Ladakh, renowned as India's cold desert is an enchanting place dotted with snow-clad Himalayas, verdant valleys, high passes, peaceful monks and beautiful monasteries. The fairs and festivals of Ladakh have played a key role to showcase the true Buddhist culture, traditions of this sacred and enchanting land. Hemis Festival is one such prominent festival that attracts people from all parts of the world.
The two day Hemis Festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm and pomp all over the Ladakh region. The festival is organized in Hemis Gompa, which is one of the largest and richest Buddhist monasteries in the world. The Buddhist festival is held by the Lama Head to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, the Tibetan Buddhism founder.
The Hemis Monastery is situated about 40 Km away from Leh. It is a UNESCO world heritage site that is owned by Drukpa Lineage. The monastery is enveloped by the majestic mountains that captivate the attention of the travelers visiting the monastery. The monastery was primarily founded by first incarnation of Stagsang Raspa Nawang Gyatso in the year 1630. Offering prayers to the copper-gilt statue of the Lord Buddha provides inner peace and knocks out all the stress and worries. There are several stupas made up of gold and silver and holy thankas inside the monastery.
Hemis Festival is one of those festivals that reflect the history, tradition and Buddhist culture. On this day, a ritual is followed by the people of Ladakh. They wear colorful masks, dance and celebrate the festival with great fervor. One of the prime attractions of the festival is the mask dance performed by the Lamas of the Hemis Monastery.
The dance illustrates the victory of good over the evil. The Lamas dress themselves in dazzlingly patterned brocades and perform the dance around the central flagpole, which is situated in the courtyard of the monastery.
The vivid masks are the most prominent elements of the festival. The Lamas dance to the music of drums, long horns, trumpets and cymbals. The dance movements are typically slow and every mask worn by the Lamas represent certain deities. Some of the dance forms depict the popular Tibetan fables. The sacred environment during the festival fills the people with joy and adds a new charm to the festival.
Be a part of this spectacular cultural fiesta, pay homage to the almighty, enjoy an enthralling adventure safari ride on yaks while you are on a vacation and attain good health and spiritual strength.
The nearest airport to reach Hemis is Leh that is about 32 km away. Upon arriving at the airport, taxis are readily available to reach Hemis monastery.
Jammu is the nearest railhead to reach Hemis. The visitors have the option of hiring a bus or taxi to reach Manali through Shimla. From Manali, frequent taxi and bus services are available to reach Leh. Upon reaching Leh, one can opt for bus or taxi for Hemis.
There are two routes available for the visitors to reach Hemis via Leh, one is from Srinagar-Leh (434) highway and another is Manali-Leh (473) highway.