This expansive, 17th-century monastery is the spiritual centre of Ladakh’s Drukpa Buddhists; it was the fifth Gyaling Drukpa who founded Hemis after travelling here from Tibet. There are two prayer halls; the main one has an unusual seating layout, fine old pillars and a huge festival thangka hanging from the rafters. Upstairs is an impressive 8m-high statue of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) with hypnotic eyes.
The monastery’s extensive museum retains some precious religious treasures and is a highlight. Look for the mountain bike of the current Gyalwang Drukpa, the unorthodox spiritual head of the Drukpa in Ladakh. No photos allowed.