As the cold barren desert of Ladakh wakes from harsh winters, there comes the time to celebrate Ladakhi Hemis Festival. 45 km away from Leh, the capital city of Ladakh witnesses the international crowds to join the festivities. Prayers, dance, masked performances, music and medley colors will be seen everywhere. The rugged and quaint landscape of Ladakh turns chaotic and vibrant at the time of monastery festival.
Based on Buddhist and Tibetan legends, Hemis Festival is believed to have the origins back in the 8th century. Lord Padmasambhava also called Guru Rimpoche is believed to be the savior who banished evil spirits as well as demons. The spiritual leaders have said to introduceTantric Buddhism in the Himalayan Kingdom. Combining the teachings of Tibetan and Buddhism culture, new way got established where the life was with prayers, higher calling and austere life.
Guru Rimpoche birth which is also called Lord Padmasambhava is the occasion which is celebrated during the Hemis Festival. Tantric Buddhism leader is said to introduce Buddhism in the Himalayan Kingdom as early as 8th century.
The highlight of the festival is Dance performances as well as plays by the masked Lamas. It represents the good over evil. The participants get dressed in the beautiful bright masks and vibrant costumes. Every mask has their own place in Buddhist and Tibetan legends. Dancers can be seen with the fancy expressions and slow movements of dance.
The masked performance is created on the music medley of sounds of trumpets, drums,and cymbals. The popular dance of Padmasambhava is the primary highlight of all the dance shows which shows the victory of Ruta demons. Dances are spellbinding as the purity is represented and it is also said to be purifying the soul.
Every 12th year which is called the Tibetan Year of Monkey, Hemis Festival takes an auspicious turn. The scripture is must see as it is preserved delicately.
In the monastery and outside during the time of the festival, make sure to check out the stalls. From tastes of mountain kingdom to beautiful handicrafts if the area, the sight is wonderful to go through. Adventure seekers, remote villages, travelers as well as photographers make their way to be a part of the festival.
When to go?
After tough winters chills have become bearable, Hemis monastery open doors to enjoy the festival. Every year the date changes as it is celebrated every year on the tenth day of the Lunar calendar of the Tibetan month.
Where to go?
In Ladakh district, 45 km from Leh, Hemis Monastery lies in the gorge. The beautiful greenery in the barren landscape is a beautiful sight to watch. The largest Gompa in Ladakh can be accessed easily and houses approximately 500-600 saffron-clad monks. Devotees, backpackers as well as adventure lovers can be seen making their way to the Himalayan Kingdom to enjoy Hemis festival.