There are about 35 Buddhist Monasteries or Gompas spread across the entire region. The central area of Ladakh has the greatest concentration of major Gompas. Of the 13 major monasteries situated on or near the Indus, the oldest is that of Lamayuru, which is believed to have been a sacred site for the pre-Buddhist Bon religion. The monasteries of Phyang, Hemis and Chemrey were all founded under the direct patronage of members of the ruling Namgyal dynasty. Hemis monastery, together with that of Hanle was established at the instance of King Singge Namgyal, while his widow founded Chemrey as a posthumous act of merit for him. Stakna, dating from a slightly earlier period, was endowed by the Namgyal Kings at various times. All these belong to the Red Hat (Kargyu-pa) sect of Tibetan Monastic Order.
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