Hemis is well known for the Hemis monastery that was established in 1672 AD by king Senge Nampar Gyalva. The village hosts a colorful festival held in July. It is close to the Hemis National Park, an area that is home to the endangered snow leopard. The national park was created in 1981, and is the only high altitude park in the country.
Hemis Monastery already existed before the 11th century. Nāropā, the pupil of the yogi Tilopa, and teacher of the translator Marpa was connected with this monastery. A translation of Naropa's biography has been found in Hemis monastery. It has been translated by A. Grünwedel (Nӑro und Tilo,: Festschrift Ernst Kuhn, München 1916). In 1887, Nicolas Notovitch wrote a book claiming to be the translation of a document held in Hemis Library that states Jesus had spent his unknown years at the Hemis monastery.