June 07, 2023
CM Content Team
You may have heard of the phrase, ‘paradise on earth,’ right? That slice of paradise is undoubtedly Ladakh. The land of high passes, Ladakh is known for its unique rugged yet stunning terrain, and its cultural heritage. While many people from all over the world come to Ladakh to revel in its tranquillity and explore its snow-capped mountains, very few come to take part and enjoy the celebration of festivals in Ladakh.
The Leh Ladakh festivals are a testimony to India’s cultural diversity. And the locals celebrate various cultural festivals throughout the year. If you want to know more about Ladakh’s culture and traditions, you must witness the festival celebrations in the region.
If you are planning a trip to Ladakh this year, here is a list of the best Ladakh festivals 2023 that you must see and experience on your trip to this cold desert. So, without any further ado, let’s get started.
Festival dates – 28th and 29th June
Location – Hemis Monastery, Ladakh
Main attraction – Cham dance
Hemis festival fills the rugged and deserted land of Ladakh with colourful shades of festivities. It is one of the biggest and most popular cultural festivals of Ladakh that showcases the region’s unique culture, which is heavily influenced by the presence of Tibetans in the region. People from all over the world come to here to witness Ladakh Hemis festival and be part of its celebrations.
The Ladakh Hemis festival commemorates the birthday of Lord Padmasambhava or Guru Rimpoche, and it marks the victory of good over evil. It is a two-day festival, and the celebrations include dance, music, prayers, and masked performances.
During the two-day festival celebrations, the monks at the monastery place two long trumpets, known as dungchen, in the courtyard and blow it every morning. After the assembly prayer in the morning, the celebrations begin with a saintly dance and musical performances.
The monks and the lamas perform a Mask Dance, which the monks call, Cham dance to rejoice the victory of good over evil. The dance is a unique performance, which is a visual treat for the viewers, and you must see this once in your life.
Festival dates – Full moon day of June
Location – Banks of Sindhu River at Shey Manila, Leh
Main attraction – The senior Lamas chanting Buddhist prayers and performances by renowned artists
The Leh festival is celebrated on Guru Purnima (Purnima refers to full moon day) to commemorate the Sindhu River. The locals believe that the river plays a significant role in maintaining harmony and unity amongst the various ethnic groups and communities residing in the region.
During the festival, all the local communities pay their respects to the valour and bravery of Indian soldiers who sacrifice their lives serving the nation and work relentlessly to ensure safety of the citizens.
Another highlight of Sindhu Darshan festival in Leh Ladakh is people carrying water from different parts of the country and pouring it in the Sindhu River. Also, during the festival, various artists from all over India perform different types of folk dance, which forms the main attraction of this festival.
Festival dates – 15th and 16th June
Location – Lamayuru Monastery
Main attraction – The demolition of the statue to mark the liberation of inner demons
If you are wondering which is the best time to visit Ladakh, you can plan your holiday to this paradisiacal land during the Yuru Kabgyat or Hemis Festival. The mystical and alluring beauty of the Lamayuru Monastery, the location for Yuru Kabgyat festival, and the colourful celebrations makes this event one of the top attractions for the tourists coming to Ladakh in June.
Like most other festivals in Ladakh, Yuru Kabgyat too lasts for two days, and it unites the people of Lamayuru at the monastery. As part of the festival celebrations, the lamas and the monks at the monastery imitate the sacred teaching of Tibetan Buddhism through a traditional dance performance and singing traditional songs. During the performance, the monks wear colourful ethnic dress, which makes the performance even more visually appealing.
Festival dates – 28th and 29th July
Location – Tak Tok Gompa, Leh
Main attraction – The mask dance performances of the Lamas
Tak Tok is one of the most important festivals in Leh Ladakh. Popularly known as the festival of the dancing Lamas, it is one of the most beautiful festivals that you must experience in Ladakh. The Tak Tok festival celebrations are majorly held in a cave at the Tak Thok Gompa on the tenth day of the fifth month of the Buddhist calendar.
