Famous Buddhist Monasteries in Ladakh

Famous Buddhist Monasteries in Ladakh

Hidden between the mountainous range of Kunlun and the Himalayas, Ladakh is the centerpiece of the Buddhist culture. The region is crowded with Buddhist representations and believe it or not, Ladakh features over 100 monasteries. All of them are crowded with religious people who pray and meditate all day long. The head of a monastery is called Lama, which means reincarnation. If you want to visit these monasteries, you should know that the only way to reach them is by foot, as they’re usually located in remote areas. Nevertheless, the efforts you’ll put into reaching the sanctuaries will definitely pay off.

mon1

Tiksey Monastery – the Queen of all Monasteries

Tiksey Monastery is situated 3600 meters above the sea level, at a distance of around 20 kilometers from Leh. The sacred place is the most famous in Ladakh, and the fact that it’s located on a hill makes it look as if it was looking over the whole region. Besides, Tiksey is considered to be the leading monastery in Ladakh because it’s where Tiksey Rinpoche, the most important leader of Ladakh Gelug School ruled. According to some legends, Tiksey Monastery was constructed by Palden Sangpo, who learned everything from Tsongkhapa, the person who reformed Gelug School. Since Tiksey is the most popular monastery in the region and also the most visited one, you can imagine that the 15-meter statue representing the Buddha is quite statuesque. In fact, the statue housed by the monastery is amongst the largest in the region. Visitors love the architecture and they’re also charmed by the determination of the 100 monks who live here.

mon2

Hemis Monastery

Famous Buddhist Monasteries in Ladakh

Hidden between the mountainous range of Kunlun and the Himalayas, Ladakh is the centerpiece of the Buddhist culture. The region is crowded with Buddhist representations and believe it or not, Ladakh features over 100 monasteries. All of them are crowded with religious people who pray and meditate all day long. The head of a monastery is called Lama, which means reincarnation. If you want to visit these monasteries, you should know that the only way to reach them is by foot, as they’re usually located in remote areas. Nevertheless, the efforts you’ll put into reaching the sanctuaries will definitely pay off.

mon3

Tiksey Monastery – the Queen of all Monasteries

Tiksey Monastery is situated 3600 meters above the sea level, at a distance of around 20 kilometers from Leh. The sacred place is the most famous in Ladakh, and the fact that it’s located on a hill makes it look as if it was looking over the whole region. Besides, Tiksey is considered to be the leading monastery in Ladakh because it’s where Tiksey Rinpoche, the most important leader of Ladakh Gelug School ruled. According to some legends, Tiksey Monastery was constructed by Palden Sangpo, who learned everything from Tsongkhapa, the person who reformed Gelug School. Since Tiksey is the most popular monastery in the region and also the most visited one, you can imagine that the 15-meter statue representing the Buddha is quite statuesque. In fact, the statue housed by the monastery is amongst the largest in the region. Visitors love the architecture and they’re also charmed by the determination of the 100 monks who live here.

mon4

Hemis Monastery

The monastery is located at a 47-kilometer distance from Leh, on the west shore of the Indus River. Hemis Monastery was discovered in 1630 by the premier incarnation of a man called Stagsang Raspa Gyats and it is the biggest monastery in Ladakh. Concealed in nothing more than a gorge, the sacred place belongs to the Dugpa. Visitors are mainly attracted by the Hemis festival, whose goal is to honor Guru Padmasambhava, the man who founded Tantrik Buddhism as we know it. Every 12 years, the tapestry that pictures Padmasambhava is revealed to the public during this festival. Hemis Monastery is known for its various silver and gold stupas, as well as for its large number of sacred Thankas. If you visit this monastery you will get the chance to see the sacred mask dance that takes place during the festive season.

mon5

Strongdey Monastery

The beautiful monastery is immense, and it’s located 18 kilometers north from Padum, at a 3,500-meter altitude. Strongdey Monastery is often associated with Marpa, the Tibetan Yogi. One of the main attractions of the sanctuary is its large number of temples, which are the responsibility of the 60 Gelukpa monks who live here. The road to the monastery lasts four hours, but the view is worth all your efforts. The place can be visited between July and November, even though the perfect climate for trekking in this particular area is in June.

Sani Monastery

Sani Village is located on the road that leads to Kargil, at a distance of around 6 kilometers from Padum. The fact that its architecture is similar to the one of a castle attracts tourists from all over the world, turning it into one of the most visited monasteries in Ladakh. Unlike other monasteries, this one is constructed on a more solid surface. The main part of the building features a central prayer hall that is known for its multi columns, as well as for its amazing collection of famous Buddhist saints and monks. The chapel located behind this building is also appreciated by tourists, and the old cemetery surrounded by ancient rock carving gives this place a unique Indian influence. Rumor has it that the Indian Yogi of Vikramshila has meditated under one of the stupas found in this monastery. This place has been carefully preserved and an additional room was added to house Yogi’s veiled statue. During the annual festival, the veil is removed and people are allowed to get closer.

To conclude, Ladakh is the perfect destination for tourists fascinated by other cultures and religions. The large number of monasteries located in this region will amaze your with their haunting beauty, while the time spent inside these praying locations will hopefully compel  you become a better person.

 

Leave a Comment