Tuesday June 26, 2018

Hemis Festival: Reasons why you should be at Ladakh’s most popular festival

The Hemis monastery opens its doors after the end of winter. The date is according to the Lunar calendar and changes every year

Hemis monastery. Source: Wikimedia common

Sept 20, 2016: All your questions answered about the Hemis Festival of Ladakh. Here is what it is all about and why you should not miss a chance to be at Ladakh’s largest and the most popular festival. The annual two day Hemis Festival at the Hemis Monastery has become a great tourist attraction.


Ladakh faces harsh months of winter from November to March.  As they prepare for their bright days ahead, the world gears up to be a the Hemis with them. The Hemis Jangchub Choling monastery start preparing for celebrating the birth of Lord Padmasambhava, their local savious. The festival is a colourful extravaganza comprising of dance, music and mmasked performances. The otherwise serene , untouched landscape transforms into a vibrant and chaotic environment during this time of the year.


According to the Tibetan legends, this festival originated in the 8th Cebtury. Lord Padmasambhava, known as Guru Rimpoche to the locals is belived to be the savior who banished the demons and spirits.He is said to have introduces Tantric Buddhism to the Ladhakis. He combined the teachings of Buddhism and Tibetan culture to establish a new way of life.


The festival highlight includes dance performances by masked Lamas. The theme of these performances is the victory of good over evil. These performers are dressed in vibrant costumes and bright colored masks. The masks signify different Gods, animals and other characters to depict stories. The dance style includes slow graceful movements with fancy expressions. They also use musicals instruments like the drums, trumpets and cymbals to accompany the dance performance. The main performance depicts the victory over the Ruta demons.

Every 12th year is the Monkey year according to the Tibetan calendar. This festival becomes twofold and the unfurling of the largest Thangkhaof 12 meters from the second floor of the monastery Happened in 2016 after 12 years.The scripture is delicately preserved and is worth seeing.


The Hemis monastery opens its doors after the end of winter. The date is according to the Lunar calendarand hence changes every year. This year it was celebrated on the 15th and 16th of July.


Hemis monastery. Source: Wikimedia common
Hemis monastery. Source: Wikimedia common

The Hemis monastery lies in a gorge, 45 kms from Leh in Jammu and Kashmir.This quaint setting amidst the greenery is a sight you would not want to miss. The Gompa in Ladakh which houses almost 500 monks is accessible. A perfect place for backpackers, travellers and adventure junkies.

– by Rasika Iyer of NewsGram. Twitter: @Rasikaiyer93


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  • Antara

    Ladakh is itself so lovely. Now such a bright festival on top of that would surely attract people from far off lands.

  • Ayushi Gaur

    This is enriching

  • Yokeshwari Manivel

    this is so awesome ,people must visit to this place at the time of festival ..to much enchanting and culture

  • Manthra koliyer

    Ladakh is already a very good place and the Hemis Festival adds up to the purpose of this place.

  • Antara

    Ladakh is itself so lovely. Now such a bright festival on top of that would surely attract people from far off lands.

  • Ayushi Gaur

    This is enriching

  • Yokeshwari Manivel

    this is so awesome ,people must visit to this place at the time of festival ..to much enchanting and culture

  • Manthra koliyer

    Ladakh is already a very good place and the Hemis Festival adds up to the purpose of this place.

Next Story

This Summer Visit 5 Most Incredible Places In Leh With Your Family And Friends

Check out a Leh Ladakh package for couple

5 Incredible Must Visited Places In Leh
5 Incredible Must Visited Places In Leh, Flickr

Leh is a Himalayan village that expands over 45100 sq.kms. in the Jammu & Kashmir state of India. The expanse of the village is covered by three parallel mountain ranges, namely the Zanskar, Karakoram and the Ladakh ranges. Between these ranges flow three prominent rivers – Indus, Shyok and Zanskar. The valleys of these rivers are where the communities of Leh live in. Once a capital that housed the Royal family of Ladakh, Leh is now one of the prominent tourist attractions in India. It lies around 3500 metres above sea level, with a climate that is often paralleled to that of a cold desert. Being mountainous with the snow covered stretches, it is the most beautiful summer vacation spot in the North of India. If planning a vacation with your partner, you can check out a Leh Ladakh package for couple and enjoy a great trip without any hassle.

The Old Town of Leh was added to the World Monuments Fund’s list of the 100 most endangered sites due to climate change. The roads to Leh get blocked multiple times every year by snowfalls.

