The 5 most beautiful monasteries in Ladakh

Even if you are not interested in Buddhist philosophy, the many Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh leave a lasting deep impression on many people. The white monasteries, which often hang like eagle's nests against the rocks, contrast beautifully with the often steel-blue sky and provide wonderful images and experiences. In this article, we will explore the most impressive monasteries in Ladakh, which you won’t want to miss.

In the Indus Valley alone, which is a short distance from Leh, there are about fifteen monasteries. You can very easily visit these yourself by cab or by renting a motorcycle. Cab prices are fixed and very reasonable.

Beyond the walls of Ladakh's Buddhist monasteries, you enter a wonderful world of gods, mythical beings and countless symbols. The exact position and dimensions of the gompa itself, the murals, and the position of the statues is determined by Tibetan principles of unity and geometry.

The multitude of images and murals reads like a history of Tibetan Buddhism. In addition to the images of Buddha, many monasteries have numerous images of lamas and bodhisattvas (Enlightened Beings). Often they are the founders of the gompa or are historical figures who spread Buddhism throughout the Indian subcontinent.

Given their beautiful architecture that are treasure troves of Buddhist knowledge and absolute serenity, these Buddhist monasteries indeed act as an oasis for spiritual awakening.

Key Gompa

All Buddhist monasteries in Ladakh are also protected by the Dharmapala, demons characterized by terrifying faces, sharp claws and wild eyes. They carry powerful weapons and (necklaces) with human heads. The most famous figure is Mahakala, the Buddhist spitting image of the Hindu god Shiva.

Which monasteries should you visit?

As you plan your journey through this amazing Ladahk region, you might wonder, "Which monasteries must I have seen to truly grasp the essence of Ladakh?" Worry not, for we are here to guide you through the spiritual heart of this extraordinary place. Let us share with you the monasteries in Ladakh that are worthwhile experiences for anyone looking for the cultural and spiritual richness of this region.

Hemis Monastery, Ladakh

Located on the banks of the Indus River, Hemis Monastery is considered the most ethnically charged Buddhist site in the country. Only forty-five kilometers (28 miles) from the city of Leh, the main attraction of the monastery is the annual Hemis festival held every year in the month of June or July.

Picture by: Wanderon.in

June is not only the best time to visit Ladakh, but if you plan to travel to Ladakh during this season, you are welcome to this part of the country with rich Buddhist customs and festivals.

Diskit Monastery

Diskit Monastery is known as the largest and oldest monastery in the Nubra Valley in Ladakh. The Diskit region is home to several ancient monasteries, of which this 14th-century monastery belongs to the Tibetan sect of Buddhism.

Picture by: Wanderon.in

Sitting more than 3000 meters (10.000 ft) above sea level, the 108-meter-high (354 ft) statue of Maitreya Buddha, also known as the "Future Buddha" in Buddhist scriptures, is the only statue that stands out amid the simply beautiful scenery of this cold desert valley .

Thiksey Monastery

Amid the arid beauty of Ladakh's mountains, Thiksey Monastery acts as an oasis of peace and purity. Known as the largest monastery in the central Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir, its soothing atmosphere, views of the Himalayas, clear skies and the sound of the majestic Indus River make this place truly sacred.

Picture by: https://vargiskhan.com/

The monastery is known for its location and architecture that resembles the fort building style in Tibetan culture. It houses more than 200 monks and nuns. If you want to spend the night you could staye at Chamba Hotel, which means you are ideally situated to attend the early morning prayer at the Monastery.

Phuktal Monastery

Often known as one of the most remote monasteries in the world, Phuktal Gompa is located in a remote valley of the Zanskar Mountains. The location of this monastery is so remote that supplies must be transported through the frozen Zanskar River during the winter months.

Picture by https://www.mountainhomestays.com/

Hidden in deep valleys in the mountains, the life of the monks and people from the neighboring village of Lungnak will amaze you, making it truly worth traveling so far into the world.

Lamayuru Monastery, Ladakh

Also known as the Yuru Monastery, this place is also known as the Moon Land, given the region's lunar landscape. At an altitude of more than 3,000 meters (10.000 ft), the monastery is the largest and oldest Buddhist gompa in the state of Ladakh.

Picture by: https://www.thrillophilia.com/

To witness the spirit of the Buddhist culture of this place you can choose to visit the area during the annual masked dance festival held twice a year

This article was last updated on March 09, 2024.