Surrounded by the Karakorum and the great Himalayas, Ladhakh is a picturesque place in the lap of mountains. It is an ideal location for trips if you aim at finding some quality time with yourself and your loved ones. Monasteries in Ladakh are a major tourist attraction. And one cannot miss to visit them on a trip to Ladakh. It would be like not eating wada pao while you are in Mumbai.
The kind of peace and solitude these monasteries will provide you will make for an enthralling experience. These monasteries are not mere religious centers but places for finding the peace within yourself while exploring the rich culture of Ladakh.
Situated 8 kilometers away from Leh, Spituk is a Buddhist monastery founded by Od-de. The monastery inhabits 100 monks and a statue of Kali which is unveiled only during the annual Spituk festival. According to popular opinion, Spituk ranks 11 amongst ‘Places to visit in Ladakh, Jammu Kashmir’.
Hemis is regarded as the largest monastery of Leh-ladakh region. It has over 200 branches in the Himalayan region and over 1000 monks reside in these branches. The vibrant architecture, ancient statues and images make a visit to this monastery quite a memorable experience. Furthermore, the journey to this monastery is a thrilling experience in itself. It provides amazing scenic views which are no less than a treat to the eyes.
Located 26 kilometers away from Leh, Matho is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery. This monastery has an adjoining museum which showcases the robes and masks worn by the lamas during the annual dance festival. Besides providing a peaceful environment, this monastery will facilitate your exploration about the culture of the location.
Thiksey monastery is also located on a hilltop. Moreover, it’s quite famous for its remarkable similarity with Potala Palace of Lhasa. This monastery derives its name from the Thiksey village which is located on the Leh-Manali highway. The two storey tall Maitreya Buddha statue is the most prominent attraction of this monastery. This statue is also famous as the largest statue in Ladakh.
Wanla Gompa is a historic Buddhist monastery situated in the Wanla village. The three-storied image of the eleven-headed Mahakaruna is the most astounding attraction of this monastery. It is one of the most popular heritage sites and monasteries in Ladakh.
Alchi monastery, located on the banks of Indus river, is renowned as one of the oldest Buddhist learning centers in Northern India. The major tourist attraction in Alchi monastery are woodworks, carvings and huge statues of lord Buddha. Alchi is located near Spituk monastery. So you can easily pay a visit to both of them while you are nearby.
Majorly built up of wood and mud, Phugtal monastery is situated on a clifftop near the famous Lungnak river. To reach this monastery, one needs to trek on the Padum-Manali route which is about 7 kilometers long. So along with exploring the monastery, you will also get the chance to indulge in some adventure through trekking.
Sani monastery presents a rich culture of the place through its architecture. Its various parts date back to different centuries and years, making it quite evident that a lot of rulers contributed to its construction. Moreover, it is constructed in the form of a castle with the Kanika stupa situated at the back of its complex. All these architectural gems make this monastery even more of an exploration site.
Built like a fort, Likir monastery is not only a religious center but is also considered as a heritage site of Ladakh. It is one of the wealthiest monasteries of Ladakh. Likir flaunts various art works including statues made of gold, silver and copper. If you visit Likir Gompa, you should definitely attend the annual festival which is celebrated with great pomp and show. Delicious food and vibrant cultural events mark this festival as a memorable occasion.
Popularly known as the second largest monastic establishment of Zanskar, Stongdey monastery is located 18 kilometers north of Padum, Ladakh region. Standing at the top of a mountain, this monastery provides the tourists with the most astounding scenic views of the Ladakh region. This monastery contains seven temples. These temples display the rich art and craft of the region along with some gorgeous images and statues.
Like most other monasteries, Hundur monastery too derives its name from the village it is located in (Hundar Village). It is situated near the Lachung temple and Diskit monastery. So you can visit these places as well while making a trip to Hundur.
Shey monastery is en route Thikse and Hemis monastery. It is built inside the Shey palace and thus offers the tourists a great many sites to explore. The gold copper guilded statue of Shakyamuni Buddha and stupa are the major attractions of this monastery.
Stakna monastery is located on a hill which looks like a tiger’s. Thus derives its name from it. The monastery is adorned by various paintings of Sakyamuni and Amchi which will certainly prove to be a visual treat. A surreal view of the Indus valley and river from the roof of this monastery is one of its remarkable assets.
Diskit monastery is one of those whom you recognize at one glance. It has a huge statue of lord Buddha situated on top of it which makes it recognizable even from a distance. One can enjoy an astounding panoramic view of the Nubra valley from the roof of this monastery.
This heritage monastery has royal roots. Therefore, there is a lot to explore in it. It has a museum which contains ancient scriptures and statues glorifying its history and heritage which you would not want to miss exploring. Furthermore, the Phyang monastery festival marks as one of the most popular ceremonies in Ladakh and is totally worth a visit.