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Travel

Divided By Cities, United By Traditions - 12 Festivals Of Leh Ladakh

By Swati Mishra

Updated - Oct. 25, 2019 7 min read

Before you start reading our blog, do figure out a season in which you're planning to go for which we have curated a complete guide for the same - An Ultimate Guide To Leh-Ladakh, pick your favorite season and enjoy the beauty of nature at it's best only in Leh Ladakh. 

Leh Ladakh is one of the most visited places in India - This place can also be called the paradise of the Indian continent with its glorifying picturesque landscape and scenic views that never fail to mesmerize the visitors with its allure. Leh-Ladakh! The highest settlement in India in the northernmost state of Jammu And Kashmir is one scenic beauty that has been on every traveler's bucket list. 

India is the country of diverse culture and every culture has their own festivals to celebrate and enjoy in their own way. Similarly, Leh-Ladakh, has its own bunch of festivals and the localities celebrate them with utter grace and joy. Not only the locals, tourists also love to be a part of them and enjoy every bit of Leh Ladakh's culture and tradition. It's the best way to mingle with localities and experience the real joy of knowing a city and its culture. Pick your favorite festival and visit Leh Ladakh at that particular time to explore the beauty of it. Here is a list of 10 Festivals celebrated in Leh Ladakh which makes this city more beautiful and rich in culture.


1. Losar Festival

This is one of the most popular and colorful festivals that is celebrated across the whole of Ladakh with great enthusiasm in the month of December. This festival is for welcoming the new year, it falls in the 11th month of the Tibetan Calendar. There are a lot of cultural programmes, rituals, and many breathtaking performances that take place on this day. Gods, Ancestors, and animals are also fed this day without any delay. Kitchens are decorated with the images of Ibex, a symbol depicting good luck.

lodar-festivals-leh-ladakh_image
When- 8th December 
Where- All over Ladakh
 

2. Sindhu Darshan

This festival is celebrated near the bank of river Indus, and it is basically for celebrating the existence of the river Indus which is extremely holy for everyone. It is said that this religious river is the main reason for utter harmony and unity among the people. It is celebrated on Gurupurnima and is one of the high spirited enthusiastic festivals in the whole Ladakh. Not just for the river but this festival is also celebrated for offering respect to the Indian soldiers who lost their lives to protect us. It is a 3-day extravaganza celebrated by the localities with utter enthusiasm. 
sindhu-darshan-festivals-leh-ladakh_image
When- June 
Where- At Shey Manla, at the banks of Indus River. 
 

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3. Hemis Tsechu 

Hemis Tsechu - is celebrated at the well known Hemis Monastery. It is a two days festival filled with colors and happiness. The special thing about this festival is the mask dance done by the lamas which creates a completely different hype among the people as it is a treat to a spectator's eye. The festival ends with the sacrificial gift on the last day of the festival. The dance depicts and focuses on the feats of Padmasambhava.
hemis-tsechu-festivals-leh-ladakh_image
When - July 
Where - Hemis Monastery
 

4. Ladakh Festival 

Ladakh Festival is the celebration of the harvest season. It is one of the must-attend festivals which showcases performances and art forms of different cultures at one stage. There is music, dancing, singing, and whatnot - enjoy the real sight of Ladakhi culture and other different regional cultures at the Ladakh Festival. It also includes sports activities such as Polo and archery, one can witness masked dancing at monasteries and also live musical concerts.
ladakh-festivals-leh-ladakh_image
When - 25th-28th September
Where - Across Leh
 

5. Yuru Kabgyat 

This one is celebrated for the victory of good over evil in the Lamayuru monastery. The alluring architecture of the monastery and the blissful environment of the festival attracts a huge amount of people to attend the prosperous festival. There are portrayals of various art forms such as dance, drama and other cultural programmes - This festival aims at imitating and paying respect to teachings of Buddhism by dancing and singing gestures
yurukabgyat-festivals-leh-ladakh_image
When - July 
Where - Lamayuru Monastery 
 

