Where – Hemis Monastery, LadakhWhy – Throughout the festival the locals get dressed in their bright and colourful traditional attire. And the sacred masked dance is performed along with long horns, musical drums and cymbals. Hemis Festival is a must attend festival and it is joyously enjoyed by everyone
We then head to the Hemis Monastery where tourist from all over the world visit the famous Festival every year.The Hemis Festival is dedicated to Lord Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) venerated as the Dance Performance at Hemis Monastery representative reincarnate of Buddha. He is believed to have been born on the 10th day of the fifth month of the Monkey year as predicted by the Buddha Shakyamuni. It is also believed that his life mission is was, and remains, to improve the spiritual condition of all living beings. Along with the Monastery, the Museum that is located there, also has a story of its own.
On the third day we decided to cover alot of places in and around Leh. So we first visited Hemis Monastery & Museum. It is one of the most popular monasteries & tourist attraction in Ladakh. It is situated apporximately 45 kms from Leh city & is on the bank of River Indus. It is always so peaceful & blissful visiting monasteries. There is Hemis museum right opposite of the monastery which depicts their culture. There is a cafe right besides it where we they serve hot delicious food, we had our lunch there then headed to our next destination.
Hemis: A pleasant drive of an hour took us to the Hemis village. It is close to the Hemis national park – the home of the endangered snow leopard and some other rare flora and fauna of the region.Located at an elevation of 3000 m to 6000 m, it is the second largest protected area (covering more than 4000 square km.) after Nanda Devi Biosphere reserve. The cab took us to the bottom of a small hillock. From there a gentle slope and a few steps led us to the courtyard of one of the ancient and most important monasteries of Ladakh. The barren hills, the leafless trees, shrubs and the blue canopy overhead altogether was creating a mystique backdrop for the Hemis monastery. It is a Gompa of the Drukpa lineage. The monastery existed even before 11th century, however it was further reconstructed in 1672 by the Ladakhi king Sengye Namgyal. Inside there is huge statue of Guru Padmasambhava. In June, the famous Hemis festival is celebrated here to observe the his birthday. We were soaking in the peaceful serenity all around as a Lama came to greet us. There couldn’t have been a better opportunity to get to know the place in detail. He guided us to the altar of Tara Devi and that of the Lord Gautama Buddha which otherwise we would have missed. We followed him through a dark cold old wooden staircase and reached the top of the monastery. He pointed out the two other smaller shrines high on the hill behind the Monastery. It is there the head lama often sojourns for meditation and stay several days without food or drink. It is believed that he receives some order from the Lord to do so and hence doesn’t fear any harm.From the other side of the roof we could have a full 360 degree view of the Hemis village. It’s a small hamlet with hardly 25 households. With the hills of different shades of brown and black and the Stok Kangri range forming the beautiful backdrop it looked like an oil painting. While we were admiring the beauty, the lama accompanying us started lamenting about the absence of greenery and he felt that it would be much nicer any other time of the year with some greener shades around. He insisted that we must come back some other months such as June or July to enjoy the true beauty of Hemis. Also the added attraction in June is the colourful Hemis festival. We tried in vain to make him understand our perspective that we found this barren look of the surroundings more astonishing than the usual green mountains that we are so used to seeing. But we gave up, realizing how enthusiastically he was emphasizing how the greenery of Ladakh makes to look much nicer and he was eagerly waiting for the summer when the festivities start.Living with the benevolence of nature, staying in the most fertile river plain where nature never sheds its greenery and never stops blooming beautiful flowers of so different hues and smells throughout the year, can we ever totally understand the feelings of the elderly Ladakhi for his longing of a few months of abundance of nature? We never miss the greenery.Hence, the different shades of those barren hills, rugged slopes and dry twigs form a heavenly scenery before us. It is truly said that “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder”.
Drive to Hemis Monastery was filled with fun and laughter. At Hemis Monastery, I felt peace and tranquility. I could feel happiness flowing in my body.Later, we clicked some classic Rock on style shots.Day 8- Shanti StupaToday the vibe of Leh was lazy and I loved that. We all got ready, had our breakfast and spent some time in the garden of our home-stay. It felt so cozy and nice.