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Swadesh Darshan-Leh

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Swadesh Darshan 2.0-Leh

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Swadesh Darshan 2.0

Introduction

The Swadesh Darshan Scheme was launched in 2015 by the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, to develop sustainable and responsible tourism destinations in the country. The Ministry had sanctioned 76 projects under the Scheme to date. With the mantra of ‘vocal for local’, the revamped scheme, namely Swadesh Darshan 2.0 seeks to attain “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” by realizing India’s full potential as a tourism destination. Swadesh Darshan 2.0 is not an incremental change but a generational shift to evolve Swadesh Darshan Scheme as a holistic mission to develop sustainable and responsible tourism destinations covering tourism and allied infrastructure, tourism services, human capital development, destination management and promotion backed by policy and institutional reforms. The current scheme envisages development of sustainable and responsible tourist destinations in the country by adopting the Destination Centric Approach.

Ministry of Tourism, after the Central Sanctioning and Monitoring Committee’s approval vide its letter dated 04.01.2023 provided the In-Principal Approval of Mysuru to be developed under Swadesh Darshan 2.0 Scheme.

 

The Vision of Leh

The project vision for Leh is to position the city as a beacon of sustainable and responsible tourism for the country, showcasing its rich historical and cultural heritage while embracing the principles of environmental preservation and holistic well-being. The aspiration is to make it a vibrant confluence of Heritage, Ecological, Wellness, Spiritual, and Contemporary Tourism. 

The Main objective of the vision consists of the following:

  1. Celebrates confluence of lifestyles (from royal past, to evolving contemporary aspirations)
  2. Capitalize tourism as a stimulus for local economy (performing arts, handicrafts, entrepreneurship, and hospitality)
  3. Conserve and enhance the natural assets.
  4. Create a strong sense of public realm to improve quality of life.

 

Following are the list of number of tourists visited Leh till January 2024.

Month Total
January 3850
Total 3850

 

Following are the list of number of tourists visited Leh in the year 2023.

Month Total
January 4723
February 2734
March 3786
April 26967
May 48283
June 110210
July 13845
August 98223
September 65804
October 22887
November 5483
December 5429
Total 525374

FESTIVALS OF LADAKH

 

When you think of Ladakh, you think of rolling brown mountains, pristine lakes, beautiful monasteries and rich culture. Ladakh’s culture is heavily influenced by Buddhism, its predominant religion. The festivals of Ladakh are a colorful reflection of the beliefs and traditions of its people.

Explore India’s vibrant cultural tapestry through a myriad of festivals and events! Visit our website to discover the latest festivities celebrated across the nation: https://utsav.gov.in/eventsFestivals

 

JANUARY

 

Chader Trek
National Tourism Day

Chaddar Trek

Location: Zanskar River

Date: January 2024

The Chadar Trek or the Zanskar Gorge is a winter trail that lies, in the Indian union territory of Ladakh. Traditionally the only means of travel in the area during the harsh winter months, the trail has become popular with international adventure tourists.

National Tourism Day

Location: Leh

Date: 25 Jan 2024

National Tourism Day is celebrated on 25th January. This celebration is all about cultivating and creating awareness among the society globally on the significance of tourism, and its social, political, financial, and also cultural worth and value.

FEBRUARY

Dosmochey

Location: Leh, Likir, Diskit

Date: 07-08 Feb 2024

Dosmochey is the only religious festival that hosts almost all the monasteries of Ladakh. Each year, the monasteries take turn to perform during the festival celebrated at the Leh Palace. On the first day, monks from various monasteries perform sacred traditional mask dances, followed by the offering of ritual cakes (Chotpa) to the Buddhas and their retinue. The monastic adepts of Takthok prepare dho (effigy) to trap evil spirits. They also erect a tall wooden construction, decorated with vibrant threads, called Dosmo. On the second day, both the effigy and Dosmo are ritually burned to chase the evil spirits away. Dosmochey falls on 28th and 29th of the twelfth-month of Tibetan calendar, marking the Tibetan New Year. The festival is also celebrated in Likir and Diskit monasteries.

Stok Guru Tsechu

Location: Stok Monastery

Date: 19-20 Feb 2024

Stok village is located at the other side of Indus River, some 16 km west of Leh. Stok Guru Tsechu is celebrated at the Stok Royal Palace on 9th and 10th of the first month of Tibetan lunar calendar. Here, one can discover two powerful oracles with two laymen as their conduits. The two men get into trance to perform rituals in the courtyard of the monastery. Considering their transcendental experience, the locals and tourists flock at Stok Palace during the festival. The oracles, while performing among other practices and rituals, also reveal premonitions and prophesies. The believers, communities and organizations seek the duo’s advices in order to remove their mundane obstacles and apprehensions.

