The Hemis festival is held on the 10th and 11th day of the 5th month of Tibetan calendar to commemorate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava . Especially the monkey year festival, which comes in a cycle of 12 years. During it the four-storey Thanka of Guru Padma Sambhava is hung in the courtyard and other precious Thankas are also exhibited. The Hemis festival is the heart of all the festivals. They are performed by Monks wearing colorful silk garments and different facial mask.
Thiksey, Spituk and Karsha Gustors
It takes place in different months of the year. The festival takes place for two days. The Gustor celebration is to mark the victory over evils. The mask worn by the dancers represent the Guardians, Protectors and the Gods and Goddesses. The festival ends with the symbolic assassination of evils and burning of the effigy of evils.
Dosmochey is celebrated in Leh (Leh Palace), Liker (Lower Ladakh) and Deskit (Nubra valley) monasteries in February.The most famous among all is Leh Dosmochey, which is celebrated for two days in the courtyards of the Leh palace. The monks from different monasteries perform the Chams (mask dance) every year turn by turn. The festival takes place in the end and starting of the Tibetan New Year.
Matho Nagrang is celebrated on the 15th day of the 1st month of Tibetan calander, at Matho monastery, the only monastery of the Sakya School of Tibetan Buddhism. During these two days of festival mask dances are performed by monks of the monastery wearing colorful silk brocaded robes and mask in different forms of God and Goddesses. The festival is famous because of appearance of the two oracles during the festival after full month meditation in complete isolation. The two oracles appear in the courtyard accompanying mask dancers and predict future events.
Stok Guru Tsechu
The monks of Stok and Spituk monasteries also celebrate Stok Guru Tsechu for two days with mask dances performed. It is also held in Feb. around a week before the Matho Nagrang. During the festival two oracle appears, but they are laymen from the same village prepared by monks to receive the spirit of the deities.
Phyang Tsedup takes place in July / August. Like other monasteries, monks wearing colorful brocade robes and Mask in the form of different god and goddesses perform mask dances. The huge thanka of Skyoba Giksten Gonbo is hung in the courtyard during the festival.
The 2-day festival takes place in July in Lamayuru monastery around 125 kms from Leh. Monks like other monastic festival perform mask dances. During the festival monks perform prayer and rituals to get rid of disaster and peace in the world.
The Losar (New Year) celebration is followed by Galdan Namchot, the birth anniversary of Tsogkha pa who introduced Gelukpa School of order. During Namchot people illuminate their houses, monasteries and mountains and make offerings in the houses and monasteries.The Losar festival is celebrated in the eleventh month of Tibetan calendar, two months ahead of Tibetan New Year. In early 17th century, King Jamyang Namgyal decided to lead an expedition against the Baltistan forces in winter; therefore he decided to celebrate the festival two months before. Later it became a tradition and being celebrated in the eleventh month.
Ladakh festival takes place from September 1-15 every year. The inauguration ceremony takes place in Leh on large scale with the procession of various cultural troupes from different part of Ladakh. It passes through Leh Market dancing, singing with traditional music, in traditional Ladakhi dresses.The program includes Archery, Polo, and Mask Dances. There are series of musical concert and dance program in Leh town.
Sindhu Darshan (Visit Indus) Festival
Sindhu Darshan is three-day festival held at Shey Manla (Sindhu Ghat) around 8kms from Leh on the bank of Indus River. For the first time it was organized in October 1997, as a symbol of unity and national integration. During this festival artists from different parts of the country perform traditional dances.
List of Festivals
|Spituk Gustor||Spituk||Jan 18-19||Jan 7-8||Jan 25-26|
|Dosmochey||Leh & Likir Monastery||Feb 17-18||Feb 6-7||Feb 24-25|
|Yargon Tungshak||Nubra (Yarma)||Feb22-23||Feb 12-13||March 2-3|
|Stok Guru Tsechu||Stok Monastery||Feb 27-28||Feb 16-17||March 6-7|
|Matho Nagrang||Matho Monastery||March 4-5||Feb 21-22||March 11-12|
|Saka Dawa||All over Ladakh||June 2||May 20||June 9|
|Yuru Kabgyat||Lamayuru Monastery||June 14 -15||July 1-2||June 21-22|
|Hemis Tsechu||Hemis Monastery||June 26-27||July 14-15||July 3-4|
|Stongday Gustor||Zanskar||July 4-5||July 22-23||July 12-13|
|Karsha Gustor||Zanskar||July 14-15||July 31-Aug 01||July 21-22|
|Phyang Tsesdup||Phyang Monastery||July 14-15||July 31-Aug 01||July 21-22|
|Sachukul Gustor||Sachukul Monastery||July 4-5||July 21-22||July 11-12|
|Korzok Gustor||Tsomoriri||July 19-20||Aug 5-6||July 26-27|
|Dakthok Tseschu||Dakthok Monastery||July 26-27||Aug 13-14||Aug 2-3|
|Sani Nasjal||Zanskar||July 30-31||Aug 17-18||Aug 6-7|
|Deskit Gustor||Nubra||Oct 10-11||Oct 28-29||Oct 17-18|
|Thiksay Gustor||Thiksay||Oct 30-31||Nov17-18||Nov 6-7|
|Chemday Wangchok / Padum||Chemray Monastery||Nov 9-10||Nov 27- 28||Nov 16-17|
|Galden Namchot||All over Ladakh||Dec 5||Dec 23||Dec 12|
|Ladakhi Losar||All over Ladakh||Dec 12||Dec 30||Dec 19|