Festivals in Ladakh
With its wonderful landscapes and a dreamy weather all around the year, Leh Ladakh is one of the ideal destinations to visit if you feel like craving for wanderlust! Especially during festivals, vivid colors fill in the town and locals celebrating their culture at its best! If you want to explore the culture of Ladakh, the festivals are the best time to take a trip and rejoice amidst others and make many memories to bring back home. So, here is a complete list of festivals in Ladakh and their significance in the culture of this beautiful town!
1. Saga Dawa Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 1st is This festival comes in the 4th month of Tibetan Calendar. Saga Dawa Festival is a holy celebration. Locals celebrate it on the full moon of 4th Tibetan month. They celebrate it as the birthday of Buddha as he achieved enlightenment and further Parinirvana as well. Every year, on this day, the lamas of all nearby monasteries in Ladakh changes the Tarboche Flagpole which is present at the south of Kailash Kora mountain. They believe that it is not auspicious to keep the pole erect after they change it. Moreover, the Saga Dawa Festival is a rejoicing event. If you planning to witness it, visit Ladakh in and around May-June.
2. Yuru Kabgyat Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 2nd is Lamayuru Monastery hosts the festival, and organize Yuru Kabgyat Festival in July for two days. Monks mask themselves to dance, pray and perform the rituals with the aim to move away from any type of calamity and in order to bring peace to all around the world. It is celebrated in devotion to Yuru Kabgyat and his mythical association.
3. Sindhu Darshan Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 3rd is Sindhu Darshan Festival is a significant cultural fest observed at Shey Manla, which is situated 8 km from Leh. It is organized by the bank of River Indus for three days from 12th to 14th June every year. This actually began from October 1997 to mark the national integration and sending the message of communal harmony and unity to everyone. It also salutes the valiant soldiers of the country and is a wonderful celebration when local people of all castes and religions come together to have a happy time!
4. Hemis Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 4th is Organized and hosted by the Hemis Monastery, Hemis Festival comes every year the 10th day of the Tse-Chu which is the Lunar month in Tibetan Calendar. The celebration continues for two days and they consider it as birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. The local handicrafts are put on display all around. The local people wear colorful traditional dresses. They come together in the Hemis Monastery’s courtyard. The lamas of the monastery dance to the upbeat rhythms of cymbals, drums and long horns around the main flagpole of the monastery.
5. Stongday Gustor Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 5th is another yearly festival, Stongday Gustor Festival. It comes in June and is organized in Stongday Monastery. Monks rejoice the event with their holy dances and travelers from all around also visit the monastery during this festival mingling with the locals.
6. Karsha Gustor Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 6th is Karsha Gustor Festival. Karsha Monastery arranges this festival. The central attraction of this event is the Black Hat Dance and the masked dances. This festival comes in the month of January. It remembers the victory of good over evil bringing the people together in vibrant colors of festivity.
7. Phyan Tsedup Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh, 7th is Phyan Tsedup Festival. It is a religious event in July devoted to Jigten Gombo, who established the Dringumpa Monastic Dynasty. A dance drama is performed in which there are several monks in colorful dresses and the whole festivity is filled with enthusiasm and liveliness aiming to rejoice the conquest of good over evil forever!
8. Deskit Gustor Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 8th is Deskit Gustor Festival. It is arranged for two days in October every year at the Deskit Monastery situated in Nubra Valley. It is a festivity rejoicing the triumph of good over evil, the central highlight of this event is the Chaam Dance by Lamas and when effigies are burned on the second day of Destik Gustor Festival to conclude the celebration and symbolically eliminating evil by this tradition of burning effigies.
9. Thiksey Gustor Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 9th is Thiksey Gustor Festival. Another 2-day religious event of Ladakh. Thiksey Gustor Festival is organized at several monasteries of Thiksey, Spituk and Karsha Nanzkar. In this festival, there are early morning prayers to commence this event. On a concluding day, the sacrificial cake referred to as Torma is distributed to everyone. This happens to wrap up the festival with the cake given to everyone by the leader of Black Hat dancers during the ritual procedure of ‘Argham’ or ‘Klling’.
