If you are travelling to Ladakh, then you must consider visiting Ladakh’s Hemis, to get a memorable experience for your life. Hemis is the place which holds Ladakh’s largest colorful festival. It is a monastery. In fact, the festival of Hemis showcases to the public with the dance of the Chasms. This festival is more than two hundred and fifty years. The festival of Hemis was initiated in the year 1620 by the erstwhile King Sengge Namgyal. He was assisted by Drukpa saint Stantsang Raspa. The festival that is held at the time of summer is known as Tsechu and it was initiated in the year 1730 during the reign of Gyalsras Rinpoche. This festival is celebrated by remembering Guru Padmasambhava, who is considered as one of the most important saints of Tibet’s Buddhism.
Photo by Roving-Aye!
The year 2016 was special due to the fact that it was the Monkey Year which comes after each of the twelve years. The celebrations were carried out in a much bigger expanse. The people drew a three storied gigantic silk based thangka, that was created in the year 1750, for Padmasambhava. The entire night of the festival was colorful, lit up and full of activities. The dance of the tribes was dedicated to all the holy saints of Buddhism of the Himalayas, especially to the eight avatars of Padmasambhava. The performances of the festival began at the time of 10 am, so that the spectators could arrive before it.
The audience hailed from the distant villages of Ladakh, and other towns of the Himalayan foothills. The audience also had the time to visit the cave of saint of Kotsang, which is situated behind the monastery, deep with the mountains. The cave is said to be the hub of the Buddhist saints who spent around nine years for the drill of austericity or the sadhanas. Each and every year, the Ladkh commoners go to this nplace for short treks and offer their homages at the cave’s shrine. The people are said to be blessed by the monks who are residing on it.
The permoance of the festival started with a dance of the black hat, which are performed by the monks who belong to the regalia of the tantric. The performance was based on the very performance that was given by Padmasambhava who did it to sudue the devils and the evil spirits who tried to spread their influence on the holy land of Ladakh. At that time, the first monastery of Tibet was created at the place called Samyas. After the performathe next dance was performed by the sacred group Dakinithat was presided by the sacred Goddess Vajrayogioni. The very final of the dance was honored to the Padmasambhava. The total eight dance performances of the festival hinted at the eight pformation of Padmasambhava’s Spiritual career. At the fibnal dance, the center flag was placed and then each and every monk wigth the audience [present there paid homage to the Padmasambhava’s existence on Earth.
Photo by Kalpurush
This festival, neddless to say, hold an important significance with the Ladakhis which, every year ends with a solo dance performance. The silk thangka, after the end of the festival wa rolled up and then everybody scattered for lunch. The rest of the dances were later on featured later for the rest of the day. The dances for the other half of the day was dedicated to the existence of Lord Buddha and it divinity is bestowing truth with dignity and honor. The dances also portray how Buddha, with his correct manifestation of Dharma, protected it from evil,
Things to watch out for in this festival
- Musicians and the dancers of the festivals
- The Hemis Monastery at the hills
- The three hundred and fifty years old silk made thangka of Guru Padmasambhava
- The monks and the novices of the Drukpas
- The localites of the nearby villages witnessing the festival
- The precious jewelry and the stone crafts of the Ladakh village that is dedicated to the existence of Padmasambhava.
- The mountain trail of Kotsang caves
- The Kotsang cave behind the Hemis Monastery
- Inside or the shrine of the Kotsang cave
- Masked performances of the people
Featured Photo by aloshbennett