47 Km from Leh on the west bank of the Indus, the monastery belongs to Dugpa Kargyutpa order, built on a green hillside surrounded by spectacular mountain scenery, is hidden in a gorge. It is the biggest and richest monastery in Ladakh and is must see for visitors. Sacred mask dance is performed on 9th, and 10th, day of the Tibetan 5th, month of Tibetan calendar. During the Hemis Tsechu held in the year of the Monkey it is possible to see the sacred appliqué- work tapestry wrought with pearls the depicts the precious teacher Padmasambhava.Next display of great Thanka will be in 2004.Within the monastery there are to be seen a copper-gilt statue of the Lord Buddha, various stupas made of gold and silver, sacred thankas and many objects. The monastery was founded by the 1st incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso in 1630, which was invited to Ladakh by the king Singay Namgial and offered him a religious estate through out the region. A pleasant 3 Km walk, on the side of the mountain above the monastery there is a sacred hermitage founded by the great Gyalwa Kotsang where in the cave, his foot-print and hand - print on the rock is available for visit. This Kotsang is an old hermitage, which was founded many years before the Hemis Monastery. A stay in Hemis over night enables you to attend early morning prayers, a moving experience and strongly recommended.