People from all over the world come to Ladakh to know more about Ladakh's famous culture and adventure, and the Buddhist culture here. The region is quite popular for the fairs and festivals that showcase its history and culture. One of the well-known cultural festivals is Ladakh's Hemis Festival. People specifically travel for this festival, which is a two-day festival, to Ladakh. This two-day festival will denote Buddhist guru Padmasambhava's birth anniversary. Festivities take place in the popular Hemis Gompa, which is situated at a distance of 45 kilometres away from Leh.
The two-day Hemis Festival celebrates victory of good over evil. One can see a number of people dressed in bright and colourful clothes to celebrate the festival. The Tibetan calendar indicates that on lunar month's tenth day, the Lama Head organises this Hemis Festival. In order to protect his people, the Tibetan Buddhism founder, Guru Padmasambhava, fought the evils. On his birth anniversary, all the people celebrate Hemis festival grandly.
Hemis Festival is one of those festivals which one should definitely visit. Tourists have a lot in store during this festival. Tourists can enjoy these festivities as spectators also. During this Hemis festival, a colourful fun-fair is held. These fairs have a number of stalls and shops where one can purchase a variety of souvenirs and handicrafts. The items kept on sale are also displayed as a part of an exhibition, where people can choose from a large variety and also window-shop.
On this particular day, a ritual is followed. People on this festival mask themselves, and sing and dance. The main highlight of the Hemis festival is the unique masked dance performed by Lamas. The dance performance depicted this festival's central theme of victory of good over evil. The Lamas gather around the central flagpole. This flagpole is located in the monastery's courtyard, where the singing and dance performances along with plays take place. One of Ladakh's oldest carnivals is the Hemis festival. This festival is organised in the monastery, which is 300-year-old and also is Ladakh's richest monastery.
All the activities during the Hemis Festival take place at the Hemis Gompa, which is the centre. This Hemis Gompa is Ladakh's largest and most affluent Buddhist monastery. This festival brings in a lot of colours in the city as the masks and costumes have vibrant and bright colours. The masks are brilliantly coloured. The costumes of the dance performers are also very eccentric and luxuriant. This colourful atmosphere brings an all new charm to the festiva
With the brightly painted masks, which is one of the most integral part of the dance, the festival also has a lot of heavy and loud music accompanied with a lot of celebration. One can here the sound of various musical instruments like the drums, long horns and cymbals along with the dance performances. Country liquor is considered as this festival's another major attraction and it is served on the celebration day.