Top 5 Ladakh Festivals : Sindhu Darshan, Losar and more….. India is a land of diversities and the variety in food, culture, and festivals here makes the country an exciting proposition for explorers. To many, Ladakh is just a land enveloped by snow covered peaks and daunting passes. But what they don’t know is that there are customs and festivals of Ladakh that are alluring as well.
Festival season in Ladakh is the best way to view, enjoy and experience the culture of Ladakh. Festivals in Ladakh are organized on various occasions such as birth, marriage, commemoration of head Lamas who found the monasteries, harvesting, flowering and Losar or New Year.
The winter season plays host to more Ladakhi festivals in comparison to the summer season. Masked dance, folk songs by the monks in vibrant silk garments and feasting are some of the highlights of all the festivals. The venues of the festivals are the monasteries of the Ladakh and their courtyards become the open spaces where dance-dramas are organized. Spirituality and enjoyment are set afloat in the atmosphere.
Here Are 5 Most Popular Ladakh Festivals
1. Losar – Welcoming the new year with open arms
- Where: Across Leh-Ladakh
- When: December
One of the most popular festivals of Ladakh is Losar – a medley of cultural events, rituals, and performances. Holy fire, chant of mantras, and colorful robes set the tone for the celebrations for this festival that falls mostly in the month of December as per the Tibetan calendar.
Key attractions: Stage fight between the good and the evil, ibex deer dance
2. Sindhu Darshan: Celebrating the existence of the holy Indus
- Where: Banks of river Sindhu at Shey Manla in Leh
- When: June
Sindhu Darshan, celebrated on Guru Purnima, is another vibrant extravaganza of Ladakh. Through this festival, the natives commemorate the Indus River as they believe that the river plays a key role in maintaining harmony and unity among various ethnic groups and communities of India. The 3-day festival is also a way of paying respect to the brave Indian soldiers who endanger their life to save ours. Which makes
Key attractions: Buddhist prayers by senior lamas that commence the festival, and cultural programs by renowned artists
Sindhu Darshan 2017 dates: 12th June – 14th June
3. Hemis Tsechu: A cultural extravaganza
- Where: Hemis monastery
- When: July
Hemis Tsechu is another of the most awaited festivals in Ladakh that stretches over two days. It features a series of mask dances by the lamas of Hemis monastery and concludes with a sacrificial offering on the last day.
Key attractions: The highlight of the festival remains colorful masks and fine silk costumes worn by the dancers that represent guardian divinities to which Hemis belongs. Every dance move has a relevance and depicts the magical feats of Padmasambhava – an 8th-century Indian Buddhist master – in his eight manifestations to defeat the enemies of Buddhism.
Hemis Tsechu 2017 dates: 3rd July – 4th July
4. Ladakh Festival: Harvest symbolizes prosperity
- Where: Across Leh
- When: September
Ladakh festival is one of the popular festivals in Ladakh that showcases the cultural diversity of various regions. Performers come from all parts of Ladakh and celebrate with utmost joy and opulence. Displaying a wide array of dance programs, traditional music performances, and colorful robes all around, Ladakh festival makes for one of the must-attend festivals of Ladakh.
Spanning over a duration of almost two weeks, the festival comes to an end at the polo ground in Leh. During this time, the religious procession crosses over from one monastery to the other, as people dance and celebrate the harvest season.
Key attractions: Archery, polo, masked dances, and concert
Ladakh festival 2016 dates: 1st September – 15th September
Also Read – Ladakh Tourism and Travel Guide
5. Yuru Kabgyat: Victory of good over evil
- When: July
The mystical beauty of Lamayuru monastery accompanied by the celebration of Yuru Kabgyat makes it a prime attraction for travelers in the month of July. It is a 2-day Leh Ladakh festival that brings together the people of Lamayuru where they imitate the teachings of Tibetan Buddhism by singing and dancing in a traditional pattern.
The highlights of these dance dramas are the religious teachings of Buddha, and colorful ethnic garments donned by the monks during the festival.
Key attraction: The sacred ritual of the demolition of the statue to mark the liberate the inner demons is the highlight of the festival.
Lamayuru 2017 dates: 21st June – 22nd June