Hemis- Welcome to the splendid festivals of Hemis that celebrates the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava.
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Leh Ladakh » About Ladakh » Hemis

Hemis Festival, Ladakh

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Ladakh is a storehouse of culture and adventure. The Buddhist culture in Ladakh has been inviting travellers for ages from all parts of the world. Fairs and festivals of Ladakh are a perfect mirror to the cultural practices and traditions that carry on in Ladakh. The Hemis Festival of Ladakh is a major crowd puller and holds a lot of significance in terms of culture. The festival, which runs for two days, is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of the Buddhist guru Padmasambhava. The festivities of Hemis take place at the world-famous Hemis Gompa, located at a distance of 45 km from the capital town of Leh.

The two-day-long festival falls on the 10th day of the Tibetan Lunar month. According to Georgian calendar, it is the time during June and July.

Sacred dances, contradictory explanations and special musical performances are the major highlights of the Hemis Festival in Ladakh. During the festival, lamas and monks gather at the Hemis Gompa to perform the sacred Mask Dance. The specific dance form is meant to celebrate good over evil. Apart from these dances, the lamas also come up to explain the significance and the actual meaning of the sacred dance performances.

The Hemis Festival brings an opportunity for all the villagers and families to come together and socialise. Men can be seen wearing cummerbands while women are dressed in bright headgear and lots of jewellery. Brass trumpets, which are 3 metre in length, are played and the whole festive scene becomes a sight to behold. Travellers also stand good chances of interacting with rural people which is otherwise not possible.
The Hemis Gompa becomes a hub of celebratory activities during the festival. The gompa, which is known to be the wealthiest and the biggest in Ladakh, also features the largest thangka in Ladakh. The Buddhist gompa remains divided into two main parts - the assembly hall on the right and the temple on the left. During the Hemis celebrations, the hall Dukhang becomes the greenroom of the dancers. The temple is locally known as Tshogkhang.

A colourful fair is also organised during the Hemis Festival and serves as a major attraction for tourists as well as locals. A range of handicrafts are put on sale during the exhibition and you can always find some wonderful souvenirs to take back home.

There are a number of other Buddhist festivals in Ladakh for you to join in. Each one of these has a special significance and has its own festive highlights.

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