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Shubhyatra >> Jammu and Kashmir >> Ladakh Festivals


Highlights : Annual Monastic Festivals
Main Festivals : Hemis, Losar and Ladakh
Other Festivals : Sindhu Darshan, Lamayuru Festival and Thiksey, Karsha
Destinations : Leh, Liker, Matho
Performance During Ladakh Festival
Hemis Monastery Festival Dance in Ladakh

Major Attraction : Hemis Festival, Ladakh Festival.
Best Time : 9th to 11th June For Hemis Festival.
1st to 3rd June For Sindhu Darshan.
1st to 15th September For Ladakh Festival.
February For Losar Festival.
Festive Magic : Dance Drama, Folk Songs and Dances, Musical Concerts.
Activities : Archery and Polo championships.
Shopping : Buy Handicrafts During The Hemis Festival.
Don't Miss : Procession of the various cultural groups during the Ladakh festival.
Must See : Shrines including Metal statues and Clay Statues, Thangkas and Wall Paintings at Lamayuru Monastery.

Ladakh – The Festivities of India's Tibet

The Tak Thok Festival
Celebration of the Tak Thok Festival in Ladakh

Ladakh, Popularly known as the 'The Small Tibet', has the influence of Buddhism and Tibetan culture. The reflections of these cultures are very evident in their festivals. The best way to have a feel of the Ladakhi culture, is to visit it during the festive seasons, when this province of Jammu and Kashmir comes alive. These festivals acts a junction to bring the people closer. Most of the festivals celebrated in this region are the annual monastic festivals, which comprises dance-dramas in the gompas courtyards by the 'lama' or the monks themselves. The monks disguise themselves wearing comic masks, which represents the various aspects of their religion, and is often appalling.

Most of the monastic conviviality go on for two days and draws the common masses as their spectators. The other festivals include the Losar or the New Year Celebration, which goes on for a period of a month, and the Ladakh festival, which is a two week celebration. Some of the favorite festivals of Ladakh are Hemis Thiksey, Karsha and Spituk Gustor.

Hemis Festival – A Paradigm of The Buddhist Culture

The Hemis Gompa Festival
The Hemis Gompa Festival Celebrations

To solemnize the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet, this festival is celebrated. It is one of the most important festival celebrated for three days during the month of June. It is a perfect time to buy handicrafts, as people from nook and corner of Ladakh come to display and sell their handicrafts during this time. During this fete, once in every 12 years, four-storey thanka(a religious icon painted on cloth) of Guru Padma Sambhava is hung in the courtyard along with other thankas. The next unveiling is due in 2016 A.D.

Losar Festival – A New Year Celebration

'Losar' is the Tibetan word for New Year, and falls in the eleventh month of the Buddhist year. It is celebrated during winter months. It is a sacred time for the Buddhists, a time for celebrations and feast. During this festival Namchot people lighten their houses, monasteries and mountains and make offerings. This festival lasts for around a month where the deities, people and even animals are fed. This is a very auspicious occasion which is relinquished by the children as well as the elders of the family.

Ladakh Festival – The Harvest Festival

Women During Ladakh Festival
Traditionally Dressed Women Folk During Festivals of Ladakh

Another major festival of this region is Ladakh Festival, celebrated during the month of September. It is celebrated in the Leh, where processions by the various cultural troupes of Ladakh, in its inaugural function. With traditional Ladakhi music and people wearing colorful Ladakhi attires can be seen presenting folk dances on the street. It goes on for fifteen days where programmes like archery, Polo, and mask dances along with musical concerts and dances are performed. This festival is the perfect blend of the culture tradition and the arts and handicrafts of the region.

Sindhu Darshan – The Indus Festival

The government of Jammu and Kashmir, in collaboration with the ministry of tourism and culture, introduced this festival in the October 1997. This festival falls in the month of May or June and celebrated exclusively in Leh. This festival is celebrated to acknowledge river Indus as a symbol of harmony and peaceful co existence of the varied cultures of our country. This festival also pays homage to all the gallant soldiers who had given up their lives for their country.

Other Festivals

There are many such colorful festivals that form a integral part of the Buddhist as well as the Tibetan culture. Some of the much celebrated festivals include Lamayuru, falling in July, Phiyang that takes place in July-August, Tak-thok, another festival which is held 12 days after Phiyang.

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Top 5 Highlights of Ladakh Festivals

Buddhists Ladakh

Festivals of The Gompas
There is not a better time to visit Ladakh than in the festive season, when the people are drenched in the festive mood. You will find the place flooded with people who brim into life during the festive season.

The Fete of Life
Hemis festival, which falls during the month of June is a very important festival of the Buddhist. Ladakh festival as well as the Losar festival are an ideal time to tour the region. During this time you will find the place filled with myriad colours.

Shop While You Make Merry
The convivial season of the Ladakhi is the perfect time to but the handicrafts of this state, as the natives from the remotest corner come forth to sell their artifacts. These artifacts are handmade and require a lot of effort, so avoid bargaining.

Enjoy The Parade
If you want to be part of the real festival, then come during May, when the celebration of Ladakh festival, is in its crux. Processions by the various cultural troupes of Ladakh, in its inaugural function, is sure to captivate you.

Participate In the Competition
You can participate in the Archery and Polo championships, that are held during the Harvest festival. You can also witness mock marriages being conducted during this festival. These festivals will entice you to home your holiday in the India's Tibet.

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