With its wonderful landscapes and dreamy weather all around the year, Leh Ladakh is one of the ideal destinations. If you feel like craving for wanderlust, then Ladakh is the place to visit. Especially during festivals, when this town is filled with vivid colors 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. During festivals, you rejoice amidst others and make many memories to bring back home. So, here is a complete list of Festivals of Ladakh and their significance in the culture of this beautiful place.
- Saga Dawa Festival
This festival comes in the 4th month of the Tibetan Calendar. Saga Dawa Festival is a holy celebration that is organized on the full moon of the 4th Tibetan month. It is actually celebrated as the day when the Buddha was born, achieved enlightenment and further Parinirvana as well. Every year, on this day, the lamas of all closely located monasteries in Ladakh changes the Tarboche Flag pole which is situated at the south of Kailash Kora mountain. They believe that it is not auspicious to keep the pole erect once it is changed. Moreover, the Saga Dawa Festival is a rejoicing and revered event all over Ladakh and if you planning to witness it, visit Ladakh in and around May-June.
- Yuru Kabgyat Festival
Hosted by Lamayuru Monastery, Yuru Kabgyat Festival is organized 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.
- Sindhu Darshan Festival (12th June)
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 festival actually began in 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!
- Hemis Festival (Most famous festivals in Ladakh) (30th June)
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 this day is revered as the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. The local handicrafts are put on display all around and the local people wear colorful traditional dresses, they come together in the Hemis Monastery’s courtyard and the lamas of the monastery dance to the upbeat rhythms of cymbals, drums and long horns around the main flagpole of the monastery.
If you are planning to visit these festivals of Ladakh, we can plan the itinerary for you. Kindly contact Amrish @ 95499 19666.
- Ladakh Festival (15th September)
This festival is the most visited and awaited festivals of Ladakh. All the vibrancy of Ladakh comes in Leh to celebrate the beauty of Ladakh and its culture. Artists from all parts of the region gather and it is a feast to the eyes and mind. It has lots of activities, dance performances, food to eat and local handmade handicrafts to buy from.
For 2 weeks, this festival have everything for a traveler who is interested in studying the culture of Leh Ladakh.
- Ladakh Polo Festival (01st July)
Polo festival happens in the village Chushot Gongma every July. It is a wonderful display of balance, speed, and control. It is a 6-day contest between teams from all over the region. This is organized by a local club called The Indus Chuchot Polo Club. The main goal of the festival is to give travelers an experience of an authentic village summer life with local games like polo, archery, folk music, folk dance, traditional art, local drama, and Ladakhi cuisines.
- Stongday Gustor Festival
Another yearly festival, Stongday Gustor Festival 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.
- Karsha Gustor Festival
The Karsha Monastery arranges the Karsha Gustor Festival and the central attraction of this event is the Black Hat Dance and the masked dances are also performed. This festival comes in the month of January and remembers the victory of good over evil bringing the people together in vibrant colors of festivity.
- Phyang Tsudep Festival (18th July)
Organized in the month of July, Phyang Tsudep Festival is a religious event 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!
- Deskit Gustor Festival
Diskit Gustor Festival is arranged for two days in October every year at the Diskit 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 Distik Gustor Festival to conclude the celebration and symbolically eliminating evil by this tradition of burning effigies.
- 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, and 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’.
- Chemdek Wangchok 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 Chemdok Wangchok Monastery and it begins with a Mandal Pooja that is organized on the 2nd day of this event.
- Galdan Namchot Festival
The Galdan Namchot Festival 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.
- Losar Festival
Losar 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 which is believed to bring good luck. Gods, ancestors, and animals are nourished with food properly and an important ritual of this event is the Procession of Fire or Metho, which is carried out to eliminate evil forces and spirits.
- Spituk Gustor Festival
A yearly winter festivity of Ladakh, Spituk Gustor Festival is hosted in the Spituk Monastery on the 28th and 29th day of the Eleventh Month of the Tibetan Calendar. Prayers begin a week before and the masked dances happen throughout the festival and the burning of effigies as a ritual is performed. The event is celebrated to pray for world peace as well as the wellbeing of all human beings and rejoices the victory of good over evil.
- Dosmoche Festival
Dosmoche Festival is held in Leh, Likir and Distik Monasteries during the 28th and 39th of the 12th month of Tibetan Calendar, i.e. mid-February every year. The royals of Ladakh begin celebrating this festival to eliminate the evil forces. The masked dance is performed and the locals believe that celebrating Dosmoche Festival will remove evil spirits securing them from natural disasters in the upcoming future.
- Yargob Tungshak Festival
Another winter celebration, Yargob Tungshak Festival 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 is filled with 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.
- Stok Guru Tsechu Festival
Stok Guru Tsechu Festival comes in the first month of Tibetan Month and on the 9th and 10th day of this month. It is hosted by the royals of Ladakh and is the only festival where locals are also involved. Two significant oracles happen during this festival and the laymen are prepared by the monks in order to receive the spirits of the deities. Ladakhi people consider these oracles to be true and you can also witness the masked dances performed by priests of Spituk Monastery during this event.
- Matho Nagrang Festival
Organized at the Matho Monastery, Matho Nagrang Festival happens on the 15th day of the Tibetan Calendar’s first month. It is held for two days and also includes masked dance as well as two important oracles happening 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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