Ladakh’s beautiful lakes, sky-touching mountains and attractive monasteries located amidst the Himalayan passes attract everyone. The unique Tibetan culture, tradition, and lifestyle of the Ladakhi people can be experienced during festivals in Ladakh. Various festivals are celebrated throughout the year in different regions of Ladakh. Ladakh’s natural beauty and many festivals are quite popular among tourists. There are several festivals celebrated in Leh Ladakh. Some of the main festivals include:
- Losar: Losar is the Tibetan New Year and is celebrated in late January or early February. Losar is another festival celebrated as the Tibetan or Ladakhi New Year which is based on the lunar calendar. The festival of Losar in Ladakh is celebrated for two weeks in the months of December and January. During the Losar festival, visitors enjoy traditional music and dance. They are mesmerized by the experience they have during the festival. On this occasion, an attempt is made to end all the evils and animosity of the old year and an attempt is made to start a completely new life in the new year. The date and place of this festival keep changing every year.
- Hemis Festival: Hemis is one of the most popular and biggest festivals in Ladakh. The main attraction of the Hemis festival is the mask dance. In the month of June, the campus of Buddhvihar Hemis becomes colorful with the Hemis Festival. The festival is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava and is celebrated as his birthday. Both the locals and the tourists enjoy the celebration together. Masked dancers with long horns dance to the accompaniment of a special type of drum, making it a sight to behold. On this occasion, a fair full of handicrafts is a major center of attraction for visitors.
- Thiksey Festival: The Thiksey Festival is celebrated in November and involves the performance of traditional dances and the offering of prayers at the Thiksey Monastery.
- Ladakh Festival: The Ladakh Festival is a week-long event held in September to showcase the culture and traditions of Ladakh. It involves traditional music and dance performances, sports events, and cultural activities. Ladakh Festival provides an opportunity to showcase their culture, heritage, lifestyle, and different castes across Ladakh. It attracts tourists from all over the world. The annual Ladakh Festival is organized in Leh city of Jammu and Kashmir, amidst the amazing natural shade of the high peaks of the Himalayas, spreading the rainbow colors of the folk culture of Ladakh. During this 15-day festival, a unique glimpse of the centuries-old culture, civilization, traditions, and tribal lifestyle of the Ladakh region is seen.
- Stok Guru Tsechu: The Stok Guru Tsechu is a festival held in October at the Stok Monastery to honor Guru Padmasambhava. It involves the performance of traditional dances and the display of a giant thangka.
- Sindhu Darshan festival: Sindhu Darshan Festival is an annual event held in Ladakh, India to celebrate the cultural and spiritual significance of the Indus River. It is organized by the Sindhu Darshan Yatra Samiti, an organization based in Leh, Ladakh. The festival usually takes place in June and involves the display of cultural programs, such as music and dance performances, as well as religious ceremonies and the offering of prayers. The festival also includes the lighting of a sacred fire and the release of prayer flags into the air. The main purpose of the Sindhu Darshan Festival is to promote cultural and religious harmony and to encourage people to protect and preserve the natural beauty of the Indus River.
- Saka Dawa Festival: Saka Dawa Festival is an annual event celebrated by Buddhists around the world to honor the life and teachings of the Buddha. It is held on the full moon day of the fourth lunar month, which falls in June or July depending on the lunar calendar. During the Saka Dawa Festival, Buddhists engage in various religious activities, such as making offerings at temples, chanting sutras, and engaging in acts of charity. They may also observe fasts or other forms of physical discipline as a way of cultivating spiritual awareness. The main purpose of the Saka Dawa Festival is to honor the Buddha and to encourage Buddhists to follow the path of enlightenment.