Colourful Fairs and Festivals of Leh Ladakh

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culture and festivals ladakh
Source: http://discoverladakh.co.in/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/HEMIS.jpg

India is a diverse land with different cultures, languages and traditions. Here you can experience a wide array of cuisine, festivals, climatic conditions and topography. Being a land of a large number of states that have a different set of languages, festivals, cultures and cuisine, you can embark on any place of India at any time and you will have a whole set of new experience and undoubtedly your trip will truly be an enthralling one. Here we will talk about the beautiful city of Leh Ladakh which has always been a popular tourist destination as thousands of tourists flood this astounding city every year, famous for biking and trekking tours. The festivals in Leh Ladakh are also very colourful and depict the rich culture and tradition of Ladakh. Let’s discuss few of these colourful customs and traditions related to some famous Fairs in Leh Ladakh that are as exciting and alluring as the place itself.

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1. LOSAR: New Year Carnival

losar carnival new year
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Losar is one of the famous festivals of Leh Ladakh that tops the Leh Ladakh Festival list. An amalgamation of events, rituals and cultural performances is what constitutes this festival. It falls mostly in the month of December every year. The mantra chanting, holy fire and colourful attire create an aura of festivity and fervour all around.

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2. Sindhu Darshan: Celebrating the Holy Indus

sindhu darshan festival
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Celebrated in the month of June this Sindhu Darshan festival is celebrated with lively spirit and enthusiasm in people. As this holy river is believed to maintain harmony and cordial relations among the people of Leh Ladakh and also for bringing good luck and prosperity. This three-day festival is also a medium to pay homage to the brave soldiers who sacrifice their lives for the nation. The key attractions of the festival are the commencement of prayers from senior Lamas and programs by renowned artists.

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3. Hemis Tsechu: A cultural show

hemis tsechu festival
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Hemis Tsechu is most beautiful festivals in Ladakh that is looked up to for a sequence of mask dances by the Lamas of Hemis Monastery with a sacrificial offering that is performed on the last day of the festival. The major highlights of the festivity are bejewelled dance costumes and the masks of the performers that represent the deities and guardian Gods and Goddesses who are offered prayers and rituals to beat the foes of Buddhism. This festival mostly falls in the month of June.

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4. Ladakh Festival: Harvest symbolizes prosperity

ladakh festivals
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The Ladakh Festival is celebrated with great pomp and shows across the length and breadth of Ladakh. This festival is celebrated in the month of September and there is the huge display of cultural diversity. Performers from various regions of Ladakh perform dances and cultural shows in colourful costumes. The festival lasts for almost two weeks and culminates at the Polo Ground in Leh. During this tenure, a religious demonstration passes from one monastery to another. People rejoice to celebrate this harvest festival. The key attractions of the festival are masked dances, archery, polo and concert.

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5. Yuru Kabgyat: Victory of Good over Evil

yuru kabgyat festival in ladakh
yuru kabgyat festival in Ladakh

The enchanting beauty of Lamayuru Monastery is the major attraction for the tourists. The celebration of Yuru Kabgyat is the highlight of the festival that lasts for 2 days. People sing and dance in a traditional way and celebrate the festival with much religious fervour. The highlights of the festival are spiritual teachings of Buddha, colourful ethnic garments that are adorned by the monks at the time of the festival and various cultural activities that are a part of the festival in the month of July. The holy ceremony of the demolition of the statue steals the limelight of the show.

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6. Phyang Tsedup: Remembering the oracles

phyang tsedup festival ladakh
Phyang Tsedup Festival Ladakh (Source)

Phyang Tsedup festival has rejoiced for the teachings of Lord Buddha in the form of festive partying. The monks flaunt colourful silk costumes, perform the sacred mask dance and offer prayers. Plays are performed to imbibe the teachings of Buddha amid high spirit and joyfulness. The followers of Buddhism also perform a pilgrimage to Thangka of Skyabje Gombo which is an important ritual of Leh Ladakh.

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7. Thiksey Gustor: Honoring the victors

thiksey gustor festival
Thiksey Gustor Festival Ladakh :(Source: YouTube

This famous 2 days festival commences with chanting and praying. It is much loved and festival of Ladakh that depicts that all bad things one day come to an end. On the second day of the festival, the sacred ritual of Black Hat Dancers is performed and a cake cutting ceremony which is symbolic of sacrifice is done which demonstrates the end of the festival.

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8. Dosmoche: Celebrating virtue amid drum and thumps

dosmoche festival ladakh
Dosmoche Festival Ladakh (Source)

The festivity starts with a flock of Ladakhis in fancy masquerade performing the sacred dance. The festival is celebrated to ensure the safety and well being of the locals residing there. It lasts for 2 days when the Lams who are believed to possess the mystic and supernatural powers perform a ritual of crossing the threads that wards off all evil and negative powers.

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9. Matho Nagrang: Of oracles and their blessings

Matho Nagrang Festival Ladakh
Matho Nagrang Festival Ladakh (Source)

The festival is celebrated on the fifteenth day of the month when the Tibetan calendar starts. It is a two-day show where one can see monks dressed like Gods and Goddesses. Their attire comprises of masks and silk robes. The festival marks the return of two of the oracles who spend a month doing meditation in isolation. They are accompanied by masked dancers as they make their appearance.

10. Stok Guru Tsechu: The festival of commons

Stok Guru Tsechu Festival
Stok Guru Tsechu Festival (Source)

This festival falls between the months of February and March that is one week before Matho Nagrang. The major attraction of the festival is the selection of two of the commoners who are thoroughly cleaned and prepared to receive the soul of the venerated deities. The festival also accompanies prayer dance, food, and other ceremonies that are performed by the common people.

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