10. Chemday Wangchuk Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 10th is Chemday Wangchuk Festival. This festival comes on the 28th and 29th of Tibetan Calendar’s ninth month and will be celebrated in the month of November this year. It is mainly hosted by Drukpa Sect of Tibetan Buddhists at the Chemday Wangchuk Monastery and it begins with a Mandal Pooja that is organized on the 2nd day of this event.
11. Galdan Namchot Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 11th is the Galdan Namchot Festival. This is a significant event because it commemorates the birth anniversary and the Buddhahood of Tsongkhapa, an eminent Tibetan Saint-Scholar. Tsongkhapa established the Gelukpa School which played an important role in preaching Tibetan Buddhism in the 14th century. You will find every monastery and all the houses situated in Ladakh light up with colorful lights during this Festival. Further, this festival begins the New Year festivities for Ladakh people and this lovely merriment continues till Dosmoche Festival.
12. Losar Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 13th is Losar Festival. It means in New Year and with this festival, the New Year celebrations commence in Ladakh. The locals adorn their kitchen walls with the symbol of Ibex as they believe it brings good luck. They nourish gods, ancestors, and animals with food properly. An important ritual of this event is the Procession of Fire or Metho. They use it to eliminate evil forces and spirits.
13. Spituk Gustor Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 4th isSpituk Gustor Festival. It is hosted in the Spituk Monastery on the 28th and 29th day of the Eleventh Month of the Tibetan Calendar. It’s a yearly winter festivity of Ladakh. Prayers begin a week before the festival. The masked dances take place throughout the festival. The perform burning of effigies as a ritual. In the event they pray for world peace as well as the wellbeing of all human beings and rejoices the victory of good over evil.
14. Dosmoche Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 14th is Dosmoche Festival. Leh, Likir and Distik Monasteries celebrate Dosmoche Festival during 28th and 30th of the 12th month of Tibetan Calendar, i.e. mid-February every year. The royals of Ladakh celebrate this festival to eliminate the evil forces. They perform the masked dance. The locals believe that celebrating Dosmoche Festival will remove evil spirits securing them from natural disasters in the upcoming future.
15. Yargon Tungshak Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 15th is Yargon Tungshak Festival. It also comes in February with the vibrant and vivid masked dances called Chaam Dance. This is a time of the year when tourists can come and blend in with the locals taking part in this festival and soaking in the happy aura that Ladakh has. The atmosphere has merriment; you will get to relish the mouth-watering Gurugur Cha, Skyu and Thukpa of Ladakh and you can almost hear chants with a holy prayer coming from a monastery nearby where you will find monks chanting holy Sanskrit and Tibetan chants.
16. Stok Guru Tsechu Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 16th is Stok Guru Tsechu Festival. It comes in the first month of Tibetan Month and on the 9th and 10th day of this month. The royals of Ladakh hosts this festival. It is the only festival where they involve locals. Two significant oracles happen during this festival. Monks prepare the laymen in order to receive the spirits of the deities. Ladakhi people consider these oracles to be true. Priests of Spituk Monastery perform masked dances during this event.
17. Matho Nagrang Festival
In the list of Festivals in Ladakh 17th is Matho Nagrang Festival. Organized at the Matho Monastery, Matho Nagrang Festival happens on the 15th day of the Tibetan Calendar’s first month. Two days of the festival includes masked dance. Here two important oracles happen for which locals from all around the Ladakh come to seek help for their worries.
Hence, these are all the essential festivals of Ladakh that happen all around the year. Witness the fun and festivities of the colorful and vibrant Ladakh in these festivals and immerse in the joyful aura with the locals of Ladakh! Happy Journey!!
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