Hemis Monastery, Hemis

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Hemis Monastery, situated around 45 km south-east of Leh, Jammu & Kashmir, is the most prominent tourist attraction of the town of Hemis. This monastery was constructed in the year 1630 by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso. In 1972, King Senge Nampar Gyalva re-established the Monastery in order to promote the religious teachings of the Mahayoga Tantra School. The Hemis Monastery, otherwise known as the Hemis Gompa, was constructed in Tibetan architectural style which displays the Buddhist culture and lifestyle.

Numerous shrines surround the site of the Monastery, but its prime attraction is a copper statue of Buddha, the founder of the Buddhist religion. Paintings on the walls of the veranda depicting the ‘Lords of the Four Quarters’ and the ‘Kalachakra’ or the 'cycles of life' add to the attraction of the Monastery.

The monastery has two prime sections which are the ‘Dukhang’ and the ‘Tshongkhang’. At present, the Drukpa sect of Buddhism has been given the responsibility of maintaining the Hemis Gompa. People in large numbers visit this site during late June, and early July to join the annual festival of Hemis which is celebrated during this time to honour Guru Padmasambhava, an extremely important figure in the history of Tibetan Buddhism.

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