Leh-Ladakh with its raw beauty comprising of rugged mountains, deep valleys, and the Indus River flowing through it, is a dream destination for many. Another attractive feature of the Leh- Ladakh landscape is the number of Buddhist monasteries that are not only aesthetically pleasing but also architecturally interesting. These monasteries are the place of worship, meditation, and religious teachings for the followers of the Buddha. Do not forget to explore some of these monasteries and experience the calm of meditation once your Delhi to Leh flight lands.
One of the most ancient monasteries in the region is the Diskit Monastery which is also the administrative centre of the Nubra Valley. Founded by Changzen Tserab Zangpo in the 14th Century this monastery is situated on a hill above the plains of Shayok river. The monastery also called Diskit Gompa, houses a huge Maitreya Buddha Statue besides a vast collection of murals, and a display of frescoes. The base of the statute that was inaugurated by HH Dalai Lama offers a panoramic view of the Nubra Valley. The Dosmoche festival held here in December is a major attraction for tourists.
Known for its magnificent architecture and religious importance, the Thiksey Gompa monastery offers spectacular views. Famous for its hospitality, this monastery provides rooms with essential amenities to tourists for a limited duration. Do not miss the chance to meditate in this peaceful and serene place and learn more about Buddhism by visiting the well-stocked library here. Other highlights of this monastery are the Gustor festival that is celebrated from the 17th to the 19th of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar. You also get a chance to see an ancient temple built by Rinchen Zangpo.
One of the richest monasteries in India, the Hemis Monastery is located quite close to the Leh town. Famous for its annual Hemis festival that involves vibrant rituals and mask dances. The monastery offers accommodation for tourists wanting to stay for an extended period and looking for a peaceful ambience.
This monastery is located atop a hill in the Zangla area of the Kargil region. Famous for its beautiful wall paintings and murals, the monastery houses around 150 lamas of the Drukpa order. Visitors flock to this monastery for seeing the Tibetan studies conducted by the Hungarian scholar Korosi Csoma Sandor in 1823-1824
Built on the land that was blessed by Lama Duwang Chosie, this monastery is said to have been encircled by the bodies of two great serpent spirits, the naga rajas and so is called Likir which means the Naga-Encircled. Another important feature of this monastery is that the three basic Pratimoksa disciplines that form the basis of all Buddhist teachings are observed here. Votive offerings called Dosmochey are offered here every year on the 27th to 29th days of the twelfth month of the Tibetan calendar.
A visit to these monasteries is not only educative but also soothing for the mind. And if you have some time before catching the Leh to Delhi flight, do visit the nine-story Leh Palace, the Mahabodhi International Meditation centre, and the Stok Palace Museum.