Matho Nagrang

Location: Matho Monastery

Date: 23-24 Feb 2024

Matho monastery is the only major establishment in Ladakh dedicated to the Sakya lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. Matho Nagrang, annual spiritual festival of the monastery, is famed across the Himalayan region and beyond. Celebrated on 14th and 15th of the first month of Tibetan lunar calendar, the festival attracts locals, tourists and researchers in hordes. Alike Stok Guru Tsechu, it’s famed for a pair of oracles popularly known as Rongtsans.

Dosmochey
dosmoche
Matho Nagrang

MARCH

Nauroz Celebration

Navroz Festival

Location: Turtuk, Bogdang, Tyashi

Date: 21 Mar 2024

In Turtuk block (with a 100 per cent Balti population), during Nowruz, every year special dishes, like prapoo, rxap khoor, zan, kiseer, baaley and sweets are cooked and presented to neighbours, and family members. As per Balti tradition, all locals paint boiled eggs (byabjon) and participate in an egg fight.

APRIL

Celebration of Apricot Blossom, 2024

Location: Hundri, Turtuk, Lehdo and Saspol

Date: 11th, 13th, 17th and 18th Apr 2024

Apricot, known as “Chuli” in Ladakhi, was introduced to the arid region of Ladakh over a century ago by Chinese traders passing through the area via the Silk Route. Now, in the 21st century, the fruit has become an integral part of Ladakh’s culture, heritage and economy. The uniquely tolerant and highly stable plant of apricot has embraced the sandy soil of the cold desert and made it one of the largest producers of apricot in India. ‘Raktsey Karpo’, Ladakh apricot, gets GI tag for its uniqueness. The apricot flower bloom signifies the onset of summer after the long and harsh winter of Ladakh. During this period, settlements in the western belt of Ladakh are covered with a white sheet of flowers. Viewing of Apricot Blossoms, Cultural Programme, display of Apricot and other local products, Handloom and Handicraft products, farming activities and food exhibition are the main attractions of this festival to promote Tourism in this region.

Apricot Blossom 2024

JUNE

Lamayuru Kabgyat
Hemis Tsesu
Sharchukul Kabgyad

Yuru Kabgyat

Location: Lamayuru Monastery

Date: 3rd-4th Jun 2024

The annual festival of Lamayuru monastery is popularly known as Yuru Kabgyat. Held on 18th and 19th of the fifth month of Tibetan lunar calendar, it’s dedicated to the Buddhist lord of death and Guru Padmasambhava. The choreography of the Cham routines are based on the ancient Buddhist scriptures. Furthermore, Yuru monastery is situated in the picturesque village renowned as ‘Ladakh’s moonland’, about 115 km south of Leh towards Kargil. One would be treated not only with Yuru Kabgyat, but also be mesmerized by the white mountains of limestones that bestow the place a geological spell.

Hemis Tsechu

Location: Hemis Monastery

Date: 16-17th Jun 2024

One of the must-visit festivals in Ladakh is Hemis Tsechu. It’s a colourful two-day affair that falls on the 10th of the fifth month of the Tibetan lunar calendar. The occasion celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava – the founder of Nyingma, the oldest order of Tibetan Buddhism. One can witness the extravagant Cham Performance of Hemis monastery. The mask dance represents different figures of god, goddess, dakini and asuras. Particular to this festival, one can witness the performance of Guru Padmasambhava and his eight manifestations. The monks, adorned aesthetically in silk brocade, perform with musical instruments like drums, cymbals and longhorns. One can also witness the astounishing display of 22 feet high thangka of Guru Padmasambhava, intricately made with the finest of silk.

Shachukul Kabgyat

Location: Shachukul monastery

Date: 23-24th Jun 2024

Shachukul (translates as ‘the far-east’) is a village situated 125 km to the east of Leh town and 45 km from Pangong lake. The Shachukul monastery is affiliated to Drikung Kagyu sub-lineage of Kagyu ‘oral transmission’ lineage. Shachukul Kabgyat, held on 17th and 18th of the fifth Tibetan month, is marked by Cham dance of the Buddhas and Dharma protectors of the Drikung Kagyu tradition such as Achi Chokyi Dolma, four-armed Mahakala and others.

