed and these are
The Hemis Monastery
This is the largest and the richest Gompha here and was initially built in the year 1630. This monastery is also very famous for the Hemis festival that falls either in June or in July and there is a painting of the Buddha here that is displayed only once every 11 years. There is also a masked dance that is another highlight of this festival.
The Thiksey Monastery
Situated in central Ladakh this is also a very beautiful monastery and is located at about 3600 meters above sea level. Convenient to visit from Leh which is just 12 kms away this is a 12 storied building that has 10 temples and one of the largest Buddha statues is also found here.
This monastery belongs to the Red Hat sect of Buddhism and its location, high on a hill with beautiful views has made it popular among visitors. There is also a masked dance here during the annual festival.
The Shani Stupa
A modern structure when compared to the other monasteries in Ladakh, this was funded by a Japanese Buddhist Organization to commemorate 2500 years of Buddhism. This stupa was inaugurated by his Holiness the Dalai Lama in 1985. There are lights on the stupa making it a great sight at night.
This is the oldest monastery in Ladakh and there are thousands of pictures of the Buddha on its ramparts. This monastery also has many antique thangkas here and is definitely worth visiting.