Monastic Festivals of Ladakh

Monastic Festivals of Ladakh

Monastic Festivals of Ladakh

 

 

Festival

Venue

Dates 2020

Spituk Gustor

Spituk Monastery

January 22 – 23

Leh, Likir Dosmochey

 Leh & Likir

February 21 – 23

Yargon Tungshak

Nubra(Yarma)

February 27 – 28

Stok Guru Tsechu

Stok

March 3 – 4

Matho Nagrang

Matho

 

March 8 – 9

 

Saka Dawa

Ladakh

5 June

Yuru Kabgyat

Lamayuru Monastery

 

June 18 – 19

Hemis Tsechu

Hemis Monastery

June 30 – July 1

Sachukul Gustor

 

Sachukul Monastery

 

July 7 – 8

 

Polo Festival

Chushot Gompa

July 11 – 17

 

Stongdey Gustor

Stongdey Monastery

July 8 – 9

 

Karsha Gustor

Karsha Monastery

 

July 18 – 19

Phyang Tsesdup

Phyang Monastery

 

July 18 – 19

 

Karzok Gustor

Karzok Monastery

 

July 23 – 24

 

Dakthok Tseschu

Dakthok Monastery

 

July 29 – 30

 

Sani Nasjal

Sani Palace

 

August 2 – 3

 

Diskit Gustor

Diskit Monastery

 

October 14 – 15

 

Thikse Gustor

 

Thikse Monastery

 

November 3 – 4

 

Chemday Wangchok

Chemrey Monastery

November 13 – 14

 

Galden Namchot

 

Ladakh

 

November 13 – 14

 

Ladakhi Losar

Ladakh

December 15

Sindhu Darshan Festival

Leh

12 to 14 June

Silk Route Festival 

Nubra Valley

 

23 & 24 June

 

Tegar Heritage Tourism Festival

Nubra Valley

27 & 28 July

Ladakh Festival

Leh

25 to 28 September

 

India is a colorful and diverse country. The multi-cultural diversity found in India makes this motherland one of the most loved and visited countries in the world. People from all over the world travel to India to witness her sublime cultural beauty and to experience a more profound spirituality in the process.

Festivals in India are a time for gathering, celebrating life and a love of togetherness. Beautiful humans gather to share stories, dance, praise the gods, cook food and celebrate life that makes the atmosphere vibrant and alive with ambiances of festivity.

A celebration of life and spirituality and liberation from the claws of the ego are the main themes of the beautiful monastic festivals of Ladakh. It is during these festivals that people forget all the stress and anxiety of life and come together to rejoice, share moments of happiness and revel in the joy of being alive.

Festivals in Ladakh are multicolored with joy and alive with devotion to the divine spirit of life. Ladakh is the land of breath-taking mountainous landscapes, heart-warming and welcoming local people and the vibrant festivals that celebrate the sacredness of life.

The festival season in Ladakh lasts the whole year and the celebrations take place in the ancient monasteries of the holy land making it into one of the best ways to enjoy and explore the culture of Ladakh.

The monastic festivals of Ladakh are held in the monasteries where the courtyard of the monasteries become the place where dance and drama are performed and enjoyed. The monks, in their silk garments, sing soulful folk songs, everyone in the festival feasts on delicious food and enjoys masked dance performances.

Here are some of the best monastic festivals of Ladakh that are not to be missed:

LAMAYURU FESTIVAL

Known as the YuruKabgyat Festival, this feast day is held at the Lamayuru monastery in Ladakh. The mystical beauty of the Lamayuru monastery and the colorful ambiance of the festival makes this gathering a powerful one. This 2-Day Festival is one of the most important and loved festivals of Ladakh. It is so profoundly revered that monks from all over the world travel to Ladakh to attend this festival. Monks sing and chant the sacred songs of Buddhism, they dance in circles, wearing colorful and intriguing masks telling mythical stories of conquering the inner demons of greed, hate and fear. The monks and people gather to eat delicious food and celebrate being alive.  A large horn-like pipe is played several times during the festival whose sounds echo throughout the Lamayuru festival filling the space with vibrations of peace and devotion.

 

SANI FESTIVAL

The Sani Nasjal Festival is a 2-day festival held at the Sani monastery in Zanskar. It is one of the most important festivals in the magical valley of Zanskar. Monks and people from all around Zanskar come to attend this auspicious festival.

This colorful monastic festival in Ladakh is an event that brings people from all over Zanskar together to dance, to sing, to eat, to be merry and celebrate life. Several traditional musical instruments like Dhamal, Yelling, and Nga are played at this festival in Ladakh.

The ecstatic inaugural dance known as “Bapa” is performed by monks. It is a celebratory dance that is performed after killing the enemy. This dynamic dance performance is the expression of celebration of the triumph of good over evil.

The Lamas wear different masks symbolizing the gods and the demons and perform these masked dances. The masked dances are also prayers expressed through movements in a trance-like state.

“Cham” is the war dance of the monastic festivals of Ladakh that expresses how the brave warriors kill the enemy and achieve victory over evil.

The newlywed brides perform the colorful and delightful bride dance, which is one of the most awaited and loved performances in this monastic festival in Ladakh.

 

STONGDEY FESTIVAL

Held in the Stongdey monastery in Ladakh, the StongdeyGustor Festival is another delightful festival held in the mystical Zanskar Valley. This 1-Day festival is a must-attend festival in the Zanskar region. People from all around Ladakh and Zanskar travel to attend this charming gathering.

The masked dance performances and the instrumental music played at the festival infuses the environment with a feeling of connection, harmony and celebration.

Held in July, the StongdeyGustor festival brings people from all over Ladakh together who have a shared love of spirituality and enjoyment.

 

HEMIS FESTIVAL

Adding to the unparalleled beauty of Ladakh is one of the most loved festivals called the Hemis Festival. Held in the Hemis monastery in Ladakh, this festival is one of the best ways to experience the cultural beauty of Ladakh.

It is celebrated every year on the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. Legend says the Lord Padamsambhav defeated the dark forces with the help of Vajrayana Buddhism and so this victory is celebrated at this auspicious festival in Ladakh.

The traditional Cham dance is performed by the Lamas wearing the intricately designed masks telling stories of victory of good over evil. ‘Chang’ a local liquor is served during the festival as an offering of celebration.

 

MATHO FESTIVAL

Held in the Matho Monastery, people and monks attend this 2-day festival from near and far off villages in Ladakh. Apart from the masked dance performances performed by the monks, the appearance of two oracles is a unique event in this festival.

Two oracles after a month of meditation appear in this festival. Masks dancers accompany the oracles in the courtyard. The oracles have psychic abilities that they have sharpened by long periods of meditation and so can tell future happenings.

People from far off villages come to this festival to meet with the oracles to receive solutions for difficult problems they might be facing.

 

THIKSE FESTIVAL

Held in the ancient Thikse Monastery in Ladakh, the ThikseGustor Festival is one of the most amazing monastic festivals of Ladakh. People and Lamas from all over Ladakh and in fact, people from all over the world travel to Ladakh to attend this divine gathering.

The Black Hat Dancers perform the Masked dance in this festival, and at the end of the dance, the Black Hat Dancers distribute Torma which is the sacrificial cake. The highlight of this auspicious gathering is re-enactment performed by the monks of King Lang Darma of Tibet. 

Categories: Ladakh
Author : Kajal Shinde
Date : 05 Feb 2020