Gotsang Hermitage

Buddhist Temple in Hemis

Predating Hemis Monastery by several centuries, Gotsang is a roadless, monastic hermitage with two attractive main temple buildings. The site was originally just a wild mountain cave in which Tantric master Gyalwang Gotsang (1189–1258) meditated. Also known as Golsangapa, he was the enlightened Tibetan lama who charted the pilgrim path around Mt Kailash and to whom Ladakh's Drukpa Buddhists cast back their lineage (the current Gyalwang Drukpa being his 12th incarnation).

The age-blackened cave is now hidden within the monastic building to the left as you climb up from Hemis Gompa (around 50 minutes' walk up, 30 back). It's now dotted with 'magically' hanging coins and banknotes and fronted by murals. Enter the colourful new prayer hall, and find the cave through the second door, behind a silk cloth. A stone above the door is believed to be imprinted with the base of Golsangapa's begging bowl.

You can hike here from Hemis Gompa (about one hour to hike up, 30 minutes back).