Saturday, September 19, 2009

Hemis Gompa, Leh

Hemis Gompa, is located about 50km away from Leh city. To reach this monastery, one has to take Manali-Leh highway and deviate right at Karu. The road winds up after Karu and ends at the largest monastery in Ladakh - Hemis Gompa, which is located snugly amidst mountains. The entry tickets cost Rs. 50 which includes entry to Gompa and the museum.

The door at the entrance leads to a spacious courtyard to the right of which is the sanctum sanctorum. On the walls are installed the prayer wheels canopied by red coloured wooden ceiling. The gompa is a tall one led by steep stairs, on the sides of which are two wooden pillars with artwork on the ceiling. Two storey wooden balcony could also be seen on front facade of Gompa. At the entrance of gompa are some colour faded yet beautiful paintings of Buddhist legend and inside the gompa, we saw a monk sitting silently and there were benches painted red, meant for prayers. We also saw many offerings by the devotees - colourful bands, money in different currencies and dry fruits. It was extremely silent.

Just outside the door, a stairway leads up to another temple which has a magnificent statue of some Buddhist legend. From there we entered the terrace of the gompa to have a panoramic view of the surrounding mountains. On the otherside of the courtyard, we saw many ancient paintings of Buddha's incarnations, probably once were of rich colours have now been faded and some of them defaced. The museum is definitely worth visiting, it's got some very rare and precious objects of Buddhism. Photography is strictly prohitbited inside the museum, one can buy souviners like T-shirts and postcards from the museum store.

The best part of the gompa was the peace and silence it offers. You can hear no voice of humans except those of guides, if there are any. For people like us from hubbub and turmoil of the city, Hemis gompa offers peace of mind.

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