Ladakh will celebrate its annual Buddhist festival, Hemis, on July 8 and 9, 2022. This cultural extravagance is all set to welcome tourists from all across the world to enjoy the fanfare and the rich culture of the Tibetan community in Ladakh. The Hemis Festival marks the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava and the victory of good over evil. Also known as Tse-Chu, the event will be held in one of Ladakh’s famous monasteries, Hemis Gompa. The chilly weather, festive vibes and hills are the bonuses you will receive.
The festival traces its origins back to the 8th century CE. Lord Padmasambhava, also called Guru Rinpoche, protected the people by fighting against demons and dark forces. In this Himalayan kingdom, he introduced tantric Buddhism. Through a mix of Tibetan and Buddhist cultures, a new perspective on life was introduced. Ever since, people started to celebrate his legacy to keep the negativities at bay. Celebrated with great fervour, the festival takes place on the 10th day of the fifth month of the Tibetan community which falls in June or July.
People dress up and gather around the monastery early in the morning and begin the festivity by breaking into a masked dance known as cham – a slow dance that showcases the message that good wins over evil. During this performance, people dress up in traditional clothes with vibrant masks along with extravagant headgears, which ooze cultural significance and meanings. Performed by lamas and monks, they represent Buddhas, dharma guardians and protectors.
You can also scope out Ladakh’s local charms with their exquisite handicrafts. The festival is, of course, incomplete without a sip of Ladakh’s local drink, chang.