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Fairs & Festival
 
 
KASHMIR
 
JAMMU

Many of the annual festivals of the Gompas take place in winter, which is a relatively idle time for majority of the people. These take the form of dance-dramas in the gompa courtyards. Lamas, attired in colourful robes and wearing masks, perform mimes symbolising various aspects 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.

Ladakh - Festival

 

The biggest and most famous of the monastic festivals is that of Hemis, which falls in late June or early July, and is dedicated to Padmasambhava. Every 12 years, the gompa's greatest treasures, a huge Thangka, is ritually exhibited. Its next unveiling is due to take place in A.D 2004. Other monasteries, which have summer festivals, are Lamayuru (early July), Phyang (late July/ early August), Tak-thok (after Phyang) and Karsha in Zanskar (after Phyang). Like Hemis, the Phyang festival too involves the unveiling of a gigantic thangka, though here it is done every third year.

 

Spituk, Stok, Thikse, Chemrey and Matho have their festivals in winter between November and March. Likir and Deskit (Nubra) time their festivals to coincide with Dosmochhe, the festival of the scapegoat, which is celebrated at Leh in late February. Dosmochhe is one of two New Year festivals, the other being Losar, which falls around the time of the winter solstice.

 

Ladakh - Festival of Hemis monastery

The Monastic Festivals

The monastic festivals are annual events of the major monasteries which the local people eagerly look forward to attending, both for attaining religious merit and as a means of social entertainment. These are generally held to commemorate the establishment of a particular monastery, the birth anniversary of its patron saint or some major events in the history and evolution of Tibetan Buddhism. People turn out in the thousands to attend these festivals in their colourful best, making every event a carnival of colours.

Chhams – the ritual dances Destruction of the evil
Visiting the deities The festive atmosphere
The 10-Year Calendar of Monastic Festivals
 

The Ladakh Festival

It is a major event organized every year by the J&K Tourism Department, in collaboration with the local communities and the district administrations of Leh and Kargil from 1st to 15th September. Its main objective is to revive and promote the richness, depth and pageantry of Ladakh’s centuries-old culture, traditions and folk heritage for world-wide appreciation and enjoyment.

Ladakh - Festival

 

The inaugural function is held on grand scale at Leh with a spectacular procession in which various cultural troupes and village contingents participate in full ceremonial costumes, singing songs and performing various types of dances to the tune of the traditional orchestra. At the Polo ground, where the procession terminates, the participants break into a variety of folk and popular dances, presenting the best samples of the region’s performing arts.

 
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