Namgyal Monastery Overview

Perched atop a mountain, the 15th-century Namgyal Tsemo Monastery in Leh is a sight to behold and you must visit on your Ladakh trip. Built by King Tashi Namgyal, it houses a stunning three-storey-high golden Maitreya Buddha statue. The monastery offers breathtaking views of the Indus River and snow-draped Zanskar mountains. Inside, you can find ancient manuscripts, frescoes and exquisite statues of Avalokitesvara and Manjushri.

Perched on a hilltop behind the Leh Palace, Namgyal Tsemo Monastery, is a significant landmark of Ladakh's spiritual landscape. Also known as Namgyal Tsemo Gompa, it was founded in the early 15th century by King Tashi Namgyal. During the early years, it was established as a royal chapel to protect the dynasty and the region from evil influences. This monastery is renowned for its towering three-storey-high gold-plated statue of Maitreya Buddha, symbolizing hope and the future of Buddhism.

The Namgyal Tsemo Monastery is also known for its stunning architectural beauty and strategic location. It offers unparalleled views of the surrounding Indus Valley and the Zanskar ranges. The monastery houses an impressive collection of ancient manuscripts, frescoes, and paintings depicting the teachings of Buddha. Additionally, you can find statues of Avalokitesvara and Manjushri here, enhancing its cultural and historical importance. It remains a place of prayer for monks from the nearby Shankar Gompa, maintaining a deep spiritual connection within the community.

Visitors to the monastery can immerse themselves in the serene and sacred atmosphere while enjoying the breathtaking scenery that surrounds this spiritual retreat. Whether you are drawn by faith, history, or the beauty of Ladakh, Namgyal Tsemo Monastery offers a unique glimpse into the region's rich Buddhist heritage.


• Marvel at the three-storey-high gold-plated Maitreya Buddha statue, a sight to remember.
• Uncover history through ancient manuscripts and vibrant wall paintings inside the monastery.
• Visit the Assembly Hall to see a collection of Buddha statues and frescoes.
• Enjoy panoramic views of the Indus River and Zanskar Ranges from the monastery's vantage point.
• Witness the one-storey-high statues of Avalokitesvara and Manjushri, embodying Buddhist art.

How To Reach

By Bus:  Regular bus services are available to the Monastery from Leh. This journey will take around 30 minutes.

By Car/Bike:  You can also drive your rented or private vehicle and bike to the Monastery from Leh. Depending on the road and weather conditions, you can reach Namgyal Monastery in under 30 minutes. 

On Foot: For those looking for a short adventure, it is possible to hike to Namgyal Tsemo Monastery. The hike starts from Leh's main market and takes about 45 minutes to an hour. The path is steep but rewarding, with panoramic views of Leh and the surrounding mountains.

Best Time To Visit

February to June is the time which offers optimum climate to visit Namgyal Monastery keeping in mind that a tour would also involve some hiking across the Himalayan hill station. During spring and summer, the Himalayan town comes to life and a blooming flora on your way up to this monastery would lighten up the mood.

Also, keep in mind that all the year the monastery is open for everyone, but it will be advisable to avoid McLeod Ganj during the monsoons which cause hurdles from July to September.

Other Essential Information

Location: This iconic monastery is located in the “Little Lhasa” or McLeod Ganj near Dharamshala in Kangra District of Himachal Pradesh.

Entry Fee: There is no entry fee required to visit this monastery.   

Important Timings: The monastery keeps its doors open for all from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.

History of Namgyal Monastery:

Founded in 1564, this monastery was initially known as Phende Lekshe Ling in Tibet. This monastery, however, got baptized into its new name Namgyal after the Vijaya ritual prayer was held in honour of the Mongol king Altai Khan to the goddess Namgyal Ma in this very monastery in 1576. Namgyal Ma is the Tibetan Goddess of long life.

Although this monastery was inaugurated in 1574 by the Third Dalai Lama Sonam Gyatso, it was actually the brainchild of the second Dalai Lama. Then the fourteenth Dalai Lama fled Tibet with a handful of Monks after the Chinese invasion in Tibet and set up the Namgyal Monastery in its current form in McLeod Ganj in 1959. There were 55 monks from the original Monastery of Lhasa who helped in restoring this new place of worship to its present revered form.

Architecture of Namgyal Monastery:

This unique non-sectarian monastery has an architecture that oozes tranquillity. The appearance of the monastery from the foot of the cliff upon which it is situated gives an outline of a snow-clad peak of a mountain.

The grandeur of this monastery is more pleasing as you enter the broad wide courtyard. Zig zag staircases would help you seek your way into this peaceful place of worship that has abundant wooden floored rooms and Buddha statues. Bronze statues adorning this palatial monastery surround these majestic wooden floor halls.

The monastery has a spacious worship hall that can easily house a huge number of pilgrims at a time. Gompas and the shiny prayer wheels are scattered all across the monastery whose pleasant jingle can soothe any troubled soul.

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