Before you start reading our blog, do figure out a season in which you're planning to go for which we have curated a complete guide for the same - An Ultimate Guide To Leh-Ladakh, pick your favorite season and enjoy the beauty of nature at it's best only in Leh Ladakh.
Situated in between serene mountain passes and on heavenly mountain tops, the monasteries in Leh Ladakh offer peace and solace. Here are the Top 10 monasteries you must visit when you travel to the region. The tourist in you can't afford to pay a spiritual tribute to these beautiful monasteries as they've got so many hidden gems to uncover. There's so much to learn from these monasteries and if you want to plan wisely then make a plan when they have their festivals taking place within the monasteries - we promise you'll have an unforgettable experience witnessing the real beauty of tradition and culture at these monasteries in Leh Ladakh.
1. Hemis Monastery
It'd interest you to note that Naropa- an Indian Buddhist attained enlightenment at the Hemis Monastery. It is one of the wealthiest and the largest monasteries in Ladakh. It's one of the most beautiful Tibetan Buddhist Monastery In India. You'll awestruck by the beauty of the architecture and interiors. You can pay a tribute to the two big statues of lord Buddha and Guru Rimpoche inside the monastery.
Highlights - It has a mesmerizing architecture, and you can witness the beauty of a huge copper statue of Buddha. It also houses a number of Buddhist relics and ancient items.
Best Time To Visit - The best time to go there is during the two-day Hemis Festival, which is held in June-July where you can enjoy the famous Cham Dance or Masked Dance.
2. Thiksey Monastery
Situated at an altitude of 11,800 feet, it is one of the most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh. It is famous for its pilgrim activities, architecture, and exploration. You can enjoy a beautiful view of the flood plains of the Indus Valley from there. It's painted in red, yellow and white. Maitreya Temple is the main attraction inside the monastery as it's dedicated to Lord Maitreya who is considered to be the Future Buddha.
Highlights - A two storey tall statue of Maitreya Buddha, which is the largest statue in Ladakh is a major attraction. Also, its assembly hall which houses numerous manuscripts and murals is an interesting feature.
Best Time To Visit - It is open from 7 am till 7 pm. Many people come by 7 am to be a part of the morning prayer there.
3. Likir Monastery
Likir Monastery in Leh is believed to be the first construction by the Tibetan monks. It is located in one of the oldest villages, Likir and was founded in the 15th century. While visit Likir Monastery, you should also explore the small villages nearby for an unforgettable experience to know more about culture and traditions of Leh Ladakh. You can also visit the Likir Museum - Entry Charges Rs.10 only.
Highlights - 75 feet statue of Buddha, stupas, murals, Tibetan Relics and the Assembly Halls featuring paintings of Bodhisattva, Sakyamuni and Maitreya Buddha.
Best Time To Visit - You must visit this monastery especially during the time of its annual festival, Likir Dosmoche.
4. Stakna Monastery
Located about 25km from the main city of Leh, Stakna Monastery belongs to the Drugpa sect. Locally known as "Tiger's Nose", it offers a beautiful view of the Indus Valley. It was build by a Bhutanese saint and scholar, Chosje Jamyang Palkar, in the 16th century. You'll witness several idols inside the monastery and also a 7ft tall silver gilded chorten consisting of a figure of Lord Buddha. It's worth a visit!
Highlights - It houses numerous paintings of the Buddha, Sakyamuni and Bodhisattva as well as Buddhist scriptures. It is also famous for its statue of Arya Avolaketesvara.
Best Time To Visit - July To September
5. Diskit Monastery
The oldest and largest Buddhist monastery of Nubra valley, Diskit Monastery offers a breathtaking view of the Valley. It is famous for its morning prayer, one which you should not miss. Diskit monastery or Deskit Gompa was founded in the 14th century. Its adminstration runs a school supported by the NGO, Tibet Support Group.
Highlights - Jampa Buddha statue is a major attraction.
Best Time To Visit - During the Festival of Scapegoat or Dosmoche, where you can enjoy the famous masked dance. December-January.
6. Takthok Monastery
Housing close to 55 lamas, Takthok Monastery is famous for its magnificent architecture, murals, assembly hall and the holy throne of Dalai Lama. The monastery has a temple, a Dukhang which is stands for an assembly hall and caves. The monastery also has the Kandshur, the sacred book of Buddha’s teachings in 108 volumes. Exciting Right? Intrigued to know what's more - pay a visit to it!
Highlights - Meditation cave of Padmasambhava and statues of Future Buddha and Dorje.
Best Time To Visit - Summer time when the festival happens on the 9th and 10th days of the Tibetan calendar’s 6th month and sacred dances are seen at this time.
7. Phyang Monastery
Situated on a hilltop in Fiang village, Phyang Monastery offers a mesmerizing view of the surroundings and is widely known for its wall paintings that depict the Buddhist culture and heritage. Phyang contains numerous sacred shrines inside the monastery, frescoes dating from the royal period, and a 900-year-old museum which has an extensive collection of idols including a number of fine Kashmiri bronzes probably dating to the 14th century, thangkas, Chinese, Tibetan and Mongolian firearms and weapons.
Highlights - Gang-Sngon Tsedup Festival, Sacred Dance Festival, and has a museum which is home to Tibetan, Chinese and Mongolian weaponry and different idols as well.
Best Time To Visit - Gang-Sngon Tsedup Festival-; 28 and 29 of the Tibetan calendar's 5th month; Sacred dances -2nd -3rd of the Tibetan calendar's 6th month
8. Sumda Chun Monastery
Located at 12,700 feet above sea level in the Sumda Chun village, Sumda Chun monastery is one of the oldest monasteries in Ladakh, and its complex comprises of three temples and a huge assembly hall. It's known for the temple built by Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo, the village of Sumda Chun is located at an elevation of over 12,000 ft. The temple is a part of the Sumda Chun Monastery which is one of the oldest Buddhist monasteries in the Ladakh.
Highlights - Image of four headed Vairocana, and murals
Best Time To Visit - May-September
9. Spituk Monastery
10. Lamayuru Monastery
All the lamas of this monastery gather twice in a year, accompanied by three days of masked dancing and a lot more - this happens during the second and fifth months of Tibetan Calendar. You'll also witness murals on walls depicting how a a lama should live. The gompa also serves as a platform for meditation which serves as a perfect escape for tourists looking forward to a peaceful and relaxing vacation in Leh Ladakh. It's one of the most beautiful Buddhist monasteries in Leh Ladakh.
Highlights: 150 monks belong to the monastery, oldest and largest monastery in Ladakh, Tall prayer flag, Naropa Cave, Colorful depiction of the Guardians of the Four Directions
Best Time To Visit - April to June