JULY

Ladakh Sham Festival

Location: Sham Valley

Date: 1st-16th Jul 2024

Phyang Tsedup

Location: Phyang Monastery

Date: 3rd-4th Jul 2024

Drikung Kagyu is one of the sub-lineages within the Kagyu school order of Tibetan Buddhism. Phyang monastery is affiliated to the same. Its festival is called Phyang Tsedup. Dedicated to Skyoba Jigten Gombo, the founder of Drikungpa lineage, it is celebrated on 2nd and 3rd of the sixth month of Tibetan calendar (in July or August). Similar to almost every monastic festival, it illustrates the victory of good over evil. Ritual offerings and burning of effigies are a part of the event. And of course, Cham dance is performed by the monks.

Korzok Gustor

Location: Korzok Monastery

Date: 9-10th Jul 2024

Korzok monastery is located on the shore of the lake Tso Moriri at an altitude of 4,530m in Changthang region. Korzok village belongs to the Changpa nomads of the Changthang plateau that soars above the rest of India in the eastern part of Ladakh. Korzok Gustor attracts nomads from different parts of Changthang. They visit the fair to gain merits and blessings through prayers. Akin to every Gustor celebration, Black Hat dance is performed to mark the killing of Lang Dharma, an apostate king by a Buddhist monk. The festival takes place on 3rd and 4th days of the sixth month of the Tibetan calendar. To know more about the traditional pastoralist lifestyle of nomads, this is the festival to attend.

Nomadic Festival

Location: Changthang

Date: 14-15th Jul 2024

The Changthang area of Ladakh is home to Changpas-pastoral nomads. The Changpas raise large herds of yaks, horses, sheep and goats, particularly pashmina goats, which are a rich source of livelihood for them due to the pashmina wool produced by them. The way of life of Changpas shows a capacity to adapt themselves to the rugged, cold desert environment. The Nomadic Festival is an attempt to showcase their rich and distinct culture and their way of life.

Takthok Tsechu

Location: Takthok Monastery

Date: 16-17th Jul 2024

Takthok (means ‘Rock Roofed Cave’ in Ladakhi language) is a village located near Chemrey, between Leh and Pangong lake. Takthok monastery is one of its kind, the only Nyingma monastery (the oldest spiritual lineage of Tibetan Buddhism) in Ladakh. Guru Padmasambhava, the founder of the Nyingma order, brought the tradition of monastic dance in Tibetan Buddhism. He would dance to subdue obstacles and demons in Tibet during the reign of the King Trisong Detsen. Takthok Tsechu is celebrated on 10th and 11th of the sixth month of Tibetan lunar calendar. During this festival, the monks perform a special Cham called ‘Guru Tsengyat Cham’ – the eight manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava. The masked dance and the presence of these icons are to be experienced first-hand to appreciate them.

Border Tourism

Location: Singgey Namgyal Chowk, Leh

Date: 26th Jul 2024

On the Anniversary of “Kargil Vijay Diwas” commemorating India\’s victory over Pakistan tribute to the martyrs of Kargil war in a wreath-laying ceremony is to be paid at War Memorial Stupa, Skyatsags (near Petrol Pump, Leh)

Ladakh Polo Festival

Location: Chuchot

Date: 24th Jul 2024

Polo Tournament will commence from 11th- 16th July at the historic Shagaran Polo Ground in Chushot Gongma, Leh Ladakh. The rich history of polo in Ladakh dates back to the 15th century when it was introduced through a princess of Baltistan. Interestingly polo is a part of many festivals in Ladakh like Losar and Nowruz (Muslim New Year). Therefore, polo is more than a sport; it’s an integral part of the culture of the land. The festival is organized by a local polo club, Indus Chushot Polo Club. Hill Council, Leh, Tourism department, ALTOA, Cultural Academy Leh support the polo festival, while Overland Escape sponsors it. The week-long festival began in 2016 and has been organized thrice ever since.

Ladakh Sham Festival
Phyang Tsedup
Korzok Gustor
Nomadic Festival
Takthok Tsetsu
Border Tourism
Polo Festival

AUGUST

Ladakh rpal nam tuston
Annual agriculture/horticulture exhibition

Ladakh rPal-nGam Tuston/UT Ladakh Declaration Day

Location: Leh

Date: 05th Aug 2024

To celebrate a glory of Ladakh, the administration has decided to organize Ladakh rPal-nGam Tuston on the occasion of UT Ladakh declaration day i.e. August 5th.

