Ladakh – The Land Of Festivals and Dances

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Being a land of majestic beauty, Ladakh enjoys a variety of festivals and music throughout the year. The famous festivals are the Sindhu Dharshan which is the celebration of the river Sindhu and Thiksey Gustor which is dedicated to welcome visitors.

 

FESTIVALS TO CHERISH:

The Sindhu Dharshan:

Celebrated on the full moon day of June every year, the festival is held to worship the River Indus. Devotees bring water from their region in a pot and mix it in the Indus River. The first day of the fest is meant for welcoming participants by a joined group of Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, and Buddhists. A group of fifty senior Lamas will organize prayer in the banks of the river which is followed by the sightseeing arranged for the visitors. On the second day, cultural programs are conducted in which many artists take part from various states of India. The festival lasts for three days. As a note of honor, the Government of India released a postage stamp depicting the festival in 1999.

Hemis Tsechu:a

 Hemis Tsechu is one of the most popular monastic festivals in Ladakh. This two-day fest is the celebration of the culture of Ladakh. A series of mask dances are performed by the Hemis monastery which is followed by offering a sacrifice. The festival is dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava, an 8th-century Indian Buddhist master. One can enjoy pleasing music and dance performed by silky dressed, mask worn artists.

Buddha Poornima:

The Saka Dawa or the Buddha Poornima is a day for remembering the birth, teachings, and death of the Gautama Buddha. This festival is one of the supreme celebrations of Buddhists in Ladakh and all over the world. The date of the festival is decided based on the lunar calendar but most probably in May. People from all over Ladakh go on a rally named, Bhumskor carrying sacred religious books along with ‘Thangka’ which depicts the life and noble deeds of Buddha. People visit monasteries on the day and get blessings from Lord Buddha.

 The monasteries on this day will be filled with holy chants and poojas. The bikers who are on a ‘Ladakh bike trip’ can enjoy witnessing the massive group of monks, their students, and public gathering for rally and worship.

Losar or Welcoming the New Year:

  Losar is the celebration of Tibetian New Year which is celebrated on different dates depending on the local tradition. In Ladakh, the fest is mostly held in February and was celebrated from 12th to 14th February in 2021. The festival includes holy fire, the chant of mantras, ibex deer fight, and stage fight between the good and the evil powers. If you choose a Ladakh road trip, you will get a magnificent view of the entire colorful fest.

Yuru Kabgyat:

  The fest is celebrated in the Lamayuru monastery in July. The two-day festival includes imitation of Tibetian Buddhist teachings, traditional singing, and dancing. The religious teachings of Buddha are performed in the form of drama. The celebration is to rejoice in the victory of good over evil. Hence, a temporarily built state which is considered as the demon is demolished and put to the fire in front of the public gathering.

Tak Tok fest:

 The celebration is also known as the ‘festival of dancing monks’ is held in July and August on the 10th day of the lunar calendar. The main highlight of the fest is cultural dance combining both monks and local people. This festival attracts more people because it is believed that one who witnesses the fest will get Buddha’s blessings in protection against evil things. The festival is also a social gathering where local people dress well and adorn themselves with wonderful jewelry.

 

MUSIC TO REJOICE:

 

The Jabro:

Jabro is performed by the Eastern Ladakhis from the hillside of Changtheng location. With major Tibetian influence, the dance is performed by men and women forming two strings. The musical instrument used is of Mongolian origin and is believed to have migrated from Tibet. Though the Tibetian music is a bit fast, the music is customized according to the melodious music of Ladakh.

Jabro dance is an essential event of the Losar festival, the Tibetian New Year. One should not miss the wonderful event and make sure that your Ladakh tour package includes this.

Takshon or Shon:

This form of dance is dedicated to the King and is performed only by the members of the Noble Family. The stage performance is dedicated to the King on New Year’s Eve. Initially, commoners were not allowed to practice or perform the dance. In this modern era, everyone is permitted to practice and indulge.

Nyopa:

The key attraction of the dance is the Yellow gown and is performed mainly in Buddhist marriages. Young men from the groom’s side are termed as ‘Nyopas”. They are responsible to take the bride from her house to the groom’s house where the marriage events are held. Nyopas dance on completing the rituals. The Nyopa dance includes the singing of local folk songs and is one of the playful events in the marriage ceremony.

Balti Dance:

 This dance is performed primarily by the Islamic people from Kargil and Turtuk regions. The dance is unique with its music and is accompanied by lyrics in the Balti language. Performed in cultural events, some of its versions are reserved only for religious occasions. Every year the dance is performed at the Independence and Republic day events.          

 

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