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Leh Tourism >> Fair and Festivals

The religious philosophy of Buddhism, however, profound and subtle doesn’t preclude an immense joie-de-vivre among its Ladakh adherents, and even solemn religious enactment’s are made the occasion for joyous celebration. Many of the festivals of the gonpas take place in winter, a relatively idle time for the majority of the people. They take the form of dance-dramas in the Gonpa courtyards. Lamas, robed in colourful garments and wearing often startlingly frightful mask, perform mimes representing various aspect 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, with crowds of women and men, the opportunity to make new friendships and renew old ones, the general bustle and sense of occasion.

The biggest and most famous of the monastic festivals, frequented by tourists and locals a like, is that of Hemis, which falls in late June or the first half of July, and is dedicated to Padmasambhava.Every 12 years, the gonpa’s greatest treasure, a huge thangka - a religious icon painted or embroidered on cloth- is ritually exhibited. The next unveiling is due to take place in AD 2004.Other monasteries which have summer festivals at Lamayuru( also early July), Phyang (Late July or early August), Tak-thok ( about tend days after Phyang) and Karsha in Zanskar( 11 days after Phyang). Like Hemis, the phyang festival too involves the exhibition of a gigantic thangka, though here it is done every year. Spituk, Stok, Thiksay, Chemrey Matho all have their festivals in winter, between November and March. Likir and Deskit (Nubra) time their festivals to coincide with Dosmochey, the festival of the scapegoat, which is also celebrated with favour at Leh.Falling in the second half of February, Dosmoche is one of the two New Year festivals, the other being Losar. At Dosmoche, a great wooden mast decorated with streamers and religious emblems is set up outside Leh. At the appointed time, offerings of stoma, ritual figures moulded out of dough, are brought out and ceremonially cast away into the desert, or burnt. These scapegoats carry away with them the evil spirits of the old year, and thus the town is cleaned and made ready to welcome the New Year.

Losar falls about the time of the winter solstice any time between 8th and 30th December.All Ladakhi Buddhist celebrate it by making offerings to the gods, both in the gonpas and in their domestic shrines.

The Department of Tourism spends a huge amount of Rs.16.00 Lacs for promotion of Tourism by way of holding a 15 days Ladakh Festival every year. The main aim of organising the same since last 7 years in the month of September is to extend the lean tourist season in the region and also to represent and prorogate the rich cultural heritage of the area. The grand success of the festival and the tremendous response from foreign tourists and home including the local people are due to the rich cultural heritage and variety of other attractive programmes like traditional Polo match and Village archery. The famous monastic dance in the monasteries including exhibitions of invaluable Thankas and other Ritual Instruments of the monasteries. The tourists have the opportunities to see the entire traditional cultural programme of the region like Traditional Folk dance and songs of the Nomads. The traditional folk songs and dance of Drokpas the pure Aryan race and many more different traditional folk dance and song of the village. The grand achievements of the Ladakh Festival are noticeable of the significant increase in the arrivals of tourists during the lean tourist season of the year.

Every monastery in Ladakh has an annual festival it is famous for. The main features of these festivals are the dance, dramas enacted by Lamas donning colorful robes and fearsome masks representing various Buddhist
deities. They perform mimes symbolizing key aspects of the religion and its history. The Hemis Festival held in June is the most famous event. Every 12th year, a huge Thangka of Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism is ritually exhibited during this festival.The 3-day Sindhu Darshan Festival is organized with support from the Ministry of Tourism. Govt. of India, during the month of June to showcase the historical and cultural importance of the Indus. The Sindhu Darshan or Sindhu Festival aims at projecting the Indus as a symbol of India's unity and communal harmony. Whilst promoting tourism to this area, this festival is also a symbolic salute to the brave soldier of India.

The Losar or the Ladakhi New Year of December - January every year.

CALANDER OF MONASTIC FESTIVAL

                                                 
NAMES OF THE FESTIVAL VENUE 2011 2012
       
Spitok Gustor Spituk JAN 31,FEB 01 JAN 21,22
       
Dosmoche Leh ,Likir & Deskit Monasteries MAR 2,3 FEB 19,20
       
Stok Guru Tse-Cue Stok Monastery MAR 14,15 FEB 2,3
       
Matho Nagrang Matho Monastery MAR 18,19 FEB 7,8
       
Buddha Purnima Leh Town JUNE 15 MAY 4
       
Hemis TSE-CHU Hemis Monastery JUL 10,11 JUN 29,30
       
Yuru Kabgyat (Lamayuru) Lamayuru Monastery JUN 28,29 JUNE 16,17
       
Zanskar Karsha Gustor Karsha Monastery JUL 27,28 JUL 16,17
       
Ph-Yang Tsedup (Phyang) Phyang Monastery JUL 28,29 JUL 16,17
       
Korzok Gustor (Tsomoriri Lake) Korzok Monastery AUG 2,3 JUL 22,23
       
Dak-Thok Tse-Chu Dakthok Monastery AUG 8,9 JUL 28,29
       
Sant Naro Nasjal (Zangskar) Sani Monastery, Zanskar AUG 12,13 AUG 1,2
       
Shachukul Gustor Shachukul Monastery JUL 17,18 JUL 5,6
       
Thiksay Gustor Thiksey Monastery NOV 13,14 NOV 1,2
       
Chemrey Angchok Chemrey Monastery NOV 23,24 NOV 11,12
       
Galdan Namchot All Over Ladakh DEC 20 DEC 8
       
Losar All over Ladakh DEC 25 DEC 14

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