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Home :: Fairs & Festivals of India :: Hemis festival, Ladakh

Hemis festival, Ladakh

Quick Facts
Chaam Dances - Hemis Monaster Time : June - July
Venue : Courtyard, Hemis monastery
Duration : Two days
Highlights : The celebration of Guru Padmasambhava's victory over evil spirits. Chhams, and traditional mask dances which are performed by the Lama's of the monastery.
Hemis monastery, the biggest, richest and the most important monastery in Ladakh is the venue of the world famous Hemis festival. It is settled a little off the main Leh-Manali road, almost 49 km to south of Leh. It was established on 17th century by the Ladakhi Dharma king and ever since it is enjoying the patronage of the royal family.

The Festival
Hemis festival generally held on the tenth and eleventh day of the fifth Tibetan lunar month. These two days are celebrated as the public holidays by the local government. This festival celebrates Guru Padmasambhava's victorious activities over the evil forces. This heritage festival is a integral part of the native People's life. This summer timed festival attracts foreign tourist in a huge amount due to its grandeur and luster and they also took part in this event dressed in the local traditional dresses. Ladakh government draws big bucks out of the tourism during this festival.
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The first day festival begins at 10 am in the ceremonies in the yard of the monastery. Glorious masked dances and auspicious plays by the lamas which are also known as the “Chhams” are performed around the flag pole. These activities are performed with the accompany of cymbals,drums, and long horns. This masks which are worn by the lamas represent various guardian divinities of Buddhism. Lamas recites various hymns on the various episodes of the Chhams.

A jazzy fair, manifesting some beautiful handicrafts of Ladakhi tradition, is the special highlight of the festival.
The 'devil dances' during this fair is an important factor in the social entertainment of the Ladakhis. The sharp song-and-dance mirth, created by these mask dances, which invariably depict the victory of the right over evil. After it consumption of huge bowls of 'chang', Ladakh's own country liquor also an added attraction to the the tourist. Even reaching there is not an issue now a days by car, Hemis is an easy day trip from Leh . By bus, services are only frequent during the festival.

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