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    Diskit Monastery in Nubra valley in Ladakh

    Monasteries in Ladakh are much more than religious centers. Located in heaven that Ladakh is, these famous monasteries are purifying havens where one can find inner peace. Include them in the itinerary as you plan a trip to Leh Ladakh to enjoy the splendid and spectacular topographical medley comprising snow-capped mountains, sprawling cold deserts, sparkling lakes, surreal glaciers, and serene mountain passes.

    Ladakh has a surreal beauty that allures and fascinates everyone. Ladakh has an amazing history and sparkling heritage too. The monasteries in Ladakh are breath-taking and enchanting structures that still hold the Buddhist heritage alive and fresh. Here are the top 10 Leh Ladakh monasteries that you must visit on your vacation here.

    1. Hemis Monastery

    Top view of Hemis Monastery in Ladakh

    Built during the rule of the King Singge Namgyal, Hemis is one of the largest and most popular monasteries in Ladakh. This is also one of the wealthiest Buddhist monasteries in Leh and Tibet and shares its origin with Naropa- an Indian Buddhist who attained enlightenment here.

    This is one of the most charming Buddhist monasteries in Leh Ladakh, managed and run by the Drukpa sect of Buddhism. It boasts of a spectacular copper statue of Buddha and beautiful paintings, Stupas, articles, and amazing Thangkas depicting various aspects of Buddhist culture.

    Key attractions of Hemis Monastery: 12m long Thanka- which is largest in Ladakh and the Hemis Festival – celebrated during June-July. Dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava, the festival is best known for masked dance performances.

    How to reach Hemis Monastery: It is 40 km southeast of Leh and takes about 1½ hours by a private cab. Taxis coming via Srinagar-Leh highway to Leh can be extended up to Hemis.

    Traveling 122 km east of the Hemis will present you with the surreal view of Pangong Tso lake, one of the most exciting things to visit in Ladakh!


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    2. Thiksey Monastery

    Thiksey Monastery atop a hill

    Resembling the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, Thiksey is one of the beautiful Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh. Snuggled at an altitude of 11,800 feet, this monastery is looked after by the people of Yellow Hat (Gelugpa) sect. It comprises a 12-storey building complex and houses more than 500 monks. Thiksey has a large and precious collection of Buddhist books, journals, statues, scripts, stupas, swords and Thangka paintings.

    Also if you are interested in staying in monasteries in Ladakh, Thiksey lets you realize your dream.

    Key attractions of Thiksey Monastery: 49 ft statue of Maitreya Buddha- largest in entire Ladakh and Dukhang Karmo – a huge long assembly hall

    How to reach Thiksey Monastery: It is 19 km from Leh and can be reached by a private cab. Frequent bus service is available during festivals and other times. These buses ply once a day in the morning.

    3. Diskit Monastery

    Diskit Monastery in Nubra valley in Ladakh

    Located in the beautiful Nubra Valley- Diskit is one of the most beautiful and the oldest Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh, founded in 14th century by Changzem Tsera Zangpo. It belongs to the Gelugpa sect (Yellow Hat) of Tibetan Buddhism and has various Buddha statues, images of other guardian Gods, and a huge drum.
    Owing to the breathtaking location, this one of the famous monasteries in Ladakh offers solemn serenity and inner peace.

    Key attractions of Diskit Monastery: Festival of Scapegoat or Dosmoche festival, mask dance during the festival, and Jampa Buddha statue. One must also experience the Morning Prayer ceremony held there.

    How to reach Diskit Monastery: It is 150 km north of Leh in the Nubra Valley and takes about 4 and a half hours via Khardung La road in privately hired vehicles. The roads are dusty and bumpy and the drive is quite challenging.

    4. Likir Monastery

    Likir Monastery tucked in mountains in Ladakh

    Likir Monastery, popular as Likir Gompa was founded by Lama Duwang Chosje in the 14th century. According to Buddhist mythology, this is the first construction by the Tibetan monks. The museum located inside the monastery showcases a wide array of Tibetan artifacts and relics.

    Key attractions of Likir Monastery: Likir Dosmoche Festival- on the 12th month of Tibetan Calendar and preaching of Pratimoksha disciplines

    How to reach Likir Monastery: Located 53 km west of Leh in the Likir village in the Indus Valley. Along with taxis, many buses travel between Leh and Likir from 5 in the morning to 3 in the afternoon.

    5. Spituk Monastery

    The picturesque Spituk Monastery in Ladakh

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    Spituk Monastery was founded by Od-Ide in the 11th century. Today it is home to a hundred monks. Spituk has three-chapels namely Stok, Sankar and Saboo and consists of ancient memorials, idols, frescoes, statues and religious scriptures.

    Key attractions of Spituk Monastery: A temple dedicated to Vajrabhairava Deity, which accessible to visitors only during Gustor Festival and sacred idol of Amitayus.

