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Hemis Festival in Ladakh

Ladakh attracts people across the world with its beauty and adventures. The famous Buddhist culture surrounds Ladakh. People generally enjoy the traditional side of this region. Ladakh is a popular place for Buddhist festivals. Hemis Festival is one among them. Our article deals with the all the facts about this famous Hemis Festival.

Hemis Festival

About Hemis Gompa

The famous Hemis Monastery or Hemis Gompa is situated 40 km away from Leh. This monastery is known as one of the most famous and popular monasteries of Ladakh. People from different parts of the world come to pay a visit to this place. This popular monastery of Ladakh was constructed in 1630 by Sengge Namgyal one of the popular ruler of Ladakh dynasty. This monastery is run by the monks of the Drugpa sect even today. The most important reason behind this monasteries popularity is the annual festival that takes place every year. This festival is known as Hemis Festival. 

About Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival continues for two days. This festival follows the Tibetan Calendar and the tenth day of the Lunar month onsets the beginning of this festival. The head monk of the monastery begins this festival. The only reason behind this festival is to celebrate the birth anniversary of the Buddhist leader Guru Padmasambhava. According to the Buddhist culture and tradition this festival marks the dominance of evil over good. As per the Buddhist culture their Guru fought against evil and saved his followers and hence people of this monastery celebrates their Guru’s birthday in order to tribute him.

About the Hemis Festival

People of the monastery and the local people of that area dress in colored bright clothes. Another attraction of this festival is the rituals. People of the monastery involve them in some form of singing and dancing. The Lamas of the monastery perform a masked dance which is the most unique feature of this festival. Through their dance, the Lamas make sure that they depict the main theme of the festival that is victory of good over evil. A flagpole that is situated in the middle of the monasteries courtyard is the place where Lamas start their dance.

The Masked Dance during Hemis Festival

The main attraction during this festival is the masked dance performed by the Lamas of this monastery. This form of dance is also known as the Cham Dance of Ladakh. The unique feature of this dance form is that the dance postures are slow compared to other dance forms. The expressions involved in this dance form are twisted. The masks worn by the Lamas depict some special characters of the myth that they were depicting. The dance is a tribute to their Guru.

During the Hemis Festival

Exhibition After Twelve Years in Hemis Festival

Another interesting part of this festival is the exhibition that takes place after twelve years during this festival. This exhibition takes place in the second storey of the monastery at an interval of twelve years in the Tibetan calendar. The exhibition deals with colourful handicraft items made by the local people. The last exhibition took place in the year 2004 and the next will be held in 2016.

Celebration during Hemis Festival

Special celebrations take place during this festival. The entire city decks up in bright colours and takes part in the celebrations of this festival. The masks and costumes of the dance performers are prepared using vibrant colours. Along with the dance which is the main part of the festival, this festival also involves a loud music. People of the monastery play different musical instruments like cymbals and drums. The heavy music suits the festive mood of the monastery. Witnessing this festival from close proximity can be a lifetime experience for you.

If you are planning for a Ladakh trip then it is advisable then you plan your trip during this festival. According to our calendar this festival takes places in the first half of July month. We hope our article will take you to this Festival once in your life.

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