During this festival, several people from Tibetan communities, and especially lamas and monks gather at the majestic Tak Thok monastery wearing new traditional attires. Families prepare several delicacies and share it with loved ones and organise a feast to get into the spirit of the festive celebrations.
Festival dates – 1st to 15th September
Location – All across Leh Ladakh
Main attraction – Masked dances, polo, archery, musical concerts
The Ladakh Festival is one of the most popular and grandest of them all. It is one of the few festivals that is celebrated all over Leh and Ladakh and by all communities in the region showcasing the cultural integrity and diversity of Ladakh. And people, irrespective of their religion and caste, celebrate it with great zeal and enthusiasm.
If you are planning a holiday to Ladakh, make sure that you witness the Ladakh Festival 2023 celebrations. The celebrations span over two weeks and during this time several cultural programs are held at different parts of the hill town. Also, you can see several sports competitions like archery and polo being held throughout Leh. If you have never seen people playing Polo, Leh is the best place to watch this unique sport.
The festival is organised by the Tourism Department of Leh Ladakh to celebrate the good harvest of the season. Also, during the two weeks of celebrations, several religious processions are held throughout Leh Ladakh, and the processions move from one monastery to another. During the procession, people dance and sing songs to thank Gods for the good harvest.
The joyful celebration and the colourful dance performance alone make it a must-attend Leh Ladakh festival. The festival comes to an end at the Polo ground in Leh.
Festival dates – 13th December
Location – All across Leh Ladakh
Main attraction – Ibex deer dance, and stage fight between good and evil
The festivals in Leh Ladakh list cannot be complete without the Losar Festival featuring in it.
The Losar festival marks the beginning of the New Year, and it is celebrated two months before the actual new year as per the Tibetan calendar. Just as interesting and charming are the festival celebrations, the origin of the festival has a fascinating history and story.
The Losar Festival celebration was started by King Jamyang Namgyal during the 17th century. He celebrated the new year beforehand as he had to prepare for a war against the Baltistan forces who were threatening to take over the region. Since then, the locals have continued the tradition and they celebrate Losar festival as the New Year in a grand manner.
The locals celebrate Losar Festival for over a month, and they perform several rituals every day. This includes cleaning and decorating the house, feeding the animals, putting symbols of ibex on the walls of the kitchen. As per Buddhism principles, ibexes are a lucky charm and they bring luck and prosperity.
As you arrive in Ladakh with great energy and anticipation, you can check-in into The Driftwood Ladakh Resort, one of the most premium resorts in Ladakh offered by Club Mahindra. The highlight of this resort is the quintessential Ladakhi architecture, and it has the perfect ambience to set your mood for a divine holiday experience.
Prepare to be captivated by the spacious and tastefully appointed rooms that seamlessly blend comfort with style. As you step into the resort, be greeted by breath-taking vistas of lush green lawns and majestic mountains in the distance. The tranquility of nature surrounds you, while still enjoying the convenience of modern amenities.
Whether you want to spend a few weeks or a couple of months in Ladakh and witness the various Leh festival celebrations, the resort will be the perfect base for your stay and all your adventures in the region.
While immersing yourself in the vibrant cultural festivals of Ladakh, you can also explore the region's breathtaking and awe-inspiring attractions. The best places to visit in Ladakh are:
Now that you know of the amazing Leh Ladakh festivals, it is time that you start planning a trip to this wonderland. With June just around the corner, and Hemis festival coming up, get your bookings done and get set going! You would surely fall in love with Ladakh the moment you step onto its land, we bet!
Mahindra Holidays & Resorts India Ltd. (MHRIL), a part of Leisure and Hospitality sector of the Mahindra Group, offers quality family holidays primarily through vacation ownership memberships and brings to the industry values such as reliability, trust and customer satisfaction. Started in 1996, the company's flagship brand ‘Club Mahindra’, today has over 250,000 members , who can holiday at 100+ resorts in India and abroad.