Situated at a distance of around
40 km southeast of Leh, Hemis is located in the Ladakh division of the
Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. It takes its name from the world famous
Buddhist Gompa situated here.
Hemis monastery was established in 1672 AD by the then king Senge Nampar
Gyalva. Across the stillness of the wide expanse, the Hemis gompa stands
upright built in Tibetan style, jutting out of the mountain top. The
practices at the Hemis monastery are a direct lineal descent of the
teachings expounded in the Mahayoga Tantra school, or the esoteric school of
Hemis Monastery simply conjures up an image of magnificent snow covered
peaks, alpine green valleys and high altitude passes. It reflects the
Buddhist culture and living life in harmony among such harsh climatic
conditions of Ladakh. There are a number of shrines around this great
courtyard, all of them of considerable interest.
Hemis, however, it best known to tourists because of its colorful festival
held in July. At this time, monks perform their traditional dances to
celebrate the birth anniversary of the monastery's founder, Padmasambhava.
Its resident Lamas perform sacred masked dances leading to the destruction
of the evil forces, & sacrificial offerings. The festival takes an
auspicious turn every 12 years in the Tibetan year of the Monkey (2004).