Fair and Festivals in Ladakh
The religious philosophy of Buddhism, however, profound and subtle doesn’t preclude an immense joie-de-vivre among its Ladakh adherents, and even solemn religious enactment’s are made the occasion for joyous celebration. Many of the festivals of the monasteries take place in winter, a relatively idle time for the majority of the people. They take the form of dance-dramas in the Gonpa courtyards. Lamas, robed in colourful garments and wearing often startlingly frightful mask, perform mimes representing various aspect of the religion such as the progress of the individual soul and its purification or the triumph of good over evil. Local people flock from far and near to these events, and the spiritual benefits they get are no doubt heightened by their enjoyment of the party atmosphere, with crowds of women and men, the opportunity to make new friendships and renew old ones, the general bustle and sense of occasion. The biggest and most famous of the monastic festivals, frequented by tourists and locals alike is that of Hemis, which falls in late June or the first half of July, and is dedicated to Padma Sambhava. Every 12 years, the Gonpa’s greatest treasure, a huge thangka, a religious icon embroidered on cloths ritually exhibited. The next unveiling is due to take place in AD 2016. Other monasteries which have summer festivals are: Lamayuru (early July), Phyang (Late July or early August), Tak-thok ( about ten days after Phyang) and Karsha in Zanskar (1 days after Phyang) Thiksay and Deskit around November. Like Hemis, the phyang festival too involves the exhibition of a gigantic Thangka, though here it is done every year. Spituk, Stok, Chemrey & Matho all have their festivals in winter, between November and March. Likir Festival and Leh Dosmochey normally falls around February. At the appointed time, offerings of storma, ritual figures molded out of dough, are brought out and ceremonially cast away into the desert, or burnt. These scapegoats believed to carry away with them the evil spirits of the year just passed and thus the town is cleaned and made ready to welcome the New Year. Losar the Ladakhi New year falls about the time of the winter solstice any time between 8th and 30th December. All Ladakhi Buddhist celebrate it by making offerings to the gods goddesses, both in the Gonpas and in their domestic shrines.
The Department of Tourism sponsor a 7 days Ladakh Festival every year for promotion of Tourism. The main aim of organising this festival in the month of September is to extend the lean tourist season in the region and also to represent and prorogate the rich cultural heritage of the area. The grand success of the festival and the tremendous response from both foreign and home tourists is due to the rich cultural heritage and variety of other attractive programmes like traditional Polo match and Village archery. The famous monastic dance in the monasteries including exhibitions of invaluable Thankas and other Ritual Instruments of the monasteries. The tourists have the opportunities to see the entire traditional cultural programme of the region like Traditional Folk dance and songs of different parts of Ladakh. The grand achievements of the Ladakh Festival are noticeable of the significant increase in the arrivals of tourists during the lean tourist season of the year.
Sindhu Darshan Festival has in-fact became a movement signifying National Integration and unity among diversity. Sindhu Darshan festival is held on 12lfth, 13th, and 14th of June every year