In ladakh these have always been the center of religious, social, economic and even political functions. They are a living institution, especially because of their ecological position in a country where the barren mountainous character of the landscape forces the economy to function on a collective basis. Most of the gompas lie on major ancient trading routes extending from Tibet to Ladakh, among them Hemis, Thiksay, Alchi, Lamayuru, Ringdom, Karsha etc. Almost all the gompas follow a code of architecture. The interior is divided into several halls of which Du- Khang, the main prayer hall, is more spacious. A Gompa also has dwelling cells, library and a large courtyard where dances and other ceremonies are performed.
69 km from Leh the only monastery built on flat ground. Also known as the choskor or religious enclave. About 1000 years back (11th century), This gompa was built by the great translator Ringchen Zangpo. This is very famous for its painting and architecture which has an Indian and Kashmiri influence in them.
Hemis Monastery which is one of the most famous monasteries of the Ladakh region. Hemis is one of the most famous and largest of all monasteries in Ladakh founded in 17th century belongs to the Drukpa order.
This is the largest and most important monastery in Zanskar. It lies north of Padam towards Yalang and can be reached after crossing the Doda river. The monastery is picturesquely perched on a rock high above the river and can be seen from a distance.
Situated 15 km east of Fotu La(4094m), one of the most important and sacred monasteries in Ladakh. Approached in 15 min from the main Srinagar-Kargil-Leh highway by a small path.
It is situated above the palace and was built in 1430. It has a 13.7 m high statue of the Buddha, which the ladakhis call Chamba. According to the lamas this splendid statue is the future Buddha.
Likir around 53 km west of Leh(Ladakh). King Lachhen Gyalpo built this gompa in the 11th century. From Leh, on the way to Saspol there is aroad diverting to the right. About 5 km from the crossing of this road lies Likir. It has 120 lamas.
NAMGYAL TSEMO GOMPA:
The Namgyal Tsemo Gompa was built in 1430 by King Tashi Namgyal. contains a three-story high Buddha image and ancient manuscripts and frescoes. The fort above this gompa is ruined, but the views of Leh from here are breathtakingly beautiful.
Phuktal monastery is like a honeycomb, cut into a rock under a gignantic grotto and has more than 70 Monks. The library three large and one small prayer room etc and the grave of Gangsem Sherap Sampo who founded Phuktal.
This monastery is situated about 17 km away from Leh on the Leh-Kargil road. One has to leave the highway and go 5 km north to reach it. It is visible from far away and looks like a huge palace on the top of a mountain.
70KM west of Leh is the most picturesque monastery of Ladakh and north of the Indus River from Uletokpo village. It is beautifully set in a valley, deep inside a gorge and the most isolated monastery in Ladakh.
Just 3 kms from Leh is this monastery that has a formidable collection of miniature of pure gold and a number of exciting painting. It is well lit and may be visited in the evening as well.
The oldest palace of Ladakh is located at Shey. whichis situated at a distance of 16 km on the Leh-Manali road. King Lhachen Smal Gigun built this palace.
This monastry is built on a lone rocky hill on the right bank of Indus, eight km away from the town of Leh towards Srinagar.
This monastery sits like a crown atop a huge rock hill that appears suddenly amidst lush green fields on the left bank of the Indus, a little upstream of Thiksey.
20KM from Leh is the most picturesque monastery of Ladakh. It belongs to Gelukpa order (Yellow Hat). It is built like the Potala Palace of Tibet.
This monastery above the Sakti Village near a cave. It is said that Padmasambhava stopped here to meditate, while on his way to Tibet.