Annual Agriculture/Horticulture Exhibition

Location: Leh

Date: Aug 2024

 Ladakh has witnessed tremendous development in the field of agriculture and horticulture over the past few years. No wonder that Ladakh exported tones of apricots and apples to foreign countries. There has also been exponential demand for sea buckthorn. The region also has tremendous potential in floriculture, particularly bulbous flower crops and flowers, especially Lilium, gladiolus and tulip. A wide range of medicinal plants are also grown in Ladakh. This Festival aims to bring all farmers/entrepreneurs on a single platform to showcase their agriculture/horticulture produce.

SEPTEMBER

Climate Cup Football  Tournament

Location: Leh

Date: 1st-8th Sep 2024

The first edition of the first of its kind, environmentally conscious football tournament ‘Climate Cup’, driving the message of climate change, was organized in 2023 in which four teams, including two from Ladakh, had taken part. The aim of the Climate Cup is to send a strong message across the world about the impact of climate change and the attempt made by the organizer to organize an environment-friendly tournament with the use of recycled kits, e-buses with minimal waste policies and the promotion of sustainable local products.

Ladakh Marthon

Location: Leh

Date: 7-10th Sep 2024

The Ladakh Marathon is the highest and amongst the toughest marathons. Out of the six races, the event offers two ultra-races – the 72 km Khardung La Challenge (5370 m) which is presently the World’s Highest Ultra Marathon and the 122 km Silk Route Ultra which test the limits of human endurance. Ladakh Marathon offer participants a unique opportunity to run with local people of Ladakh through stunning vistas of mountains, rivers and valleys. Ladakh Marathon became a full member of AIMS (Association of International Marathons and Distance Races) in 2015.

Nubra Sports and Adventure Festival

Location: Nubra

Date: 11-15th Sep 2024

Nubra Sports and Adventure Festival is celebrated to emphasize the need for developing a healthy society by ensuring good platforms for the youths in the field of sports and adventure. They also assured to assist in promotion of adventure and tourism in far-flung regions of Ladakh including the Nubra region. The main motive behind conducting this festival is to motivate and encourage youths especially women to participate in sports such as rock climbing, cycling, archery etc.

Ladakh Festival 2024

Location: Leh

Date: 21-24th Sep 2024

Takes place in the gorgeous land of Leh. It is celebrated on a large scale with a procession where different cultural troupes from various parts of Ladakh take part. The grand and colorful procession passes through Leh Market, which is accompanied by traditional music, merry dancing while wearing traditional Ladakhi clothes. It is a 4 days festival, which also includes sports like Archery, different types of mask dances and polo. Also, there’s a series of musical concerts in the town. People from India and all over the world especially come for this festival. It has been attracting numerous crowd and has also improved tourist in Ladakh.

Balti Festival

Location: Turtuk

Date: 26-27th Sep 2024

The small hamlet of Turtuk sits at the far end of Ladakh’s Nubra Valley in far northern India, hemmed in by the Shyok River and the high peaks of the Karakoram mountain range. Turtuk is a Balti village and villagers are Noorbakshia Muslims, a Sufi sect of Islam, who speak Balti (a Tibetan language). Turtuk was part of Pakistan until 1971, when the Indian army occupied it during a border war fought along the Line of Control. The people of Turtuk and adjoining areas showcase their unique culture during the Festival.

World Tourism Day

Location: Leh

Date: 27th Sep 2024

World Tourism Day is celebrated on September 27th every year. The United Nations World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) established the day in 1980 to highlight the importance of tourism globally. The day also raises awareness of tourism’s role in economic growth, cultural exchange, and sustainable development.

The Himalayan Film Festival

Location: Leh

Date: 29-30th Sep 2024

 The Himalayan Film Festival is the perfect platform for filmmakers from all the Himalayan states/UTs to showcase their film works. The Festival also aims to recognize local talent in short and documentary film-making, provide opportunities to connect to the sparsely located film-making community of the Himalayas, through networking and collaborative projects and locate young and fresh talent in film-making in the Himalayan region of India.

