Monasteries are the unique flavor and beauty of the Leh Ladakh.  There are innumerable monasteries in Ladakh, some in ruins while others are still in inhabited, running as educational and religious centers. Most of these monasteries are ancient and world-renowned. They are visited by both local and international followers of Buddhism in large number, every year. The famous monasteries in Ladakh are:

  • Hemis: Hemis Monastery, 40 km towards the south-east of the main city of Leh is the largest as well as the most well-known monastery (Gompa) in Ladakh.
  • Alchi: 69 km from Leh, Alchi Monastery is located in the Alchi village in Leh.This monastery is actually a complex of temples  consisting of 4 separate portions that has monuments built at different times. The main complex has three temples- gTsug-lag-Khang (main temple), ‘Jam-dpal lHa-Khang (Manjushri temple) and Dukhang (assembly hall).
  • Spituk: located 8 km away from the main city of Leh, Spituk Monastery was founded by Od-de, the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub. Today, it is home to 100 monks as well as a giant statue of goddess Kali, which is shown to the public during the yearly Spituk festival.
  • Phyang: Placed around 40 km westwards of Leh town, Phyang Gompa belongs to the red hat sect of Buddhism. White and ochre colored monastery lies on a hill top and seems to be overlooking the surrounding village.
  • Shey: The building complex of Shey Monastery located on the hilltop of Shey (the summer capital of the Leh city) is 15 kms towards the South of the main city of Ladakh. It was built in 1655 after the order the king of Ladakh, Deldan Namgyal (Lhachen Palgyigon). The building which is mostly in ruins today was built by the king in the memory of his deceased father Singay Namgyal.
  • Thikse: One of the largest and architecturally most impressive gompa, Thikse Gompa, of the Yellow Hat (Gelugpa) sect, is around 19 kms to the East of the main city of Leh.