Thiksey Gustor Festival

  • imageLeh
  • Ladakh

About Thiksey Gustor Festival of Ladakh

The Thiksey Gustor Festival is celebrated in Thiksey Monastery, a famous tourist attraction in Ladakh belonging to the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is the largest monastery in central Ladakh whose main attraction is the 15 meters tall statue of Maitreya Buddha, the largest statue in Ladakh.

The meaning of the word Gustor in the Tibetan language is sacrifice. The festival, which is celebrated over a course of two days, is marked by different kinds of rituals, ceremonies, folk music & traditional dances.

Thiksey Gustor Festival of Ladakh commences with the recitation of a special morning prayer, during which, the monks recite the Buddhist sutras in a synchronised way. It has a trance like effect on the listeners. That is followed by other elaborate ceremonies.

A mixture is prepared by the elders of the community to attract the guardians residing in the four quarters of the world (north, south, east and west). It is believed that by doing so, the gods are pleased and attend the masked dances which are performed.

The famous masked dances, called Chhams, are performed by the traditional Black Hat Dancers. Dancers are clad in beautifully decorated costumes and masks, which are supposed to represent the gods, goddesses, guardians & protectors.

The masked dances which are performed are supposed to be an enactment of the mythological tale of King Lang Darma of Tibet, who was infamous for betraying his people and was eventually slain by a monk.

The rituals which are performed are supposed to transfer all the negativity & dark spirits to the curiously made effigies, which are finally burnt. Doing so symbolises the victory of good over evil.

Festival Dates/Months :

Thiksey Gustor is celebrated between the months of October to November over a period of two days.

Special Highlights of the Festival :

The masked dances called Chhams, as in other festivals in Ladakh, is a crowd favourite. The main attraction, however, is a sacrificial ceremony which is performed at the end of the masked dances. This is called Argham or killing, in which the Black Hat Dancers cut the Torma, or sacrificial cake and distribute it among the people.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q.When is the Thiksey Gustor Festival held?

The Thiksey Gustor Festival is held between the months of October and February over a period of two days.

Q. How to reach Thiksey Monastery?

Hire a car or any other private vehicle to reach Thiksey Monastery, which is located almost 19 kilometers from Leh.

Q. Do I have to pay any fee to attend the Thiksey Gustor Festival?

No, anybody can attend the Thiksey Gustor Festival without paying any fee.

Popular Travel Destinations in Ladakh