Situated at a distance of around 40 km southeast of Leh, Hemis is located in the Ladakh division of the Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir. It takes its name from the world famous Buddhist Gompa situated here.The Hemis monastery was established in 1672 AD by the then king Senge Nampar Gyalva. Across the stillness of the wide expanse, the Hemis gompa stands upright built in Tibetan style, jutting out of the mountain top. The practices at the Hemis monastery are a direct lineal descent of the teachings expounded in the Mahayoga Tantra school, or the esoteric school of vajrayana.
Hemis Monastery simply conjures up an image of magnificent snow covered peaks, alpine green valleys and high altitude passes. It reflects the Buddhist culture and living life in harmony among such harsh climatic conditions of Ladakh. There are a number of shrines around this great courtyard, all of them of considerable interest. Hemis, however, it best known to tourists because of its colorful festival held in July. At this time, monks perform their traditional dances to celebrate the birth anniversary of the monastery's founder, Padmasambhava. Its resident Lamas perform sacred masked dances leading to the destruction of the evil forces, & sacrificial offerings. The festival takes an auspicious turn every 12 years in the Tibetan year of the Monkey (2004).