Nestled in the mountains hidden from the main road, Hemis monastery is the spiritual center of the Drukpa lineage or the ‘Red Hat sect’. Hemis gompa is famed for being the largest and richest monastery in Ladakh. It was founded in the 1630s by Stag Tsang Raspa under the royal patronage of King Singge Namgyal.

Hemis monastery is located at a distance of 40 km from Leh town. Thousands of tourists from all over the world assemble at the monastery to celebrate Hemis Tsechu (Tsechu means the tenth day on which the annual monastery festival is carried out) which is dedicated to Padmasambhava or Guru Rinpoche. The three-centuries old silk thangka painting of Guru Rinpoche is only unfurled every 12 years. Also, the Naro Gyantuk (six bone ornaments of Naropa) is put on public display that attracts thousands of Buddhists from all parts of the world to visit Hemis to seek its blessings.

Hemis monastery also has a museum with centuries-old statues and thangkas of Buddhist gods and goddesses. Tourists can purchase curios, paintings and postcards, wooden statues and other artifacts from the museum shop. Tourists can also visit the Naropa Photang (Palace in Ladakhi) on the way to Hemis gompa.