Hemis Gompa, Hemis, Leh District
Hemis Gompa is the largest and also considered wealthiest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh, situated at Hemis in Leh district. The monastery belongs to the Drukpa or Dragon order of Tibetan Buddhism. Standing on the western banks of Indus River, it is distanced 44 kilometres southeast of the Leh valley along the Leh-Manali highway. Founded in 1630, it has beautiful statues and murals adorning its halls, along with a great collection of sacred Thangkas and other artefacts in its 900-year-old museum. The Hemis Festival is the prominent celebration where one can witness the enchanting sacred mask dance.
Thiksey Monastery, Thiksey, Leh District
Thiksey Monastery is considered the most visually arresting monastery in Ladakh, located on a hill top in Thiksey village, about 19 kilometres east of high-desert city of Leh. Affiliated with the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism, it resembles Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tibet, the largest gompa in the world. Standing spectacularly at 3,600 metres (11,800 feet), it is a 12-storey complex housing many items of Buddhist art such as stupas, statues, thangkas, wall paintings and swords. The Maitreya Temple inside contains a 49 feet-high statue of Maitreya, the largest such statue in Ladakh covering two stories of the colossal monument.
Diskit Gompa, Nubra Valley, Leh District
Diskit Monastery is the oldest and largest monastery in the Nubra Valley, Leh district. Following the Gelug school, the monastery houses a statue of Maitreya Buddha in its prayer hall, various images of other guardian gods and a huge drum. Dosmoche festival held in February is a major attraction here.
Spituk Gompa, Leh District
Spituk Monastery, also known as Pethup Gompa, is a Buddhist monastery distanced 8 kilometres from Leh. Built in the 11th century, it is home to 100 monks and a gigantic statue of Goddess Kali, shown to public during the yearly Spituk festival.
Alchi Monastery, Alchi, Leh District
Alchi Monastery, located in the Alchi village of Leh district, is a complex of temples encompassing 4 separate portions with monuments built at different times. The wall paintings depict Hindu kings as well as teachings of Buddhism. The huge Buddha statue in the complex is a prime attraction.