When we travel, we usually first look up for a city, then the tourist destinations ad attractions the city has. However, Hemis is an interesting exception. Most known for Hemis National Park, this town would have been little known if it wasn’t for this forest reserve. Hemis National Park is one of a kind because it lies proud at a high altitude and boasts of a considerable population of wild leopards.

Placed in Ladakh area of J&K, some parts of this forest are also open for trekking. Apart from this, Hemis is also known for a large-scale festival held in July and a striking monastery.

A cultural glimpse of this festival would give you plenty of memorable moments. It’s a great place to see Lamas performing a popular mystic-mask dance, which symbolizes welcoming of happy living and an end to evil spirits.


One of the most popular states of India among tourists, Hemis serves wonderfully as a tourism spot. Known for its paradisiacal beauty and charming slopes, Hemis has become a favorite honeymoon destination for thousands of newlyweds every year. It also serves as the best place for the people who love greenery, mountains and the snow. It is also called the Land of Buddha, Leh and Ladakh.


Hemis Monastery

People who love nature have a truly memorable time when in Ladakh. A place to enjoy truly virgin beauty, Ladakh is also the place for tourists who wish to indulge in spiritual experience. Hemis Town has a number of spiritual places to visit, one of the highly regarded ones being Hemis Monastery. It is built on the west banks of Indus River surrounded by fabulous mountainous scenery.

Hemis has the largest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh, located exactly 47 km from Leh. The monastery belongs to Dugpa Kargyutpa order and it was built entirely in Tibetan style of architecture. The place is considered the richest monastic institution as it boasts of a luxurious and eminent collection of ancient remnants such as gold and silver stupas, copper Buddha statues and many others. Special artifacts, sacred Thangkas and several murals can be found at this monastery.

This monastery has around two hundred branches in the Himalayan region alone and it is home to hundreds of monks. This famous monastery gets visitors from all around the world as it holds some special features like Buddist Kalachakra (Wheel of Life) along with Unique frescoes.

Hemis National Park

Hemis National Park is one of the major attractions of this place and is best known as a high altitude park in India. This park truly depicts the land of Buddha as it is situated in eastern Ladakh region. This National park covers a land area of 3350 sq km boasting a good number of species of mammals. This park was started in 1981 giving a fantastic hub to hundreds of rare bird species. Snow leopard is a very special attraction for tourists visiting this park.

One can also spot birds like the great Tibetan sheep, Serow and Tibetan antelope along with high-altitude birds. The boundaries of this park are worth mentioning. This park is bounded with stunning places like Sumadh and Rumbak along with catchment areas of Markha. The banks of Indus River lie on the northern side of the park. Parts of Zanskar range give an interesting boundary to this park.

Hemis National Park is a great place to enjoy wildlife sighting. Winter season is an appropriate time to enjoy wildlife sightings. Mid-June to mid-October is also a good time to visit this park.

There are three stunning lakes around this park, which tourists enjoy for their wonderful views. Called Tso Kar, Tsomoriri and Pangong Tso, they are a must visit for tourists to Ladakh.

Hemis Festival

A prominent event in Ladakh’s calendar, Hemis Festival is a colorful time to visit this place. This is a two-day festival celebrated every 12 years on the birth anniversary celebration of Tibetan Buddhist founder Guru Padmasambhava. This festival is celebrated as the success of good over evil. A huge number of devotees grab the chance to see the largest Buddha statue decorated with precious pearls and beautiful stones during this festival. True Buddhist culture is seen in every custom of this festival. This traditional festival is worth seeing as one can enjoy spectacular mask dances, traditional attires and sacred plays.

These special mask dances are referred to as Cham dances. They are done according to the beats of drums, horns and cymbals. The festival is celebrated in the largest Ladakh monastery known as Hemis Monastery.

The festival starts with an early morning ritual followed by the beats of musicals drums and cymbals. Next to this, a Dadmokarpo portrait is displayed to the devotees. Traditional music is by musicians, will makes this festival even more divine and entertaining. The Thanka of the monastery is displayed to devotees during the festival as a sign of spiritual strength, wealth and also good health.

During the days of the festival, you will see Ladakhis dressed traditionally in beautiful attires. The fair organized during this festival is colorful and lively. There is a display of some fantastic traditional handicrafts as well. They make a striking takeaway for visitors. A number of cultural activities are held here to entertain devotees and up the spiritual quotient.

Best Time to Visit Hemis

Hemis is a town in Jammu & Kashmir. The best time to visit this place is during summers because weather is pleasant. Winters can be slightly harsh due to heavy snowfall that the region witnesses. However, tourists who want to enjoy snow peaks can visit during the winters. Stay in Hemis is quite reasonable and affordable as there are many budget hotels for tourists.

How to Reach

By Rail

The closest railway station to Hemis is at Jammu. In fact, Jammu Station is well connected to most cities of India.

By Road

One can drive down to Hemis from Srinagar, Leh or Manali. The drive can be difficult so it’s a better idea to travel with a local guide or by cab.

By Air

The airport closest to Hemis is at Leh. It lies 40 km from Hemis National Park. Leh is well connected with daily or weekly flights from Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar.

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