Buckwheat Festival 2024

Location: Sham Valley

Date:  Sep 2024

Buckwheat (Da-wo, bro & Kiseer) is a flowering plant of family Polygonaceae cultivated for its grain-like seeds and as a cover crop, a domesticated food plant raised in the warmer region of Ladakh. It is famous for its medical benefits. Buckwheat grown as a minor crop in Turtuk valley is cultivated as a summer crop in some part of Ladakh. There are different types of Buckwheat available in Turtuk i.e. common buckwheat called (Geyass) in local language and Tartary buckwheat (brow) and wild buckwheat (Khebrow) Locally buckwheat is known by various names, viz. dyat, dro, bro, fafar, etc. in different regions of Ladakh. Buckwheat was one of the staple foods of Ladakhi people a few years ago.

Climate cup football tournament
Ladakh marathon
NUBRA sports and adventure festival
Ladakh Festival
Balti festival
World Tourism Day
Himalayan film
Buckwheat

OCTOBER

Diskit Gustor
Ut Ladakh Foundation Day

Diskit Gustor

Location: Diskit Monastery

Date: 30th-31st Oct 2024

Diskit monastery, situated in the cold desert of Nubra valley, boasts the tallest statue of future Buddha ‘Maitreya’. The monastery is affiliated to Gelug lineage. The annual festival is famously known as Diskit Gustor and held on 28th and 29th of the ninth month of Tibetan lunar calendar. Like every monastic festival, one can see Cham by the resident monks.

UT Ladakh Foundation Day

Location: Leh

Date: 31st Oct 2024

Ladakh was established as a Union Territory of India on 31st October 2019, following the passage of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act.

NOVEMBER

Thiksey Gustor

Location: Thiksey Monastery

Date: 18-19th Nov 2024

Thiksey monastery is located 20 km to the east of Leh. It is one of the most spectacular, grand and most visited monasteries in the region. Also known as the ‘Mini Potala’ (after H.H the Dalai Lama’s Potala Palace in Tibet), it follows the Gelugpa order founded by Je Tsongkhapa in the 15th century CE. The monastery hosts its annual festival ‘Thiksey Gustor’ on 18th and 19th of the ninth month of Tibetan calendar. It showcases Cham dance, throwing away of dho (effigy) to prevent war, misfortune, physical disaster and epidemic in the world. The Black Hat dance (Shanak Cham) is the central theme. During the festival, the monks also perform kangsol (Puja offerings) for Choskyong (the protectors of the monastery) and khagong as an increment prayer.

Chemrey Wangchok

Location: Chemrey Monastery

Date: 28-29th Nov 2024

Chemrey monastery is one of the oldest spiritual establishments in Ladakh. The monastery features a two-storied Guru Padmasambhava statue. Dedicated to the Drukpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism, the monastery celebrates its festival known as Chemrey Wangchok on the 28th and 29th of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar. Alike other monasteries, mask dance and spiritual music invoke spirituality and devotion in the audience. Fun fact, the huge structure, perched on an imposing hill in the middle of Chemrey village was a royal fortress before it was converted into a monastery.

Thiksay Gustor
Chemrey Wangchok

DECEMBER

Galdan Namchot
Ladakh Losar

Galdan Namchot

Location: All over Ladakh

Date: 25th Dec 2024

Galdan Namchot or ‘the festival of lights’ is celebrated to commemorate the birth, parinirvana (death) as well as enlightenment of Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug order. The festival falls on 25th of the tenth month of Tibetan lunar calendar. On this day, monks light up butter lamps on the corridors, windowsills, altars, and roofs of the monasteries, shrines and temples. Similarly, candles and lamps illuminate the villages after dark. From a distance, the villages and towns glow beautifully in a stream of light, symbolizing the annihilation of darkness. Galdan Namchot ushers New Year celebrations in Ladakh.

Ladakh Losar (New Year)

Location: All over Ladakh

Date: 31stDec 2024

The most awaited festival for the locals is certainly the Losar, the Ladakhi New Year. The festival begins by offering prayers to the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) in the monasteries, temples and shrines across Ladakh. It is believed that Losar lasts for 15 days, but the first three days of ten-month of Tibetan calendar are considered utmost important when people visit each other and celebrate.

 Swadesh Darshan 2.0 (Newsletters)

Newsletter (Swadesh Darshan 2.0)
Title Description Start Date End Date File

Newsletter of

December 

Swadesh Darshan 2.0 Newsletter of December 01/12/2023 31/12/2023 December Newsletter

 Newsletter of 

January

Swadesh Darshan 2.0 Newsletter of January 01/01/2024 31/01/2024 January Newsletter

Newsletter of 

February

Swadesh Darshan 2.0 Newsletter of February 01/02/2024 29/02/2024 February Newsletter

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