Festivals of Ladakh
There are many colourful festivals celebrated in Ladakh. Most of the festivals are held in the courtyard of monasteries where monks perform the sacred mask dances (Chams). The festivals are an important part of Ladakh's cultural life.
Celebrated with great fervour every year, Dosmochey is one of the most popular festivals of Ladakh. It is simultaneously celebrated in Leh, Diskit and Likir monasteries during the month of February. In Leh, the festival is held in the courtyard below the Leh Palace where Lamas adorned with masks from various monasteries perform sacred dances (Chams).
Location: courtyard below Leh Palace
Dates: 21 - 22 February 2020
Stok Guru Tsechu Festival
Along with Matho Nagrang festival, the Stok Guru Tsechu is the festival of oracles. But unlike the one in Matho, the oracles of Stok are laypersons who are prepared by the monks so that they can invoke the spirit of deities and predict the future of the village.
Location: Stok monastery
Dates: 03 - 04 March 2020
Matho Nagrang Festival
This festival taking place in the Matho gompa is well-known for oracles. The two monks chosen to be oracles need to meditate for months for the preparation so that they can be ready for the festival and tell the future of the people.
Location: Matho monastery
Dates: 08 - 09 March 2020
Saka Dawa, Buddha Purnima or Vesak Day
This festival marks the birth of Lord Buddha, his enlightenment and death. This festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and fervour by people of Ladakh. Cultural programs and speech on life of Lord Buddha are organized at Leh polo ground.
Location: all over Ladakh
Dates: 05 June 2020
Sindhu Darshan Festival
This festival is celebrated to mark the importance of the river Sindhu (Indus). The river is considered as the birthplace of Indian civilization, the symbol of India’s unity. People from different parts of the country converge to Ladakh and showcase cultural programs during the festival. Tributes are also paid to soldiers who gave their lives in the line of duty.
Location: near Shey village
Dates: 12 - 14 June 2020
Hemis Tsechu Festival
This festival is held to celebrate the birthday of Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. Sacred mask dances are performed by the resident monks of the monastery in the courtyard. The monastery is home to the world’s largest thangka or Tibetan scroll painting. This two-storey high thangka is unveiled once every 12 years. The thangka was displayed in the year 2016 and it will be shown again in 2028.
Location: Hemis monastery
Dates: 30 June - 01 July 2020
Phyang Tsedup Festival
During the festival, sacred mask dances are performed by monks. A huge thangka of Skyoba Jigten Gombo, the founder of the Drikungpa order, is displayed.
Location: Phyang monastery
Dates: 18 - 19 July 2020
This festival is organised by the Tourism Department. Various cultural programs are held such as folk dances, traditional music, archery competitions and polo matches. Mask dances are one of the highlights of the festival. This festival is a perfect opportunity for the tourists to discover the culture and lifestyle of the Ladakhi people.
Dates: 01 - 04 September 2020 (to be confirmed)
The Losar festival marks the start of the New Year in Ladakh, it is one of the most important socio-religious events. It lasts about two weeks but the first three days are the most important ones. During this time, Ladakhi people go to the monasteries to make offerings and they visit their relatives and friends.
Location: all over Ladakh
Dates: 15 December 2020