The Hemis Festival is one of the most important Tibetan Buddhist Gompa
festivals in Ladakh and is celebrated with lots of pomp and gaiety. The
festival's venue is the Hemis Gompa located at a distance of 45 kilometres
from Leh, the capital of Ladakh. This famous two -day monastic festival is
held in the month of June to commemorate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava,
the founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet.
A Colourful Fair
This two-day colourful festival takes place from 9th to 11th. The sacred
dance drama of the life and mission is performed wearing facial masks and
colourful brocades robes. The sacred mask dances by the lamas and the monks
depict the destroying of evil forces and the celebration of good over evil.
The local people on this day get themselves dressed in colourful traditional
attire. It also acquires the largest Thangkha (richly embroidered with
pearls and semi-precious stones) in Ladakh, which is displayed, once in 12
years. Lamas offer contradictory explanations as to the meanings of these
dance performances. Special musical instruments that is the three-meter long
brass trumpets are played during these dance performances.
The ceremonies begin with an early morning ritual atop the Gompa where, to
the beat of drums and the resounding clash of cymbals and the spiritual wail
of pipes, the portrait of "Dadmokarpo" or "Rygyalsras
Rimpoche" is then ceremoniously put on display for all to admire and
The most esoteric of festivities are the mystic mask dances. The Mask
Dances of Ladakh are referred collectively as chams Performance. Chams
performance is essentially a part of Tantric tradition, performed only in
those gompas which follow the Tantric vajrayana teachings and the monks
perform tantric worship.
This festival has a special cultural significance, as this is one time of
the year when almost all the families from the nearby villages visit the
monastery for this festival. This festival serves as a forum for rural
families to socialize. Men wear colourful cummerbunds and women wear bright
headdresses and lots of jewellery.
- Leh, Ladakh
- Government Of Ladakh
Best Season To Visit
- June to August
- car, taxis and jeeps
In terms of air transport Leh is well connected with the other important
places in India. Regular flights link Leh with Delhi, Jammu and Srinagar.
For road transport to Leh there are land routes connecting Leh with
Srinagar and Manali. The Leh-Srinagar road is usually open from June to
October, while the Leh-Manali route is open from July to September.