Sky High Treks and Tours
Stakna, Hemis, Matho, Stok Monasteries
These monasteries all lie on the south side of the Indus River. Hemis is about one hour from Leh by jeep and is the furthest away. Stakna and Matho lie about halfway between Leh and Hemis. Stok is a short drive across the Indus from Leh.

Stakna Monastery is on the bank of the Indus River about y 25 km from Leh. The monastery was founded around 1580 AD as one of the many religious estates offered by Jamyang Namgial to Chosje Jamyang Palkar, the great scholar saint of Bhutan. Stakna belongs to the Drugpa and has a number of monasteries attached to it, namely Mud and Kharu and those of Stakrimo, Bardan and Sani in Zanskar.

Hemis is the largest and wealthiest monastery in Ladakh. It was founded in 1630 CE by the first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso. This monastery of the Drugpa order stands on the bank of the Indus River about 47 km east of Leh. Hemis has a rich collection of ancient relics, including a copper-gilt statue of the Buddha, gold and silver stupas and sacred thankas. The thanka of the monastery, depicting Guru Padmasambhava, is displayed every twelve years on the day of the Hemis Festival. Further up the valley behing the monastery is the sacred hermitage and meditation cave of Gyalwa Kotsang.

Monks at Matho Gompa
Monks at Matho Gompa
Matho Gompa was founded by Lama Dugpa Dorje in the 16th century and is the only gompa of Ladakh belonging to the Saskya order of Tibetan Buddhism. It is situated approximately 26 km to the southeast of Leh. The monastery houses a rich collection of four hundred year old thankas, and there are a number of sacred shrines near the monastery, one of which is dedicated to the guardian deities.

Stok Gompa of Ladakh is about 15 km south of Leh. Dating back to the 14th century it was founded by Lama Lhawang Lotus. Stok is a subsidiary of the Spituk Gompa and belongs to the yellow-hat sect of Buddhism. The assembly hall has a rich collection of banners and thankas. The walls are adorned with the images of Vajrapani (Vajra-in-Hand) and Avalokitesvara (Lord of All He Surveys), in his four-armed manifestation, Sakyamuni (the Historical Buddha) and his two disciples, Amchi (the Buddha Medicine), Tara (the Saviouress) and Nangyalma.

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