Snow-capped peaks and flowery valleys are the natural beauty of Leh, while colourful flags around the place lure in the most adventurous of travellers from all around the world. A trip to Leh is truly a getaway from the hustle and bustle of cities and into the wild isolation and peace that these mountain tops offer. It is perfect for those who are on a soul-searching journey or simply looking for a break from everyday life. Here are five destinations in Leh which you shouldn’t miss out when you are vacationing there. They account for the whole unique experience of Leh and Ladakh.

Khardung-la pass
Khardung-la pass, Flickr


  • Khardung-la Pass


Leh is snow covered during most parts of the year. It lies in the shadows of the great Himalayas. The Khardung La pass in Leh is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. It offers mesmerising views of the whole Leh Valley from a height of around 5359 metres above sea level. Surrounded by mountains, the road was opened in 1988 and is maintained by the Indian Army. The Kahrdung La pass is a gateway to two of the magnificent valleys in Leh – the Nubra Valley and the Shyok Valley. It is also a gateway to the famous Siachen glacier, one of the coldest places on Earth where entry is restricted to people due to its strategic prominence. It attracts tourists for the dangerous and exciting drive the pass offers. The most adrenaline driven of the riders go all the way up to the pass on motorcycles. The pass is mostly covered in snow, and it is not easy to be traversed at every time of the year.

Bike rider at Pangong lake
Bike rider at Pangong lake, pixabay


  • Pangong Lake

Pangong-Tso is the Tibetan name for the high grassland lake. Situated at an altitude of 4350 metres, it is 134 km long lake that extends to over both Indian and Tibetan Chinese lands. During winters it freezes completely, despite being saline in nature. Thus, the best time to visit the lake is during the summer when the waters are cool but flowing. It is home and breeding ground to a number of migratory birds such as the Bar-headed goose and the Black-necked cranes, seagulls and Brahmini ducks.

Pangong is an endorheic lake. It means that the lake does not flow out into rivers or oceans. Rather it forms a vast closed in water body which spreads over around 600 sq.kms. The lake is situated at a five-hour distance from the town of Leh. The journey itself can be a mesmerising experience for the travellers. You drive over the Chang La pass to get the first view of the shining waters that seem to stretch out limitlessly before you. It is a paradise for photography lovers. One of the most alluring things about the Pangong Lake is that it keeps changing colours. Adventure lovers also have the option to camp overnight along the shores of the lake.

Magnetic hills
Magnetic hills, flickr


  • Magnetic Hill


The Magnetic Hill or the Gravity Hill is located at a distance of 30 km distance from Leh.  It is a stretch of road in the Leh-Kargil Highway which is known to have magnetic properties that can pull cars uphill. However, in reality, the effect is an optical illusion. Stationary vehicles get pulled up in this part of the Highway. Warning boards placed along the road tell you what to do once you get closer to the road. The vehicle should be put in a neutral gear as you stop by the hill and then on you can move only at a speed of 20km per hour.

The hill lies at an altitude of 14,000 feet from the sea level in the Trans-Himalayan region. The river Sindhu flows along the Eastern side of the Magnetic Hills. The view thus provided by nature is nothing short of spell-binding.

Nubra Valley
Nubra Valley, flickr


  • Nubra Valley


The Nubra Valley in Leh is formed at the meeting point of the Shyok and the Siachen river. It separates Ladakh and the Karakoram ranges and lies at an altitude of 10,000 ft above sea level. The valley can be accessed through the Khardung La pass. The region is highly protected and requires special permits to be visited, for both Indian and Foreign nationals. The town of Diskit in Nubra Valley has 32 metres high Maitreya Buddha statue. The Diskit Buddhist monastery was built in AD 1420. The remote village of Hundar in Nubra Valley is the geographical border of India. It is restricted to tourists since 2010. Hundar is known for the dunes amidst the Himalayan ranges, where camels are seen to graze. The extremes of nature thus meet in the Nubra Valley.

Kargil, flickr


  • Kargil


A historically significant place, Kargil is a land with great stories to tell, prominent of which is the Kargil war of 1999. It also happens to be the second largest town in Leh. The Central Asian Museum of Leh is located in the Kargil Valley. It offers a closer look at the history of the land, both ancient and modern. From the Museum, you can also enjoy the scenic beauty of the deep river valley of Kargil.

Also read: Manali-Leh reopens for motorists

Now that you are done reading, take your loved one on a journey to this magical land. Get a Leh Ladakh package for couple today and start packing! (IANS)