Hemis festival also known as Hemis Gompa fair is the annual two-day celebration in the pristine land of Ladakh. The valley looks surreal with a colorful atmosphere and the echoing rhythmic tunes.
Reflecting the sacred essence of Buddhism and Tibetan culture, the festival becomes a major attraction for devotees and tourists around the globe.
Why is the Hemis festival celebrated?
It is celebrated to mark the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche. He is regarded as the incarnation of Lord Gautama Buddha and was the one who introduced the Buddhist faith in the Himalayan region. The festival symbolizes the victory of good over evil. It reminds the devotees to always let the light of goodness and faith burn within them. The natives also believe that this holy celebration gives vigour and spiritual strength. It creates an aura of spirituality and tranquillity.
When is the Hemis festival held?
The mountain valley glimmers with exuberance during the fifth month of the Tibetan calendar. It is said to be the 10th day of the fifth month of the Monkey year. The dates of the Hemis festival falls around June- July. The 2020 dates of the festivity is 31st June – 1st July.
Where is the Hemis festival organized?
The festival is celebrated in the courtyard of the renowned Hemis Monastery also known as the Hemis Gompa. It is housed in the Hemis village of Ladakh, Jammu & Kashmir. Hemis Gompa is 45 km away from Leh so it is advisable to leave early so that you don’t miss the rituals. The monastery is adorned beautifully for the iconic celebration. Its majestic architecture, cultural saga, and great historical significance would leave you spellbound.
What is special about the Hemis festival?
The ceremony commences early morning with the worshipping of Guru Padmasambhava. Traditional music is played with drums, trumpets, and cymbals which mesmerizes the crowd. Uncooked rice, holy water, and incense stick are used by Lamas to perform the ritual. On the second day of the celebration, people destroy the demon structures made out of dough to mark the end of evil. The remaining of these sculptures are thrown in four directions by the Lamas which symbolizes purification of the vicinity.
The Chham Dance:
The main highlight of the festival is the Chham dance. The Lamas tap their feet wearing multi-hued exotic masks which are symbolic. The jaw-dropping site fills the air with thrill and enthusiasm. It is a slow pace dance which depicts the triumph of good over evil. As the Lamas dance in their dazzling, traditional attires, they narrate folklores and Buddhist tales to the eager crowd.
The Tibetan fair:
The rich culture of the Himalayan Valley is also beautifully portrayed in the fair organized by the locals. You can purchase Tibetan souvenirs which will keep reminding you of the beauty of Himalayas and the hospitality of its people. Your eyes would truly have a feast at the site of the unique artefacts, jewellery’s, clothes, and handicrafts.
Ladakh’s famous Chang drink:
Also don’t forget to try the famous local drink- Chang. Prepared mainly from rice water it is a local favourite. In fact it is the traditional drink of Ladakh and on the auspicious occasion of the grand Hemis festival it is served to everyone.
You would be surrounded by a crowd continuously dancing, chanting and celebrating in their long colourful dresses. Your heart is sure to rejoice at this heavenly sight of sheer merriment. So don’t forget to be a part of this festival.
Also read about the other amazing places of Jammu & Kashmir Naropa Festival, Martand Sun Temple, Amarnath, Parihaspora , Avantipur Temple, Hari Parbat , Narastan Temple , Dal Lake , Pari Mahal, Hemis Monastery, Thiksey Monastery, Bahi Fort, Ladakh