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Losar Festival in Ladakh

Ladakh attracts people all over the world through its beauty and tradition. Apart from the snow capped mountains Ladakh attracts people with the presence of different monasteries in the region. The most exciting part about these monasteries is the customs surrounding them. The colorful city becomes all the more vibrant during the festive season. Our article deals with the famous Losar festival of Ladakh.

Losar Festival

About Losar Festival

The most colourful festival of Ladakh continues for 15 days and takes place between January to March. This festival follows the Tibetan Lunar Calendar and hence the dates may vary according to the lunar calendar. This is one of the most important festivals of Ladakh region. The onset of this festival marks the beginning of a new year in Ladakh. Nearly all the monasteries in Ladakh celebrate this festival. The Lamas residing in the monasteries makes offerings to their deities. These 15 days involve a mixture of dance numbers along with rituals and other performances.

During this festival you can witness all kinds of local traditions that people of Ladakh follow. They organise for a stage fight portraying the victory of good over evil. Dance performances along with loud music are also another important part of this festival. The local people of Ladakh involve them in a good dinner along with their closed ones. The venue and the time of the festival vary each year.

History of Losar Festival

According to the Tibetan Culture the word “Lo” means ‘year’ and the word “sar” means ‘New’. Hence the word “Losar” means “New Year”. During 127 BC Tibetans were the followers of Bon religion. This following continued till 629 AD. During this era, Tibetans used to burn perfume in order to praise their local deities and spirits.

Masks for Losar Festival

This used to take place in the winter season and also marked the end of one year and the beginning of another year. Later this festival became the huge Buddhist annual festival.

Preparation for Losar Festival

Since this is the main festival of Ladakh the preparation of this festival is itself huge. The preparation of this festival starts much before the festival date. The most important preparation involves the dance practises. Local people rehearse hours after hours for their dance performances during this festival. Cleaning houses is another important preparation. Local people start cleaning their houses replacing unused goods with new items. They paint their houses with vibrant colors.

Activities during Losar Festival

The beginning of the festival starts in Namgyal Monastery, a famous monastery of Ladakh. Monks residing in this monastery starts with religious offerings to their Goddess. Goddess Palden Lhamo is considered to be the main Goddess of this monastery who is believed to be a protector from evil. As soon as the monks of this monastery offer prayers to their Goddess in the morning, Losar festival starts.

Performers of Losar Festival

After this, all the monasteries involves in chants and ceremonies surrounding their deities. In the second day of the festival, local people visits the monasteries and offer prayers to the deities and also give presents to the monks. They believe that giving gifts to the monks will help them seek their blessings. The Government of Ladakh welcomes delegates from all over the world. Countries like Nepal, Bhutan and others send their representatives to participate in this festival.

The best time to visit Ladakh is during this festival. You can see the true colours of Ladakh and experience the amazing 15 day festive spirit of the region. We hope our article will make sure that you end up visiting Ladakh during this festive mood and catch the true spirit of the festival.

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