Monasteries in Leh Ladakh
Monasteries are an essential element of Ladakh’s striking culture that also constitutes Buddhism as its major religion. Other than the road adventures and being an exquisite marvel of landscapes, Ladakh has small and large monasteries. Their beautiful scriptures and peaceful aura give a unique characteristic to your travel here! So, if you are wondering about the monasteries situated in the charming vicinity of Ladakh, here is a full-fledged list of all the chief monasteries in Leh Ladakh.
1. Hemis Monastery
In the list of monasteries in Ladakh first is Hemis Monastery is a renowned attraction of Ladakh. The construction is old, it was during the rule of King Sinnge Namgyal in 1672 AD. It organizes a yearly festival called Hemis Tsechu which is a key occasion marking state holiday in Ladakh. On this festival, monks do masked dances to celebrate the win of good over evil. The monastery is around 40 km in the south-east direction of Leh. It is an abode to stunning paintings and a marvelous statue of Buddha.
2. Karma Dupgyud Choeling Monastery
Furthermore, in the list of monasteries in Ladakh, this is the second monastery. This has been playing an imperative role in the propagation of Buddhist values and culture in Ladakh for years. It is just 9 km from Leh and Lama Chime Dorje Rimpoche established it in 1973. Tibetan Buddhists of Karmapa Sect manages this place. It has a mud-brick complex where Dukhang is located and working quarters are also in the monastery.
3. Matho Monastery
In the list of monasteries in Ladakh third Matho Monastery. It is present in the vicinity of the panoramic Indus Valley & built around 500 years ago. Therefore, it is a great place to unravel and learn Buddhist teachings and history. Founded by Lama Dugpa Dorja in the year 1410, Matho Monastery has an amazing collection of ancient Thangas and also hosts the yearly matho Nagrang Festival. This festival comes in the first half of March & is a must for those exploring Ladakh’s vivid culture and vibrant festivals!
4. Rangdum Gompa
The fourth monastery in Ladakh Rangdum Gompa comes in the middle of Kargil and Padum and is located on an ascending mountain and close to a beautifully serene mountain stream! Established by Losang Geleg Yeshe Drogpa in the 18th century, this monastery is near to Jolidok Village. It resembles an old fortification on the top of a picturesque mountain.
5. Lamayuru Monastery
One of the oldest monasteries of Ladakh, Lamayuru Monastery is on the highway between Bodhkhabru and Kha-La-che. Mahasiddhacharya Naropa established it in the 11th century. This monastery is associated with the Red Hat-Sect of Buddhism and has a wonderful collection of wall paintings and thangkas.
6. Samstanling Monastery
Lamayaru Monastery is situated in Sumlur village and was established by Lama Tsultim Nima in 1841. It is around 124 km from Leh and is covered with the beautiful gold, red ochre and white colors all around making it a charming attraction! Entering the monastery you will see colorful religious flags and the interiors are filled with religious paintings of Buddha and his lectures along with other significant facts of Buddhism. The interesting thing about this monastery is a 7-year-old young boy you will meet at the entrance, who ties a thread on every tourist’s hand and blesses them with solemnity!
7. Phugtal Monastery
Coming under the beautiful Zanskar Range, Gangsem Sherap Sampo constructed Phugtal Monastery at the beginning of 12th century by . Established on a Cliffside, this monastery has a honeycomb-like shape and is made of wood and mud. However, it is also near to a tributary of river Lunglak and Phugtal monastery is an abode to around 70 monks. You have to take a 7 km long trekking route starting from Purney Bridge and availed from Padum-Manali route.
8. Alchi Monastery
Established between 958 and 1055, Alchi Monastery was founded by the famous translator Guru Rinchen Zangpo and is situated in the Alchi village of Leh. This monastery has temples called as gTsug-lag-Khang (main temple), ‘Jam-dpal lHa-Khang (Manjushri temple) and Dukhang (assembly hall), which are located inside and are divided into 4 portions having monuments from separate time periods. There are three temples in the central complex and the interior of the monastery there are several paintings of the times of Hindu Kings as well as the Buddhism teachings.
9. Diskit Monastery
The oldest as well as the largest monastery of Nubra Valley, Diskit Monastery is another famous monastery to visit in Leh Ladakh. It houses Maiterya Buddha’s striking statue along with several other statues of many Guardian Gods and a big drum, all these are inside the tranquil prayer hall of Diskit Monastery. It comes under the Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism and it is Changzem Tserab Zangpo’s establishment. He was a disciple of Gelugpa’s originator Tsong Khapa. Moreover, Dosmoche Festival is a significant occasion celebrated by the monastery in February every year.
10. Spituk Gompa
Spituk Gompa has situated 8 km from Leh. Od-de, Lha Lama Changchub’s brother constructed it in the 11th century. It is also an abode to a big statue of Goddess Kali and is showed every year to the people at the time of Spituk Festival. This monastery also organizes the Gustok Festival annually at the time of the eleventh month of the Tibetan Calendar.
