Situated at a distance of about 45 km from Leh, amidst the lofty mountains, on the western bank of the river Indus stands one of the most significant monastery of Ladakh called ’Hemis Monastery ’.
Scenic location, spiritual energy and stunning architecture of the monastery attracts large number of tourists to itself.
Hemis Monastery is one of the oldest and richest monasteries of Ladakh. Its presence dates back to before 11th century. It was re-established by the king Sengge Namgyal in the year 1672.
Hemis monastery is major tourist attraction of Ladakh and one must add it on their itinerary. It is a Buddhist Monastery that belongs to Drukpa Lineage. The monastery host a festival called Hemis Festival. The festival is the celebration of the birth of Lord.
It is 2 day long festival dedicated to the Lord Padmasambhava venerated as a dance performance which represents reincarnate of Buddha. It is celebrated once in 12 years on the 10th day of 5th month of the monkey calendar. The lord is believed to have been born on the said date (i.e. 10th day of 5th month of the monkey calendar). It is said this was already predicted in Buddha Shakyamuni.
The festival is a charming experience. It is hosted in the courtyard of the monastery. The festival begins with blowing off 3-metre long two brass trumpets and the monastery showcases a beautiful image of Lord Padmasambhava which is brought out in the courtyard by the chief Lama.
The devotees worship the Lord and perform cham Dance, where in the resident Lamas wear masks and perform a dance as per Tantric tradition. The extravaganza is organised in the memory of the lord, it is said observance of these rituals blesses one with good health and spiritual strength.
The monastery houses a number of valuables such as a massive copper statue of the Buddha, Stupas made of gold and silver, statue of the Guru Rinpoche (Lord Padmasambhava ), weapons and carriers and a number of Thangkas (paintings) that are exhibited in the Hemis festival.
If you wish to experience the grand festival you will have to wait a couple of years as the next festival will be held in June/ July in the year 2024.
One visiting the Hemis Monastery can visit the nearby Hemis National park. It is located at elevation of 3000-6000 meter from the sea level. This is among the world’s highest wild life sanctuary. There are chances that visitor will spot snow leopards during the visit.
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