Hemis festival is one of the most famous monastic festivals in June to commemorate birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. Hemis festival takes place in the courtyard of Hemis monastery. During the festival, the four-storey thanka of Guru Padmasambhava is hung in the courtyard and other precious thankas are also exhibited.
Thiksey, Karsha and Spituk Gustor
Gustors take place at Thiksey, Spituk and Karsha in different months of the year. The festival takes place for two days. The celebration is to mark the victory over evils. The mask worn by the dancers represent the Guardians, Protectors and the Gods and Goddesses. The festival ends with the symbolic assassination of evils and burning of the effigy of evils.
Dosmochey is celebrated in Leh (Leh Palace), Liker (Lower Ladakh) and Deskit (Nubra valley) monasteries in February. The most famous among all is Leh Dosmochey, which is celebrated for two days in the courtyard of the Leh palace. The monks from different monasteries perform the Chams every year turn by turn. The monks of Takthok monastery prepares the offering with thread crosses which bind all the evil, hungry ghosts and guard against natural disaster in the coming year.
Matho Nagrang is celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st month of Tibetan calendar, at Matho monastery. During these two days of festival mask dances are performed by monks of the monastery wearing colorful silk brocaded robes and mask in different forms of God and Goddesses. Two oracles appear in the courtyard of the monastery accompanying the mask dancers. The purpose of the oracles is to predict future events for Matho and Ladakh for the year ahead.
Stok Guru Tsechu
Stok Guru Tsechu is held in the first month of Tibetan lunar calendar. It takes place for two days at Gurphung Gonpa in Stok. Sacred mask dances are performed by monks from the Spituk monastery. Stok Guru Tsechu festival is very similar to the way Matho Nagrang festival is celebrated. However, the only difference is that the two oracles of Stok Guru Tsechu are not monks but laymen from the village who are formally prepared by the monks to receive the spirit of deities. The oracles make predictions for the year ahead which are heeded by the villagers.
Phyang Tsedup takes place in July / August. Like other monasteries, monks wearing colorful brocade robes and mask in the form of different god and goddesses perform mask dances. The huge thanka of Skyoba Giksten Gonbo is hung in the courtyard during the festival.
The two-day festival takes place in July in Lamayuru monastery which is around 125 kms from Leh. Monks like other monastic festival perform mask dances. During the festival monks perform prayer and rituals to get rid of disaster and pray for peace in the world.
Ladakhi New Year (Losar) begins with piles of preparation and heaps of happiness. It is believed that the New Year drives away the evils and brings in prosperity and good wishes. In the midst of the uplifting serenity, Ladakhi Losar festival is cherished by every Tom, Dick, and Harry in Ladakh. Actually, the Ladakhi Losar and Tibetan Losar fall on the same days. However, there is an interesting story that tells us why Ladakhi Losar is now celebrated two months prior to Tibetan New Year. The story begins when the king of Ladakh, Jamyang Namgyal had decided to set forth for an expedition but was advised by oracles not to do so before Losar. He found the solution by advancing New Year for two months.
Ladakh festival will take place on 1st to 4th September from 2019 onwards. The inauguration ceremony takes place in Leh on large scale with the procession of various cultural troupes from different part of Ladakh. Ladakh Festival is the right festival for you if you want to witness traditional music, dances, handicrafts, art exhibitions, archery contests, Polo games, and food from various parts of Ladakh. Enrich your experiences and know more about the culture of Ladakh by witnessing this festival.
Sindhu Darshan Festival
Since the inception of the festival in the month of October 1997, it is celebrated every year with heaps of excitement. The key reason behind the celebration is to promote communal harmony and unity of India. Many people that come from various parts of the country participate in the event. And on an interesting note, they fetch water from their own state in earthenware pots and immerse them in the Sindhu River. Cultural programs bloom with diversity in the festival and a sightseeing tour is organized for the participants. Buddhist prayers as well as pujas are conducted on the occasion.