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Hemis Festival

Occasion:Hemis Festival
Location:Ladakh, Jammu and Kashmir
Festival Time:June- July
Significance:The birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava Festival Venue: Courtyard, Hemis Gompa
Things to do: Trekking in Ladakh, Sight seeing in Ladakh, river rafting. AksharDham Temple
Excursion Trip:Kargil, Ladakh, Kashmir, Leh.
Staying Options: Taj Mahal Hotel, Hyatt Regency, Ambassador Hotel, InterContinental Eros, The Oberoi

Hemis Festival is the special festival for the Hemis monastery. It is known as the biggest monastery of Ladakh. It is celebrated on the tenth day of the lunar month in the Tibetan Calendar. It is celebrated as the commemoration of the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava who is believed to be the founder of the Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. The sacred dance and drama of the life and mission is performed by wearing the masks and colorful brocade robes. It is a three day festival which is generally celebrated between 9th to 11th. Hemis Festival attracts the tourists from round the globe. It is the very vibrant and the colorful festival which is celebrated for two days. During the festival Lamas gather around the central flagpole in the country yard of the monastery and they perform different plays and mask dance.

Significance of the Festival:
Hemis Festival is dedicated to the to Lord Pasmasambhava (Gur Rimpoche) which is venerated as the representative reincarnate of Buddha. It is said that he was born on the tenth day of the fifth month of the Monkey year. It is also believed that the life mission was to improve the spiritual condition of all the living beings. The festival is celebrated in the rectangular courtyard in front of the main door of the monastery. It is the wide and open space with the raised square platforms, three feet high with a sacred pole in the center. A raised dias is cushioned richly with the Tibetan table with the ceremonial items- cup of holy water, uncooked rice, tormas made up of dough and butter and incense sticks. The ceremonies begin with an early morning ritual atop the Gompa where, to the beat of drums and the resounding clash of cymbals and the spiritual wail of pipes, the portrait of "Dadmokarpo" or "Rygyalsras Rimpoche" is then ceremoniously put on display for all to admire and worship.

Hemis Monastery:
The Hemis Monastery is located at the 40 Km away from Leh, it is the wealthiest and the best known gompa of Ladakh. The festival is celebrated in the honor of the Guru Padma Sambhav's birth anniversary. It is the largest Thangkha in Ladakh which is celebrated once in 12 years (2004).

The Festival:
The courtyard of Hemis Gompa- the biggest monastery in Ladakh. The colorful and thrilling festival is celebrated on the tenth day of the Tibetan lunar month. The local people are seen dressed in their traditional garb for the occasion. The spectacular masked dance and the sacred play done by the Lamas is called as 'chhams' performed around the central flagpole with the accomplishment of cymbals, drums and long horns. 'Rimpoche' is the head Lama who presides over the function. The colorful festival also displays some beautiful handicrafts which is the special highlights of the festival. The dance in the festival depicts the victory of right over the evil, and in the festival the huge bowls of 'chang' , Ladakhis own country liquor.

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Things to do in Ladakh:

Ladakh is as always the favorite trekking destination for the tourists from all over the world. It is the most picturesque and the most challenging treks of the northern India. It is situated at the northernmost part of India some seven kilometers from the Indus river and the extensive valley.

Sightseeing in Ladakh:
Sightseeing in Leh Ladakh begins with the tour in the budhist monasteries of the regions. There are many other destinations of Ladakh like Leh Palace, Adventure Sports in Ladakh like river rafting, mountain climbing, cycling, camel safari, yak safari, Leh Mosque and the rich wildlife of Ladakh. .

By Road:
There is the wide range of river rafting in the Ladakh. The river Indus is available in with its major tributaries. The professionally guided run of water is on the Indus between Spituk and Saspol. The most thrilling experience can be the river running on the Zanskar which is along to the spectacular course in the Zanskar mountain between Padum and Nimo.

How to Reach?

By Air:
Airline services operates regularly by its scheduled flights Leh to Delhi, Chandigarh, Jammu and Srinagar. From Jammu there are two flights in a week and from Srinagar one in a week.

By Road: The Srinagar- Leh road is around 434 km and it remains open for the traffic early June to November is the main route to Ladakh. The Jammu and Kashmir State Road Transport Corporation (J&KSRTC) operates regular Deluxe and Ordinary bus service between Srinagar and Leh with an overnight halt at Kargil. Taxis, Cars and Jeeps are also available at Srinagar for the journey.
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