11. Likir Gompa
By the commands of Ladakh’s 5th king, Lhalchan Gyalpo Likir Gompa was built. Then Lama Duwang Chosje constructed it in 1065. It also belongs to Gelugpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.They hosts a vibrant yearly festival coming on 27th to 29th of the 12th month of Tibetan Calendar. They celebrate it with religious dances by the artists of the region!
12. Thiksey Gompa
One of the most visited and famed monasteries of Ladakh, Thiksey Gompa is located in Thiksey village and has a striking resemblance to the beautiful Potala Palace of Tibet. Around this monastery, there is a lovely golden, red ochre and white colors. With a breathtaking landscape in the background, the whole attraction is a lovely sight to behold!
13. Shey Monastery
Situated on a hilltop, Shey Monastery is located in the summer capital of Leh, i.e. Shey. A huge gold plated copper statue of Shakyamuni Buddha is inside the monastery. It is actually known as the second largest statue of Ladakh region. The history behind the establishment of this monastery says that it was constructed on the commands of Ladakh’s King, Deldan Namgyal who wanted to build this monastery in the memory of his father, Singay Namgyal. Shey monastery is although in ruins but still is a great attraction to explore in Ladakh!
14. Rizong Gompa
Locally referred to as Yuma Changchubling, Rizong Gompa was founded in 1854 by Lama Tsultim Nima and is under the Gelugpa Sect of Buddhism. It is also renowned as the Paradise of Meditation so if you are feeling a little lost during your trip to Ladakh, plan a short trip to Rizong Gompa and sit down for a while to meditate! The monastery has small shrines inside and is also located north to the river Indus which adds charm to the panoramas of this attraction!
15. Alchi Choskor Monastery
Lotsava Rinchen Zangpo constructed Alchi Choskor Monastery when he commanded four families to nurture Choskor in the absence of any monastic communities during the 15th century. It is around 69 km from Leh. This monastery comes under Lekin monastery. It is another peaceful monastery to spend some hours pondering over the temples inside and meditating in the serene aura in the prayer hall of this monastery!
16. Sankar Monastery
Sankar Monastery is the main dwelling of Kushok Bakul, the chief head of Gelukpa Sect in the region. The folk art is gripping and lovely altogether once you enter the monastery and there is a divine aura surrounding this attraction. You have to keep the timings in mind while planning a trip, as the monastery is only open from 7 am to 10 am and 5 pm to 7 pm. In the morning, the white and golden colors combine beautifully with the clear blue skies while by the evening, the golden colors light up strikingly with the twinkling sky!
17. Wanla Gompa
Wanla Gompa comes under Ladakh’s Wanla village. It is a renowned historical attraction because it’s construction is old, around 1000 A.D. After entering the monastery, you will find the striking three-storied picture of the 11-headed Avalokiteshwara or Mahakaruna along with various other paintings of Buddha, Bodhisattvas and Mandalas.
18. Phyang Gompa
Built in 1515, Phyang Gompa comes under the Red Hat Sect of Buddhism. It is around 40 km from Leh. It is on a hilltop. Dharmaraja Jamyang Namgial gifted the area to be used as a monastic property to Chosje Damma Kunga. The monastery has several religious sites. There are stunning wall paintings showing the royal times and other key events. There is also a museum inside which is actually 900 years old. It displays a spectacular compilation of thangkas, Tibetan and Chinese weapons, and historical artifacts and collections. Phyang Gompa hosts Gang-Sngon Tsedup Festival from 17th to 19th of the first month of Tibetan Calendar. Moreover, they organize the sacred dance festival here during the second and third day of the sixth month of the Tibetan Calendar.
19. Stakna Monastery
Stakna Monastery refers to the hill that resembles a tiger’s nose, i.e. stakna. It is around 25 km from Leh and famous Bhutanese Saint and Scholar named Chose Jamyang constructed it in the 16th century. Stakrimo, Bardan, and Sani in Zanskar are the three other monasteries around Stakna Monastery.
20. Zongkhul Monastery
Zongkhul Monastery is an exquisite cave monastery and here you can unravel the historical murals and frescoes of Buddha. It belongs to Drugpa Sect of Buddhism. Norpa, a Buddhist yogi has constructed this place for meditation. You can see a historic compilation of artifacts including an ivory picture of Samvara, a crystal stupa and various pictures of Buddha, Padmasmbhava, Mahakala and Mitukpa.
Therefore, these monasteries in Leh Ladakh are not only significant tourist attractions but are a quintessential part of the lives of locals. In addition, they give every traveler an opportunity to mingle with the sweet Ladakh locals and make lots of memories here! So, make sure to visit all of them during your trip to Ladakh and you will find yourself calm and refreshed with serenity! Happy Journey!
Camp in Leh
Bikamp Adventures has permanent campsites at
1) Leh, Ladakh