Leh-Ladakh is very well known for its enchanting beauty and captivating landscapes and mountains. A trip to this wonderland is sure to make its presence on the top of any traveller’s bucket list and we cannot deny the fact that it is indeed a must visit destination. Apart from the scenic marvel, this place is also famous for its rich cultural heritage and amazing festivals. It is needless to say that taking part in these celebrations will help you get an inside about the lives and the culture of the people and could make your trip to Leh-Ladakh more memorable.
Let us take a look at the top festivals celebrated in Leh-Ladakh
This festival is celebrated in the monastery of Lamayuru. The festival is based on Buddhism and Tibetian culture. Yuru Kabgyat is celebrated for two days straight in the month of July as a sign of victory of the righteous over the bad. People come together and take part in various activities including traditional forms of singing and dancing. All these activities focus mainly on Tibetian moral aspects and Buddhist teachings. This year, Yuru kabgyat will be celebrated on 29th and 30th of July.
LADAKH HARVEST FESTIVAL
The harvest festival of Ladakh called the Ladakh Festival is when people of all walks of life and all religions come together to celebrate unity and prosperity. This festival spans over two weeks of time that involves dancing, singing, theatrical arts, polo, archery and other sports activities. The display of colour you get to see during this festival will definitely lift your spirits up. This year, the Ladakh festival will commence on the 22nd of September.
Hemis Tsech is a festival featured by the flamboyant and bright outfits and masks worn by the people who perform various arts such as dance dramas to narrate various historical stories. The festival glorifies the Buddhist master named Padmasambhava who is known for eliminating the evil. The monastery of Hemis hosts the festival and it is truly a feast to your eyes. This year, the festival of Hemis Tsechu will fall on the 11th and 12th of July.
The festival of Sindhu Darshan is celebrated on the river banks of Sindhu or Indus in Leh. It is celebrated to cherish the goodness of the Indus river which the natives believe as the major reason for the prosperity and fertility of the land and well-being of the people. The festival spans for a period of three days. Since the festival is celebrated on the border of our nation, it also provides a forum to pay respect to the soldiers who risk their lives to safeguard the nation. This year, Sindhu Darshan will be celebrated between12th and 14th of June.
Losar is celebrated throughout Leh-Ladakh as a symbol of welcoming the new year. It is very popular in Leh-Ladakh. The most important feature of this festival is the hue holy fire that is made during the celebration. Various activities that stage the rivalry between the good and the bad are staged. The deer dance which is a very rare activity can be witnessed during this festival. Losar is celebrated on the 30th or 31st of December.
Dosmoche is a festival which was originally celebrated by the royals of Ladakh. It symbolises the well being of the people and also ensures their safety. The monasteries of Diskit are known to be involved in this festival. There are various events performed by masked people and people in traditional outfits. The holy monks of the monasteries are known to perform various astrological practices and rituals in order to keep the evil away. The festival of Dosmoche was celebrated on 2nd and 3rd of February, this year.
Phyang Tsedup is hosted by the monastery of Phyang and it glorifies the teachings and preachings of Lord Buddha and the virtues of Buddhism.
The festival is known to communicate the great teachings to the people through dance dramas called ‘chhams’. A holy pilgrimage is carried out to the Skyabje Gombo Thangka which is considered to be very sacred and important by the locals. Various paintings depicting things of cultural importance are displayed inside the monastery of Phyang. The festival spans for a period of two days and will be celebrated on 11th and 12th of July this year.
This festival is hosted by three different monasteries namely, Spituk, Thiksey and Karsha. Various dates are followed by each monastery. The main point around which this festival revolves around is ‘the power of sacrifice’ and bringing all evil to a stop. It is celebrated for two days straight and comes to an end with the sacrificial cake ceremony. This year, the festival of Thiksey Gustor will be celebrated on 27th and 28th of October.
STOCK GURU TSECHU
Stock Guru Tsechu is celebrated at the beginning of the Tibetian New Year and is marked by the presence of various dance forms, prayer chanting and delicious native festival delicacies. The rituals are performed and conducted by ordinary people and not the Lamas which makes this festival very special and a stand out from the rest of the festivals. It is believed that people are chosen to get the good aspects of the holy spirit of the gods during this festival. The monasteries of Spituk and Stok are mainly involved in this festival. Stok Guru Tsechu is will be celebrated between 15th and 17th of February this year.
Matho Narang is a festival that goes on for two days precisely in the middle of the starting month according to the Tibetian calendar. The main element of this festival is to witness and praise the oracle monks who return after a long meditation away from people. The oracles are brought back into the town with a huge accompaniment of artists who are masked as various mythological characters and they narrate various stories and history through various dance forms. Matho Nagrang will be celebrated on 18th and 19th of February.