A place where the heavens meet the earth, Ladakh has become a hotspot for backpackers and bike riders in recent years thanks to its natural beauty that the panoramic views evoke in every traveler. But defining Ladakh only by the panoramic views that it offers would be a cardinal sin, because as much as it is that, Ladakh has so much more to offer.
A region which is home to a lot of communities and their different cultures, and with different cultures comes their different festivals. Speaking of festivals, here’s a list of festivals in Ladakh that make it a cultural treasure trove,
- Ladakh Festival
A fantastic display of Ladakh’s vivid cultural diversity, the Ladakh Festival is one of the biggest celebrations in the region. Amazing dance performances, bright and beautiful robes and visits to several monasteries are what make this 2 week festival awesome.
- Thiksey Gutsor,
A two day festival, the Thiksey Gutsor is a festival in which offerings of charms and chants are made to the monastery monks. The spirit behind this festival is the strength in patience as the people wait out the end to all the bad things.
- Matho Nagrang
A festival inn which the monks dress up as various Ladakhi Gods and Goddesses, the Matho Nagrang festival is an exciting time for the locals as it also marks the return of two oracles after they’ve spent a month in isolation. Masked dance performances are also a must-watch in this festival.
- Yuru Kabgyat
An emulation of Tibetan Buddhism, the Yuru Kabgyat festival is hosted at the mysterious Lamayuru Monastery and is a festival which spreads the teachings of Gautam Buddha in the form of traditional singing and dancing.
Marking the beginning of a new year, the Losar festival has in store some truly breathtaking visuals in store for you in the form of dance performances by people wearing colorful masks and robes in celebration to the new year. The lighting of the holy fire and stage fights between the gods and the forces of evil are a must-see during this festival.
- Hemis Tsechu
A festival which occupies a special place, the Hemis Tsechu festival is a celebration in which the Lamas of the monastery perform wearing masks and colorful robes. The dance moves are relevant as all of them has a special meaning and the dance itself is symbolic to the guardian deities that watch over Hemis.
- Sindhu Darshan
One of the most colorful festivals of the region, the Sindhu Darshan festival is celebration to the Indus river as it is believed to be the key in making bonds of love and affection amongst the various Ladakhi communities. You can also sit in harmony and listen to the Lamas chanting hymns or check out some truly breathtaking cultural performances.
- Phyang Tsedup
Another festival based around the teachings of Lord Buddha, the Phyang Tsedup festival presents the teachings of Buddhism through elaborate dance performances, singing performances and chahams or dramas reciting Buddha’s teachings. A ritualistic pilgrimage to the Thangka of Skyabje Gombo is also a vital part of the festival.
A celebration started by the Ladakh royals, the winter festival of Dosmoche is celebrated to ensure the safety and well-being of the Ladakhi people. The monks in the monasteries prepare the Thread Crosses during this festival as they are believed to drive away evil spirits.
- Stok Guru Tsechu
Celebrated at the Stok monastery, the Stok Gueu Tsechu festival is celebrated on the ninth day after the Tibetan New Year and has displays of dance, song, food and music. This festival stands different from all the other festivals in the way that most of the rituals of this festival are carried out, not by monks, but by common local people.
And that’s it, a list of the festivals in Ladakh that make it a treasure trove of culture.