Things to do at the Hemis Festival, Ladakh

The Hemis festival is one of the most significant and popular festivals celebrated in the region of Ladhak. This two-day festival attracts many tourists to Ladhak which falls on the 10th day of the Tibetan lunar calendar. This festival celebrates the birth of the founder of the Tibet Tantric Buddhism, Padmasambhava, who bought Tibetan or Vajrayana Buddhism to Central Asia, China and the Himalayan regions.

The Central courtyard of the Hemis monastery serves as the primary venue and sets the stage. for the Hemis Festival. The Hemis monastery is situated 40kms from Leh, is one of the most beautiful, richest frequently visited gompa of Ladakh. The Hemis festival is directed by the head priest of the monastery with an early morning ceremony wherein thousands of followers of Buddhism and Ladakhi nomads take blessing from Lord Padmasambhava’s portrait. Uncooked rice, incense, cups of holy water and a mixture of butter and dough known as Tomas serve as the primary ceremonial objects and are placed on a central table and musicians play folk music in the background.

The prime attraction of the Hemis festival is it’s the masked dance performance by the Lamas around a central flagpole of the monasteries central compound. Dressed in colourful attire and mask, the Lamas perform a dance which depicts a story of the triumph of good over evil, and the dances end with the destruction of an effigy made up out of dough by the lead dancer. The background musicians make the dance performance even more dramatic.

The Hemis festival attracts many visitors to Ladakh, and this region offers travellers with a wide array of options for activities during the Hemis Festival.

The Hemis festival is held at the Hemis Gompa- the courtyard of the monastery.

Sightseeing Hemish Festival

Local sightseeing

The Ladakh region is home to some of the most magnificent monasteries in India. Travellers can visit the Spituk Monastery which is beautifully located on top of a hill. The Namgyal monastery which is famous for its statues of Buddha and allows volunteers to stay within the monastery and help the monks with their daily chores.

The Hemis Monastery, the most beautiful, magnificent and the host of the Hemis Festival. The Likir monastery, known for its beautiful and colourful wooden carving and the Leh Palace, which once served as the Palace of the Royal family of Ladakh.

Khardungla Pass

Drive to the Khardungla Pass: the highest civilian motor road in the world

This spot is famous for being the highest civilian road in the world, and the journey to the Khardungla pass offers the most beautiful sight of the regions natural landscape and sights of colourful flags installed by the locals to ward off evil spirits.

Magnetic Hill

Witness the gravity-defying Magnetic Hill

This site is famous of an unexplained phenomenon wherein vehicles parked at the base of the hill with their brakes unlocked, start moving uphill at slow speeds on its own without any external intervention.

Pangong Tso Lake

Visit the Pangong Tso Lake

Located at the international borders of India and Bhutan, the lake offers an excellent camping site with a never-ending panoramic view of the beautiful natural landscape of the region. This lake has been made famous after it featured in the Bollywood movie, 3 Idiots and served as the location of the closing scenes of the film. The Lake freezes over during winter and is an excellent spot for ice skating.

Landscape Ladakh

Explore the natural beauty and landscape of Ladakh

Ladhak is home to some of the most beautiful mountain ranges, lakes, deserts and mountain passes which are known for their immense natural beauty, mesmerising landscapes and reaching these spots is an adventure.

Travellers can visit and experience the natural beauty of the Zanskar and Ladakh mountain ranges, the Tso Moriri Lake, Nubra Valley, the Suru Valley, the Zanskar River etc.

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