FESTIVALS AND MORE

Boasting a spectacular landscape, a rare population of flora and fauna and an amazingly unique and colourful culture, Ladakh is one of most sought-after destinations on the tourism map. From monasteries and oriental-style palaces to traditional arts and crafts, festivals and adventure sports, Ladakh offers a cultural potpourri for visitors from all walks of life.



Monastery Festivals
Unique to Ladakh are its monastery festivals, characterized by spectacular mask dances and ceremonial costumes. Each monastery has its own festival and it's worthwhile to check the exact dates (which change slightly year-to-year) and plan your trip so that you can attend one. Please note that these festivals are immensely popular and are usually crowded with locals and visitors
in summer:

Spituk Gustor (Jan): Takes place in the Gelugpa sect's Spituk monastery on the outskirts of Leh, which houses over 100 monks.

Matho Nagrang (Feb/Mar): Famous for the oracular powers of Matho's monks, two of whom are possessed each year by Gods known as Rongtsan.
(30 kms SE of Leh)

Stok Guru Tsechu (Feb/Mar): Held annually at Stok Monastery, 17 km south of Leh.

Yuru Kabgyat (May/Jun): Held at Lamayuru Monastery, 127 west of Leh.

Hemis Tsechu (Jun/Jul): The largest & most famous of all Ladakh's monastery festivals.
(43 kms SE of Leh)

Karsha Gustor (Jul): Takes place in remote Zanskar valley's largest monastery, at Karsha,
470 kms from Leh via Kargil and Padum.

Pheyang Tsedup (Jul/Aug): The annual festival at Pheyang monastery, which was founded by Ladakh's 16th-century ruler, Tashi Namgyal.
(17 kms west of Leh)

Korzok Gustor (Jul/Aug): Held at Korzok monastery, located on the western shores of Tso Moriri Lake, 208 kms SE of Leh.

Tak Thok Tsechu (Jul/Aug): Held at Tak Thok (meaning rock roof) monastery that was built on the site of a meditation cave, 46 kms from Leh.

Thikse Gustor (Oct/Nov): Splendidly situated atop a hill 19 kms from Leh, Thikse monastery is a dramatic setting for its festival.

Chemrey Angchook (Nov): Held at Chemrey monastery, 40 kms east of Leh.

 

Other Festivals

Ladakh Festival (1–15 Sep): Leh's annual extravaganza showcases masked dances, polo matches, archery contests and handicrafts.

Losar (Dec): The Ladakhi New Year is celebrated joyously all over Ladakh. Its Tibetan counterpart is usually in February.

 

Adventure Sports and Outdoor Activities
With such diversity of landscape, Ladakh & Zanskar offer a range of adventure activities such as trekking, mountaineering, mountain biking and river rafting (on the Indus & Zanskar rivers). Jeep safaris to the lakes of Tso Kar, Tso Moriri and Pangong Tso are popular as is the jeep safari to Nubra Valley along the old caravan trade route to Central Asia. Once you get to Nubra, try a camel safari on a Bactrian camel.

 

Other Attractions
Leh is dotted with historical edifices such as the Leh Palace, a 17th-century structure that looms over the main bazaar, the hilltop Shanti Stupa sponsored by Japanese Buddhists in the 1980s and the fort-monastery complex of Namgyal Tsemo on a hill above town. Leh's bustling markets –the Main Bazaar and Old Town – are delightful with their colourful traditional wares. Further away are the palaces at Stok and Shey and the World Heritage Site Alchi Monastery, famous for its frescoes.

Did You Know?

Ladakh is only place in India where you can enjoy a camel safari on a camel that has two humps! Camel safaris are offered on Bactrian camels across the sand dunes around Hunder in Ladakh.

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