Hemis Festival

Celebrated annually on the 10th day of the Tse-Chu, Lunar month of the Tibetan Calendar, Hemis Festival marks the victory of good over evil. Like any other festival, the Hemis Festival portrays the lives and beliefs of the people of Ladakh. This 2 day festival celebrates Guru Padmasambhava's birth anniversary, who was the founder of Vajrayana Buddhism in Ladakh. After the unbearable winter chills, the festival comes as a welcome respite, as the Hemis Monastery opens its doors to the festivities.

Highlights of the festival
The Hemis Monastery is beautifully decorated to host the ceremony. This colourful festival exhibits the rich handicrafts of the region. Blowing of two 3 meters long brass trumpets signals the beginning of the Festival. The Head Lama then brings out the portrait of Guru Padmasambhava into the courtyard.

All the locals dress up in lovely traditional attires and gather in the courtyard of the Monastery. The major highlight of this colourful festival is the Chham dances, performed by the Lamas of the monastery. Lamas dance around central flagpole to the tunes of drums, cymbals and long horns.

Another dance performance is the Devil dance. These dances are also performed and are an eminent part of the festval.
The costume dance drama narrates the tale of the achievements of Guru Padmasambhava. The various vibrant masks depict all the guardian divinities of the Dugpa order of Buddhism. The robes and aprons are intricately designed with colourful brocades.

The music starts on a slow note and immediately picks up the pace as the narration gets intense. As the narration continues with the music and performance, it builds up to a hair rising climax when the leader smacks down the devil’s idols in combat victory.

Chang, the local drink of Ladakh, is also served at the festival, which is a must try.
Another major puller among the tourists is the unique handicrafts that are sold in a hefty amount at the monastery. Antique objects and artifacts like Buddhist idols, Tibetan gems and jewelry and hand woven dresses are some of the prime attractions of the numerous shopping stalls, temporarily set only during the festival.

Popularity of Hemis Festival
Ladakh is flocked with tourists at this time of the year. Travellers from around the world come here just to get a glimpse of this massively popular festival. This colourful all day long festival adds more thrill and adventure for the travellers visiting Ladakh.

Best time to visit Ladakh
Though the beauty of this pristine heaven remains same all year long, the months from May to August are highly popular among travellers. During these months, the weather becomes pleasant enough to partake in various adventure activities while enjoying beautiful vistas.

How to reach Ladakh
By Air - Leh Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport is the main airport of the region. Direct flights are available from Delhi, Srinagar and Jammu.
By Train - Pathankot and Chandigarh are the closest railway stations to Leh. 
By Road - Travellers can also take bus services from Jammu and Kashmir or from Manali to visit Leh.


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