Sunday, September 15, 2013

Ladakh Festival-Showcasing Culture and Traditions

Popularly known as ‘Land of High Passes’ owing its name to Tibetan language, Ladakh is a region in the North Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir. Enriched with natural and cultural extravaganza, Ladakh has many things to offer its visitor. Ladakh Festival which is conducted in a span of 15 days starting from the 1st of September and ending in the 15th of same month is on e of the major events in this region.



History:
With an aim to show case the deep culture, traditions and heritage of this region, the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department organizes this annual fiesta with collaboration from the district administration of Leh and local communities. Usually, this festival is conducted in span of 15 days for visitors to know about the rich heritage and cultural traditions of this region but this year it has been scheduled to 8 days with much more improvements than the previous year.

Celebration: The celebration is commenced in the 1st of September with magnificent parade carried out by diverse cultural troupes, local leaders, school children and troupe dancers attired in traditional costumes making their way to Leh and finally finishing the parade at the Polo Ground. Various participants of diverse regions than perform their own type of cultural dances showcasing their traditions. The successing days are observed with craft shells, costume dances, Thankas displays, polo matches, musical concerts, local culinary delights and drinks etc. Among others archery, singing concerts, etc are conducted. The winner of the polo matches are awarded with the prestigious Ladakh Festival Cup. Almost every people relish this particular festival with great enthusiasm and make it a grand success.   

Key Attractions:
• Photographic exhibition at the Leh palace organized by National Museum Institute of History and Art.
• Colloquium on "Museums and Changing Cultural Landscape" at Central Institute of Buddhist Studies (CIBS).
• Meditation/yoga program at the Mahabodi Meditation Centre for devout seekers.
• The invigorating dance performance of the Lamas to the haunting tunes adds extra beauty to this festival. Attired in a traditional costume with a colourful mask, they are chosen from varied monasteries of the region.
• Musical Concert.
• Tibetan foods like Thukpa, Skyu and Tsampa are lined up by the various local food stalls and are exotic in its own type.

Must do Activities: A handsome amount of local handicrafts including shawls, prayer flags, mementos, rugs and silver jewelry are brought out to sell by the local people which are inconceivable and if you get one it will add moments to your visit to Ladakh. Make sure to taste and relish the exotic culinary delights and local drinks at the stalls.  

If you are visiting Ladakh during this festival you will feel the real treasure of India by getting closer to this festival. Basically it is a cultural extravaganza filled with immense warmth and joy. The festival symbolizes the end of the festival as after the end of the festival, the chilly weather closes the high passes due to snow.