When: 23rd – 24th July 2018
Where: Hemis Gompa, Ladakh (Jammu and Kashmir)
Come summer, and the cold desert region of Ladakh awakes from a long and harsh winter. This is the time when tourists from far and wide arrive to trek, to climb mountains, to go river-rafting and to stare, awe-struck, at some of the most beautiful examples of Indo-Tibetan culture. And if you go to Ladakh in the summer, you really shouldn't miss the memorable Hemis Festival, held at the Hemis Gompa, the largest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh. Hemis is home to more than 500 monks and, at the time of the festival, plays host to hundreds of eager devotees, local villagers and tourists. The two-day festival is marked by prayers and the display of an age-old thangka (religious painting) which is just one of the treasures housed at Hemis. All through the festival, traditional dances are performed by masked monks. The dances, which are accompanied by cymbals, drums and trumpets, portray the triumph of good over evil.
During the Hemis festival, hawkers and shopkeepers set up stalls outside the monastery, selling a variety of wares- most of them souvenirs to cater to the crowds of tourists coming to see the festival.