    How to reach Spituk Monastery: 11 km from the main town of Leh and 3.4 km from Leh Airport, it is located in Spituk village. You can take a private cab from Leh or any of the locally available conveyance.

    Suggested Read: 10 Hotels In Leh Ladakh For A Cozy Stay: Luxury And Budget Options


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    6. Stakna Monastery

    Stakna Monastery on the top of a cliff in Ladakh

    Stakna- locally known as Tiger’s Nose is a small and serene monastery, founded during the reign of King Jamyang Namgyal in 1580. Located on the left bank of Indus River and perched on a hill, Stakna monastery in Leh Ladakh offers amazing and jaw dropping views of the Indus valley.

    It also houses numerous paintings, idols, and Buddhist scriptures, and has many sister monasteries like in Zanskar-Bardan, Stakrimo, and Sani.

    Key attractions of Stakna Monastery: Statue of Arya Avaloketesvara, Dukhang Assembly Hall with paintings of Sakyamuni, Tsephakmad, and Amchi, silver gilded chorten with Buddha picture and paintings of Bodhisattva, Tshong-san-Gompa, and Padma Sambhava.

    How to reach Stakna Monastery: 25 km from Leh by the banks of Indus River, Stakna can be reached by boarding a local bus. Services are available on daily basis starting early morning.

    7. Alchi Monastery

    Alchi Monastery in Ladakh overlooked by mountains

    Alchi Choskor Monastery is a branch of Likir raised by Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo. It is one of the largest and most reputed monasteries of Ladakh. Its complex comprises of three sections- Dukhang, Sum-tsek, and the temple of Manjushri.
    Unlike others, Alchi is located on a plain land and boasts of ancient sculptures, books, paintings, and figurines.

    Key attractions of Alchi Monastery: Sum-tsek- three-story temple, four armed huge Bodhisattva statue, white Avalokiteshvara statue, idol of Maitreya Buddha, and Jampe Lhakhang Temple.

    How to reach Alchi Monastery: From Leh, travel towards the banks of Indus River off Leh – Srinagar road for 70 km to reach this age old monastery. Private cabs are best options.

    8. Phyang Monastery

    White and ochre coloured Phyang Monastery in Ladakh

    Phyang Gompa belongs to the red hat sect of Buddhism and is perhaps the most impressive monastery in Leh Ladakh. It is located on a hilltop and thus offers stunning views of the surrounding.
    This white and ochre colored structure is one of the must visit monasteries in Ladakh and is an important hub of Digung teachings. The wall paintings at Phyang Gompa depict Buddhist culture and heritage.

    Key attractions of Phyang Monastery: 900-year old museum depicting thangkas, different idols, Mongolian, Tibetan and Chinese weaponry and guns, Gang-Sngon Tsedup Festival, and Sacred Dance Festival

    How to reach Phyang Monastery: 40 km from Leh, cabs take 1 hour 20 minutes to reach this monastery. From Leh, travel towards War Memorial, reach Spituk and then travel further 10 km to reach Phyang village.

    Must Read: 10 Festivals Of Ladakh That Celebrate The Life In The Valley

    9. Takthok Monastery

    Takthok Monastery tucked in mountains in Ladakh

    Located in Ladakh’s Sakti Village- Takthok is the only monastery of the Nyingmapa tradition. It is one of the most famous monasteries in Ladakh and houses close to 55 lamas. It possesses an amazing architectural style with rocky walls and roofs, central courtyard, assembly hall, beautiful frescos, murals, and the holy throne of His Holiness Dalai Lama. The 108 volumes of Kandshur teachings of Buddha are preserved here.

    Key attractions of Takthok Monastery: Meditation cave of Padmasambhava and Statues of Future Buddha, Dorje and Takposal.

    How to reach Takthok Monastery: It is 50 km from Leh and can be reached by bus or a cab. Snowfall and bad weather may hamper the road travel.

    10. Sumda Chun Monastery

    The picturesque Sumda Chun Monastery in Ladakh

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    Again, one of the oldest monasteries of Ladakh – Sumda Chun Monastery was founded by Lotsawa Rinchen Zangpo. This vintage construction comprises of three temples and a huge assembly hall.

    Key attractions of Sumda Chun Monastery: Image of four headed Vairocana and murals of Ratnasambhava, Akshobhya, Amitabha and Amoghasiddhi

    How to reach Sumda Chun Monastery: 65 km away from Leh, Sumda Chun can be reached by private cabs only, as bus service is not available. However, the road is motorable up to Sumda. From there, the track is rugged and bumpy and descends along a stream to reach the gompa.

    If you have missed these heavenly abodes during last Ladakh trip- do include them in the next one. These monasteries in Ladakh are surreal, serene and absolutely stunning.

    Further Read: Travel To These Buddhist Monasteries In India To Find Inner Peace


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