Forty-eight miles from Leh. Nestled in the rock, Hemis is in a way the Buddhist capital of the region. It is a good starting point for a "Monastery Discovery" tour east of Leh. It is the most famous and one of the most attractive monasteries in Ladakh: superb frescoes, large library, museum, Buddha statues and numerous thangkas attract pilgrims as well as western tourists. About 500 monks reside in this 17th century gompadu, making it the most important in Ladakh. Count 100 Rs for the entrance of the temple and the museum (open from 8h to 13h and from 14h to 18h). Don't miss the statue of Padmasambhava which stands 8 meters high.
Hemis is also famous for the Tse-Chu festival, which takes place every year in June or July. For 3 days the llamas, masked and dressed in large colourful cloths, dance to the sound of the sacred gong in honour of Guru Padamasambhava. A bewitching, unforgettable show!
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