Hemi [Hemis] Monastery, Ladakh (Kashmir). January 1869
Artist: Leighton, Stanley (1837-1901)
Medium: Pencil on paper
Pencil and wash drawing of Hemis Monastery by Stanley Leighton (1837-1901), January 1869. Inscribed on the front in pencil is: 'Monastery of Hemi, Ladakh from a sketch by Dr H. Cayley. Jan. 1869. S.L.'
Hemis Monastery is situated 40 kilometres from Leh in modern-day Jammu and Kashmir on the left bank of the Indus River, perched on a high mountain top at the head of a large glen. Built in the seventeenth century in the traditional Tibetan style, the monastery is one of the richest, biggest and most famous in Ladakh, a region well-known for its Buddhist monasteries or 'gompas'. A major annual festival is held during the summer in honour of Guru Padma Sambhava's birth, the founder of the monastery, this is a colourful occasion where the resident Lamas perform sacred masked dances leading to the destruction of evil forces. The festival is particularly auspicious every 12 years in the Tibetan year of the Monkey.