Ladakh is primarily influenced by Buddhism and Tibetan culture. Reflection of these two can be best observed during the numerous fairs and festivals, held in the region throughout the year. Also known as small Tibet, Ladakhis celebrate their festivals in a more traditional yet colorful way. In order to feel the real essence of the civilization of Ladakh, it is highly advised that the region must be visited during the festive season. Whatever be the reason, be it any marriage, birth, harvesting, commemoration of any monastery, or the Ladakhi new year, celebrations are long lived in the region.
These festivals cum celebrations are marked by feasting, singing and dancing along the tunes of the folk heritage of Ladakh. Apart from the usual celebrations, the monastic festivals in the region are the more highlighted ones. If you are in Ladakh during summers, you must not miss the Hemis festival and Matho Nagrang at any cost. Performers in these monastic festivals showcase a sacred dance drama, wearing facial masks and colorful brocade robes.
This 3-day long festival is one of the most famous festivals in Ladakh which is held from the 28th of June to the 29th of June 2023 at the most popular Buddhist monastery, The Hemis Gompan to honor the birth of the founder of Tantric Buddhism, Guru Padmasambhava.
Sindhu Darshan Festival is celebrated for 3 days starting from the 12th of June in a place called Shay Manila which is located on the banks of the river Sindhu. Although the main purpose of the festival is to promote tourism in this region it is also celebrated to pay homage to all the Indian soldiers who have been serving our nation for the safety of the Indian citizens. This is another festival which is distinct from many other festivals we might have come across. The people carrying water from different parts of the country immerse it in the river and Lamas offer prayers. Various types of dance performances by people from all over the nation are the main attractions of this festival.
Losar festival is the major festival of this region which is celebrated either in the month of December or January. This festival marks the beginning of a New Year which is celebrated 2 months before the New Year as per the Tibetan calendar has a historical root in King Jamyang Namgyal who started this celebration in the 17th century beforehand as he had to prepare for a war against the Baltistan forces in the coming months. This tradition has continued since then as a gala celebration of Ladakh.
People of Ladakh celebrate this festival for a month by performing various rituals and by decorating their houses and feeding animals. They put the symbols of ibexes on the walls and kitchen as ibexes are considered to bring luck and prosperity according to Buddhism. A special procession is carried out with holy slogans to remove any negative aura of ghosts.
The Dosmoche Festival which focuses on the protection of the local people in Ladakh is celebrated in the month of 18th to 19th February 2023 at three places, the Diskit monastery of Nubra Valley, the courtyard of the Palace Leh, and Liker. Various Tantric rituals are performed by a number of monks from many monasteries with the purpose of driving away all the negative energies and forces like ghosts and natural disasters. Leh Palace gets decorated magnificently and the Ladakhis get into a joyous mood during the festive season for days. Music, drama, and masked dance performances enthrall the visitors during the festival.
Ladakh is a place where you can see the beautiful amalgamation of different cultures like Tibetan, Chinese, and Indian and this is evident by witnessing the grand festival called Ladakh which is celebrated from the 1st of September to the 04th of September. This splendid festival which is organized in Leh by the tourism department of Leh Ladakh attracts many tourists to this spot during this time.