The Colorful Festivals of Ladakh

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Travel Features >> The Colorful Festivals of Ladakh

The Colorful Festivals of Ladakh

October 11, 2013

The festivals in Ladakh are a time to get together and celebrate merry-making occasions. It allows people to interact with each other, renew the old ties and even form new ones. Most of the festivals of the famous Gompas in Ladakh occur during the winter season. Visiting this place during the festivals is considered as an ideal time for the vacationers who want to witness the unique Tibetan culture, tradition and interact with the Ladakhi people.

Although, there are many festivals celebrated throughout the year in different regions of the Ladakh, here is a list of a few important festivals of Ladakh that grab the attention and interest of the tourists from around the world.

Hemis Festival
Hemis is a most popular and biggest monastic festival in Ladakh. Celebrated in early July or end of June, this festival is devoted to the Guru Padma Sambhava and is celebrated as his birthday. Both the locals and tourists really enjoy celebrating together, especially the monkey year festival that comes after every 12 years. During this festival, the four-storey Thanka of Guru is hung in the courtyard and ritually exhibited.

Dosmoche Festival
Celebrated in the second half of February in Leh, Dosmoche Festival is the celebration of the scapegoat. It is one of the New Year festivals of Ladakh and enjoyed by the travelers and locals with great enthusiasm. Every year during this festival, the monks from different monasteries turn by turn perform the Chams (mask dance). Furthermore, a wooden mast painted with religious symbols and streamers is held up outside Leh.

Losar Festival
Losar is another festival celebrated as the Tibetan or Ladakhi New Year. Based on the Lunar Calendar, the revelry of this festival takes place for two weeks in the month of December or January. Tourists visiting during the Losar festival can enjoy the traditional music and dances and have a mesmerizing experience. They can also witness the ancient rituals, dance of the Ibex deer, stage fights between evil and good and the dramatic battles between the King and his ministers. It is imperative to note that the dates and location of this festival keep on changing every year.

Phyang Tsedup
Phyang Tsedup festival takes place in late July or early August in Ladakh. During this monastery festival, the monks from various monasteries wear colorful brocade robes and masks to depict the different forms of god and goddesses and perform amazing mask dances. Like the Hemis festival, a giant Thanka of Skyoba Giksten Gonbo is hung in the courtyard during this festival.

Matho Nagrang
Celebrated at Matho monastery, the only monastery of the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism, Matho Nagrang festival is well-acknowledged because of the appearance of two oracles after a month of meditation in complete loneliness. The two oracles emerge in the courtyard along with the mask dancers and foretell future events. During this festival, the monks of the monastery perform stunning mask dances in their beautiful mask and silk brocaded robes.

If you want to enjoy these colorful festivals with the Ladakhi people, then taking a Ladakh festival tour is one of the best options available. This tour will not only help you to attend the beautiful festivals of Ladakh, but also give you a chance to experience the rich culture of the place, taste delicious local cuisines and cherish lifetime moments.

Photo Credit: Puneeth B C

Author Bio: Zara Jones is a travelogue writer. Passionate about tourism, she has traveled and explored entire offbeat trekking destination in the Indian Himalaya region. Here she renders information about popular monastic festivals of Ladakh.

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