Hemis Monastery is revered as the largest monastic institution in Ladakh district of Jammu and Kashmir in north India. The monastery has more than 200 branches with more than 1,000 monks in the Himalayan region. Situated in the foothills of Indus at a distance of 45 km from Leh, the monastery has access to motorable roads. Travelling to Hemis monastery itself is a thrilling experience and the surroundings make the journey a memorable one.
Hemis Monastry is the wealthiest monastery in India and famous for its rich collection of ancient remnants like the statue of Buddha made of copper, stupas made of gold and silver. Monastery also has sacred Thangkas, murals and various artifacts. The Tibetan Buddhist monastery belongs to the Drukpa Lineage or the Dragon Order of Mahayana Buddhism. Gyalwang Drukpa, Tsangpa Gyare Yeshe Dorje in founded Drukpa Linegae 13th century. King Sengge Namgyal re-established it in the 17th century.
The Tibetan style architecture of the monastery is very colourful and attractive. It is divided into two parts – the assembly hall known as Dukhang and the temple which is called Tshogkhang. The huge courtyard of the monastery is also worth a visit. All the celebration and public functions are held here. Verandah is decorated with colourful wall paintings of Buddhist Kalchakra. Below the monastery there is Chomoling which is the abode of nuns. The Hemis National Park, one of the high altitude national parks in the country, is close to the monastery. The park is famous for rare animals like snow leopard.
The Hemis festival attracts lots of tourist from across the world. Thanka of the monastery can be seen during the festival every twelfth year which is a sign of good health and spiritual strength. The monastery is like an institution which traces its intellectual order from the Vajrayana school of Tantric Buddhism which is divided into several sects like Kargyu, Sakya, Gelug. The practices in the monastery are direct lineal descent of the teachings of the Mahayoga Tantra school.
Hemis has budget to luxury range of hotels. Monastery also provides overnight stay to tourists. Locals also offer homestay facilities. Monastery provides food to the tourists. It also follows the tradition of offering butter tea to the visitors. Outside monastery there are number of restaurants that serve the traditional Tibetan and Indian dishes.
The best time to visit Hemis for tour and trek is between May and September, when the weather is pleasant. Most of the trekking routes are closed after November due to heavy snowfall.
BEST TIME TO VISIT HEMIS
The average minimum and maximum temperature of Hemis is as given below. The best time to visit Hemis is also specified.