Hemis Festival

Founded in the 1630s by Stags-Tsang-Ras-Pa under the royal patronage of the great ruler of Ladakh, Sengge Namgyal, Hemis is the largest and richest Monastery in Ladakh. It nestles into the mountainside a little way up a winding glen in the mountains of the Zanskar range, about forty kilometers up the great river Indus from Leh.

Its two days festival has given Hemis a particular reputation with visitors from around the world. The Hemis festival, which is dedicated Guru Padma Sambhava, enthrall visitors with a series of scenes in which the Lamas, robed in gowns of rich, brightly colored brocade and sporting masks sometimes benign and sometimes bizarrely hideous, parade in solemn ‘Cham’ dance and mime round the huge flag pole in the centre of the courtyard, in a plaintive melody interspersed with the moan of the eleven-foot horns, the boom of drums and the clash of cymbals. The solemnity is varied by comic interludes in which dancers in the guise of skeletons bound into the arena, performing grotesquely agile gymnastics.

The Hemis Festival is held on the 10th day of the 5th Month of Tibetan Calendar to commemorate the birth of Guru Padma Sambhava, the founder of Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism and the great master of Tantra.

2004 is the Year of the Monkey as per the Tibetan calendar and the festival takes a special dimension, coming in a cycle of twelve years. The highlight of the festival is the unveiling of the monastery’s greatest treasure, an immense Thangka of Padmasambhava. This immense Thangka is embroidered and not painted. It is adorned, it is said, with pearls and is ritually exhibited. The next unveiling is in June 27th and 28th June 2004.

It is also the period, when the head of Drukpakargyu sect and present Head Lama of the Hemis Monastery, His Holiness Drukchan Rimpoche adorns the twelve ornaments of the great saint, Naropa.

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14 Comments

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    Jan 19, 2012

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    Jan 21, 2012

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    • admin
      Jan 22, 2012

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        May 24, 2012

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