Ladakh Festival Tour

Festivals in Ladakh are celebrated as the occasions for merry-making. These festivals provide people with ample opportunities to interact with each other, form new ties and renew the old ones. Many of the annual festivals of the Gompas take place in winter, which is a relatively idle time for majority of the people. These take the form of dance-dramas in the gompa courtyards. Lamas, attired in colourful robes and wearing masks, perform mimes symbolising various aspects of the religion such as the progress of the individual soul and its purification or the triumph of good over evil. Local people flock from near and far to these events and the spiritual benefits they get are no doubt heightened by their enjoyment of the party atmosphere.

Hemis Festival in Ladakh
HEMIS MONASTERY. 40 km from Leh, it is the wealthiest, best-known and biggest gompa of Ladakh. Its popularity stems from the major annual festival held here in summer. The festival is in honour of Guru Padma Sambhav's birth anniversary. It also has the largest Thangkha in Ladakh, which is unfurled, once in 12 years (next in 2004) Hemis was built in 1630 during the reign of Sengge Namgyal, an illustrious ruler of Ladakh. It flourished under the Namgyal dynasty for the royalty favoured the Drugpa sect, which managed the monastery. It is divided into two, the assembly hall on the right and the main temple on the left. The hall Dukhang is also used as "green room" by the dancers during the festival. The temple is known as Tshogkhang. The varandahs have a surfeit of frescoes, among them the Buddhist 'wheel of life' (Kalachakra) and the lords of the four quarters, besides the prayer wheel.Splendid masked dances are performed to the accompaniment of cymbals, drums & long horns. A colorful fair, displaying some beautiful handicrafts, is the special highlight of the festival.

Dosmoche Festival in Ladakh
Dosmoche is one of the popular fairs and festivals in Jammu and Kashmir that is widely celebrated in Leh with much fervor and gaiety. The festival falls every year in the month of February and is celebrated at the majestic Leh Palace. Besides this, the festival of Dosmoche is observed with equal zeal at the monasteries in Liker (Lower Ladakh) and Deskit (Nubra Valley). The festival of Dosmoche is among the several popular Leh Ladakh festivals in India and is celebrated to mark the victory over evil forces. The festival falls every year at the start and end of the Tibetan New Year and is observed for two days. Monks from different monasteries gather at the courtyards of the palace to perform "Chams". Every year, the monks take turns to do this activity during Dosmoche. The offering is prepared by the monks of Takthok monastery who then bind it with thread crosses that symbolizes the trapping of all evil and hungry ghosts. The move is also an effort to evade any natural disaster or mishap in the year ahead. These offerings are then taken out for processions on the second day of Dosmoche festival, Leh and set on fire. The festival ends with cheers and whistles by the crowd who celebrate the dispersal of evil forces from Leh

Losar Festival in Ladakh
The celebration of Losar can be traced back to the pre-Buddhist period in Tibet. During the period when Tibetans practiced the Bon religion, every winter a spiritual ceremony was held, in which people offered large quantities of incense to appease the local spirits, deities and protectors. This religious festival later evolved into an annual Buddhist festival which is believed to have originated during the reign of Pude Gungyal, the ninth King of Tibet. The festival is said to have begun when an old woman named Belma introduced the measurement of time based on the phases of the moon. This festival took place during the flowering of the apricot trees of the Lhokha Yarla Shampo region in autumn, and it may have been the first celebration of what has become the traditional farmers' festival. It was during this period that the arts of cultivation, irrigation, refining iron from ore and building bridges were first introduced in Tibet. The ceremonies which were instituted to celebrate these new capabilities can be recognized as precursors of the Losar festival. Later when the rudiments of the science of astrology, based on the five elements, were introduced in Tibet, this farmer's festival became what we now call the Losar or New Year's festival.

Sindhu Darshan
Sindhu Darshan is three-day festival held from 1st to 3rd June, in Shey Manla around 8 kms. from Leh on the bank of Indus river. For the first time it was organized in October 1997, as a symbol of unity and Communal harmony and national integration. Whilst promoting domestic tourism in Ladakh. It is also a symbolic salute to brave soldiers of India who have been fighting not only with enemies in the in the human form but also in the form of nature.

Ladakh Harvest Festival
A colourful celebration of the rich,cultural diversity of Ladakh's people.These week long festivities are held all over the region. Music, theatre, polo, archery,& wedding ceremonies, are performed daily along with mask and folk dances, with the final carnival parade passing through the streets of Leh.

Ladakh Festival
Ladakh festival takes place in September 1-15 every year in Leh and villages. The inauguration ceremony takes place in Leh on large scale with the procession of various cultural troupes from different part of Ladakh. It passes through Leh Market dancing, singing with traditional music, in colorful traditional Ladakhi dresses, and finishes at Polo ground after performing their best dances and songs. The festival last for 15 days with regular program in different villages. The program includes Archery, Polo, and Mask Dances from the monasteries, traditional dances by cultural troupes from Villages. There are series of musical concert and dance program in Leh town

Tak -Tok Festival
Tak-Tok festival is celebrated at cave Gompa of Tak- Tok . Sacred dances and the ceremony of hurling a votive offering. To the left of the central courtyard is the cave chapel of the monastery. Opposite the chapel are the images of Padme Sambhava and Avalokitesvara. There is a small cave behind these images, believed to the place where Padme Sambhava lived and meditated for three years. It is among the major festivals of Ladakh. Celebrated in summer, it is yet another tourist attraction. The festival is celebrated with fanfare and locals from far-flung areas storm the place on the occasion.

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