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6. Phyang Tsedup 

This is the festival is about highlighting the teachings of Buddha through a grand and cheerful celebration. It is celebrated in the Phyang monastery where all the monks wear beautiful ethnic clothes and perform a mask dance which is said to be sacred. One of the important rituals of this festival is the pilgrimage, the followers take to Thangka Of Skyabje Gombo.
phyang-tsedup-festivals-leh-ladakh_image
When - July - August 
Where - Phyang Monastery 
 

7. Matho Nagrang 

Matho Nagrang is one of the popular festivals celebrated and enjoyed by the people of Ladakh with a great enthusiasm. The monks are dressed like various ladakhian gods and goddesses. The great monks who have been meditating into isolation return after their completion of meditation which makes this festival a lot more special and serene. You must attend this festival to encounter the pure authenticity of Ladakh. 
matho-nagrang-leh-ladakh-festivals_image
When - 18th Feb - 19th Feb 2019
Where - Matho Monastery 
 

8. Deskit Gustor Festival

This festival is celebrated in the Diskit Monastery for two days. The significance of this festival highlights the win of good over evil. You'll witness Lamas performing the sacred masks dance accompanied by live music created out of cymbals, drums, and horns. You'll be overwhelmed by the Fiesta feels - as the festival will hit you in the feels.

deskit-gustor_image
When - 7th-8th October 2018
Where -  Nubra Valley
 

9. Thiksey Gustor Festival

It's a 2-day festival celebrated in Thiksey Monastery, Spituk Monastery, and Karsha Nanzkar. Distribution of sacrificial cake also takes place when the festivity ends. An enactment of the murder of King Lang Darma of Tibet also takes places holding a huge significance for the origin of this festival.

thiksey-festivals-leh-ladakh_image
When - 27th-28th October
Where - Thiksey Monastery

 

10. Chemday Wangchok Festival

Chemday Wangchok Festival is celebrated in Chemdrey Monastery which was erected by the great Buddhist guru Lama Taktsang Repa in Ladakh (44 km from Leh). This festival marks the victory of good over the evil. The 28th and 29th day of the ninth month of Tibetan calendar mark the beginning of this festival. This year it is falling on 5th-6th November 2018.

chemday-festivals-leh-ladakh_image
When - 5th and 6th November 2019
Where - Chemdrey Monastery

 

11. Dosmoche Festival

It is the last festival celebrated in respect to New Year Celebrations. It was originated by The royals of Ladakh to erase evil from everywhere. Lamas from Takthok Monastery recite mantras during this festival to eradicate evil. Holy emblems are put across Leh, traditional sacred mask dances take place. The burning of the ritual offerings implies removal of all evil spirits. It is celebrated on 28th and 29th day of the 12th Tibetan Month.

dosmoche-festivals-leh-ladakh_image

When - 2nd-3rd February 2019
Where - Likir And Diskit Monastery
 

12. Stok Guru Tsechu Festival

One of the most special parts of every festival has to be the Masked Dances as they hold a great importance and depicts the teachings and stories of Buddhism. It happens on the 9th and 10th day of the 1st month of Tibetan Calendar. Two oracles appear during this festival - the forecast of the oracles are taken seriously by the localities. Monks prepare them by mean to receive the spirit of gods.

stok-guru-tseche-festival-leh-ladakh_image

When - 15th-17th February 2019
Where - Spituk Monastery
 
 

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FAQ:

Q: Which are the most beautiful monasteries in Leh Ladakh?
A: Hemis Monastery, Spituk Monastery, Diskit Monastery and Chemdrey Monastery.
 
Q. Why is Ladakh a Desert?
A. Desert lands with extremely low temperatures are called cold deserts like Antarctica, which is the largest cold desert in the world. Ladakh in India is a cold desert that lies in the Great Himalayas on the eastern side of Jammu and Kashmir. It is also known as Khapa-chan, which means snow land.
 
 

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