Culture makes up for a large part of any place you are visiting. Their festivals, their traditions, their people, their art, a traveler mustn’t miss any chance to experience any of it.
Especially if you get to be a part of their celebration of the festivals which are celebrated by the local people in full spirits, you feel a sense of belonging with that place and it makes you feel a little more home at a foreign place. The travel season of Ladakh begins with the month of May, with the opening of Rohtang pass and continues till late september or early october. If you have already fixed you traveling plan to Leh and Ladakh in the month of June, then the famous Hemis festival will come as a surprise for you. If you haven’t planned anything, it’s time to go for a vacations again.
Apart from all the magnificent beauty and culture that you can witness in Ladakh, Hemis festival is the epitome of Buddhist culture and local experience that one must not miss if he/she is traveling around in the month of June in Leh and Ladakh.
What is Hemis Festival?
The much known Hemis festival is a two day extravagant to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, who is considered as a savior of the valley by fighting evil in the ancient times. It has its origin in the 8th century and the traditions remain intact till today as preserved by the local people. It is celebrated on the 10th day of the Lunar month of the Tibetan calendar.
People gather at the largest and the most important Hemis Monastery, which is located 45 km from Leh. The whole monastery and adorned with the traditional decorations all around the holy place. People gather in large numbers to celebrate together and cherish their culture.
What’s the date?
Hemis festival will be celebrated on 23 and 24 of June this year in 2018.
Why should you attend the festival?1. Catch the glimpse of the local culture
Hemis festival is one of the most important celebration of the year in Ladakh. All the people gather around the monastery to celebrate and showcase their culture once in every year for this festival. Tourists come from all around the world the be a part of the vibrance and enthusiasm that prevails around the celebration of the festival.2. The famous Chham dance and devil dance
Chham is the local tradition of the Ladakhi people and to celebrate their holy festival, the Lamas of the monastery get dressed up in colourful and vibrant attires and the traditional masks covering their faces. The mask makes up for the important part of their traditional dance, each mask having a unique significance. The festival begins with the three horns blown by the monks of the monastery and the Chham begins to pay tribute to their holy guru. If you like to explore and experience the culture, you shouldn’t be missing this dance celebration of the festival. The devil dance to also performed by the llamas to celebrate the victory of good over bad.3. The handicrafts
You can also get to explore the art and culture of the local Ladakh during the festival. The native artisans set up their stalls and exhibitions of the local artefacts that they prepare at their homes. From the traditional and religious souvenirs, to the handicrafts and artefacts there is lot to see and buy as souvenirs to remind you of the people of Ladakh.4. The country liquor - Chang
To make you dance to the heart throbbing beats of the drums and music, country liquor prepared in the households of the Ladakhi people to beat the winters is also the drink of the occasion. Chang is served during this festival to the locals as well as to the tourists to welcome each one of them in the extravagant celebration of the festival.5. The rituals
The end of the festival is marked by destroying the sculptor made with the dough, which represents the evil powers. Once it is destroyed, it is distributed among the people attending the festival to celebrate the victory of good after destroying the evil.6. Narrating the tales of Buddhist culture
The Chham dance is accompanied by the story narrated by the llamas in the background. The story depicts about the ancient traditions and rituals. Complementing the dance with a story and a significance, you will absolutely love the narration in the local language making the llamas dance on the beat of it.7. A photographes paradise
The festivals gains much hype from the media and multiple photographers waiting to catch the glimpse of the festival. The monastery decorated in the vibrant colours and llamas and local people dressed up in the lively attires, is a chance to photograph some of the beautiful moments of the festival.
Things to remember:
-The seatings are reserved for the different personnels, even if they are not marked reserved. There is a separate sitting for the common people attending the festival. Make sure you check it before you sit.
- The celebration begins early in the morning at 11-12 AM. Hemis monastery is located 45 km from Leh, make sure you leave early in the morning if you want to attend the festival.