A colorful spectrum of festivals is celebrated every year in this pious city on various occasions. Be it marriage or birth, harvesting or flowering, Losar (New Year) orremembrance of head lamas beginning of the monastery, each episode is manifested with joyfulness, dancing and singing of traditional songs and music. The monastic festivals of Ladakh that are held every year in various monasteries are of great importance and are celebrated with great festive spirits after grand preparations by monks. They participate with full festive spirits wearing bright silk garments and various facial masks.
To honor the birth of Guru Padmasambhava who founded the Tantric Buddhism in Tibet, Hemis festival is celebrated as one of the grandest monastic festivals in Ladakh. This festival is held every year in the month of June or July at Hemis monastery. After every 12 years, the monkey year festival takes place during which four storeyed thangka of Guru Padmasambhava is hung in the patio along with several other precious thankas.
Gustor Festival at Hiksey, Spituk and Karsha
Thiksey, Spituk and Karsha are the venues for the famous Gustor festival that takes place during different months of the year. The two daylong celebration of the festival marks the victory of the good over the evil.
The Ladakh festival is organized by the Jammu and Kashmir tourism board in the month of September every year to showcase the famous Ladakhi culture. Being one of the major festivals of Ladakh it offers an extravagant experience to the tourists with popular highlights like folk dance performances, polo and archery competitions. Followed by a grand inauguration, the festival lasts for 15 days with various cultural troupes participating in the events.
This losar festival finds its origin back in the 15th century and is celebrated during the winters in the eleventh month of the Buddhist year two months in advance of TibetanNew Year. During the month long festival, Buddhists make offerings to almighty God, ancestors, deities and animals .
Sindhu Darshan Festival (Indus Festival)
Other Famous Ladakh
Sindhu Darshan festival, is celebrated on the bank of Indus River from 1st to 3rd June in Shey Manla, was first organized in the year 1997. Seen as an emblem for mutual harmony and national integration it was also an effort towards raising domestic tourism in Ladakh.
Every year on the 17th and 18th day of the 5th month of Tibetan lunar calendar, Lamayuru Festival is held. The festival is celebrated with the sacred mask dance performances along with the rituals of expressing a votive offering is observed.
During this festival, apart from sacred dance and other performances the main attraction is the exhibition of the thangka, which unlike Hemis occurs every year. The festival is held in the months of July-August.
During this 2 day long, monks of the monastery perform rituals do away with of disaster and have peace in this world. It is held in the month of July in Lamayuru monastery.
Stok Guru Tsechu
Held in February, Stok Guru Tsechu festival is celebrated by the monks of Spituk and Stok monastery. Two oracles appear during the festival, who in real are the laymen prepared by the monks to accept the spirits of the deities.
At Matho monastery, Matho Nagrang festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st month of Tibetan calendar for two days. Dance performances are made during these two days by the monks wearing bright colored silk brocaded robes and wearing masks of various Gods and Goddesses.
Leh Palace, Likir and Deskit monasteries are the various venues for the famous Dosmochey festival that happens in the month of February. Out of all, the Leh Palace Dosmochey is the most famous one. It lasts for two days and is celebrated in the courtyard of Leh palace.
These festivities are unique to Ladakh. Only here, one can experience such grand celebrations organized in a simple way. With their roots attached to the spirituality, Ladakhi people offer warmth and love to the visitors which make them visit this beautiful place more than once!
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