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Festival Tour

 
 
The main festival in Ladakh is the Ladakh Festival held between 1st and 15th of September of each year. This includes a parade through the streets of Leh where people from all over Ladakh are represented - monks in their colourful robes, archery teams, villagers from all over Ladakh displaying their multi-coloured and vibrant traditional costumes, the women proudly don their elaborate hats and head accessories made of turquoise, dancing on the streets and occasionally, you may find foreigners join in the fun. The lively parade ends at the Polo ground, where a day long cultural display follows. The celebrations continue for a period of 2 weeks, with exhibitions and other cultural programs being held all over Ladakh.

Most of the annual festivals of the Gompas are held in winter but the biggest and most attended one, the Hemis Festival actually takes place at the start of the summer season, around late June/early July. This festival commemorates the birth of renowned Indian sage, Padmasambhava. Every 12 years, the gompa's greatest treasures, a huge Thangka over 12m long), is exhibited in an elaborate ritual, the next one taking place in 2016.

The other popular festivals are the Lamayuru festival (a two-day festival held at the Lamayuru monastery about 127 kms west of Leh, where Lamas perform sacred dances by wearing masks followed by the destruction of sacrificial offerings) and the Dosmoche festival (also known as the festival of the Scapegoat, an ancient tradition started by the Kings of Ladakh where the Leh Palace comes alive with the music of drums and the thumping steps of the Lamas dancing to the beat of the drums, oftentimes in frightful masks. The celebration concludes with sacrificial offerings which aim to cast away evil spirits of the past year.

The festivals in the Gompas are quite different to the Ladakh Festival, taking place at the courtyard of the Gompas and participated by the lamas of the Gompa. In such a festival, the Lamas perform various dances, and attired not in their usual robes, but in colourful and elaborate robes, wearing masks. The dances usually represent the victory of good over evil.

Whichever festival you choose to attend, it will provide you with an opportunity to see Ladakhis from all areas of Ladakh, especially during the winter months, which is the most idle period for us. You will find Ladakhis gather for the festivals, from as far as Zanskar to be part of the celebrations. Please take some time to read our Facts for Visitors (especially in relation to etiquette on photography and visiting Gompas). We set out below a comprehensive list of all the festivals in Ladakh. Also, don’t forget to view our Photo Gallery for some photos of the Festivals!

Name of The Festival Venu 2016 2017
Spituk Gustor Spituk January 7-8 January 25-26
Dosmoche Leh & Likir Monastery February 6-7 February 24-25
Yargon Tungshak Nubra (Yarma) February 12-13 March 2-3
Stok Guru Tsechu Stok Monastery February 16-17 March 6-7
Matho Nagrang Matho Monastery February 21-22 March 11-12
Saka Dawa All over Ladakh May 20 June 9
Yuru Kabgyat Lamayuru Monastery July 1-2 June 21 -22
Hemis Tsechu Hemis Monastery July 14-15 July 3-4
Stongday Gustor Zanskar July 22-23 July 12-13
Karsha Gustor Zanskar July 31-Aug 01 July 21-22
Phyang Tsesdup Phyang Monastery July 31-Aug 01 July 21-22
Sachukul Gustor Sachukul Monastery July 21-22 July 11-12
Korzok Gustor Tsomoriri Aug 5-6 July 26-27
Dakthok Tseschu Dak thok Monastery Aug 13-14 Aug 2-3
Sani Nasjal Zanskar August 17-18 July 6-7
Deskit Gustor Nubra October 28-29 October 17-18
Thiksay Gustor Thiksay November 17-18 November 6-7
Chemday Wangchok|Padum Chemray Monastery November 27-28 November 16-17
Galden Namchot All over Ladakh December 23 December 12
Ladakhi Losar All over Ladakh December 30 December 19


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