Ladakh Festival


Among the many social and cultural events o f Ladakh, the annual festivals held in the Buddhist monasteries constitute the most important part of the region’s living heritage. These festivals are held to commemorate the founding of a particular monastery or the birth anniversary of its parton saint, or major events in the history and evolution of Tibetan Buddhism. Thousands of people trun out to attend these festivals in their traditional best, making every event a carnival of colours. For the local people, participation in these festivals serves the dual purpose of attaining religious merit and social entertainment, while for the visitors they afford an opportunity to experience the richness of the religious and cultural heritage of Ladakh.


Name of the festival





Spituk Gustor

Spituk Monastery

January 14-15

January 3-4

January 22-23

Leh & Likir Dosmochey

Leh & Likir

February 13-14



Yargon Tungshak

Nubra (Yarma)



February 27-28

Stok Guru Tsechu


February 24-25

February 15-17

March 3-4

Matho Nagrang


March 1-2

February 18-19

March 8-9

Saka Dawa


29 May

17 June

5 June

Yuru Kabgyat

Lamayuru Monastery

June 12-13

July 29-30

June 18-19

Hemis Tsechu

Hemis Monastery

July 23-24

July 11-12

June 30-July 1

Sachukul Gustor

Sachukul Monastery

June 30-July 1

July 19-20

July 7-8

Ladakh Polo Festival

Shagran, Chushot Gongma

July 11-17

July 11-17

July 11-17

Stongday Gustor

Stongdey Monastery

July 1-2

July 20-21

July 8-9

Karsha Gustor

Karsha Monastery

July 11-12

July 30-31

July 18-19

Phyang Tsesdup

Phyang Monastery

July 11-12

July 30-31

July 18-19

Korzok Gustor

Korzok Monastery

July 15-16

August 3-4

July 23-24

Dakthok Tseschu

Dakthok Monastery

July 22-23

August 10-11


Sani Nasjal

Sani Palace

July 26-27

August 14-15

August 2-3

Deskit Gustor

Diskit Monastery

October 7-8

October 26-27

October 14-15

Thiksay Gustor

Thiksey Monastery

October 27-28

November 15-16

November 3-4

Chemday Wangchok

Chemrey Monastery

November 5-6

November 24-25

November 13-14

Galden Namchot


November 5-6

November 24-25

November 13-14

Ladakhi Losar


December 8

December 27

December 15



In the Hemis monastery, this event is celebrated as a 2-day festival popularly known as Hemis Tse-chu for which Ladakh is famous all over the world. The event features a series a\of mask dances, performed bhy the lamas, which culminate in the destruction of the sacrificial offerings (storma) on the last day. The masks and costumes worn by the dancers primarily represent various guardian divinities of the Drug-pa order, of which Hemis is the leading establishment in Ladakh. The Hemis Festiva takes an auspicious turn every 12 year when in the Tibetan year of the Monkey (the year of the birth of padmasambhava), the two storey high Thangka (painted scroll) of Padmasambhava is displayed.



The Tsechu festival is also held in the only Nyingma-pa monastery of Tak-tok. Tak-tok means ‘rock-roof’ as it is built around a cave, which is, like so many other cave foundations of Ladakh, associated with padmasambhava. Tak-tok monastery is situated in the village of Sakti, about 46kms east of Leh, on the way to pangong. Tak-Tok Tse-chu is held on the 28the and 29th day of the 9th Tibetan month, which falls in July- August. Mystic dance are performed by the Lamas in the guise of various divinities and legendary characters.



Essentially of festival for the oracles, this event is held in the village of ‘Stok’ , the present seat of Ladakh’s royal family, which is situatd across the Indus in the foothills of the Stok Kangri massif, about 20kms south of Leh. The festival is now held in the small monastery of Gurphug, which is a branch of Spituk monastery. It held on the 9th and 10th day of the first Tibetan month (feb_march) during which monks fof Spituk monasatery perform sacared dances. Two oracles make public appearance during thes days. These oracles, unlike those of Matho monastery, the laymen, who are initated and terained by the lamas of Spituk monastery to receive the spirits. People of the region repose great faith in the prediction s made by these oracles.



Matho monastery is the only establishment in Ladakh which follows the saskya-pa order, one of the last Red Hat sects to be founded in Tibet. Matho Nagrang is held on the 14th and 15th of the 1st Tibetan month, which generally falls during the nonths of February-march. The most interesting feature of this festival is that two oracles of the monastery known as Rongtsan, make a public appearance during these two days. On the first day of the festival, the oracles enter in a state of trance and receive the deities. In this state they perform all sorts of impossible and miraculous feat such as cutting themselves with swords, running over the high ramparts of the monastery and jumping from one balcony to another, all blindfolded.Admist all these live-wire feats they answer the queries made by the people seeking predictions. People from fare and wide come to witness the feats of these oracles and hear them predict key future events as well as to seek divine solutions for their personal problems.



11th-12thJuly 2018 will mark the beginning of the prominent Phyang Tsedup Festival. It is celebrated in Phyang Monastery in Ladakh (19.1 km from Leh) and dedicated to Jigten Gombo, founder of Dringumpa Monastic Dynasty. Witness smiling Lamas in vibrant attire and portraying different characters of the dance drama.Thankha of Jigten Gombo is also worshipped and marks the triumph of good over the evil. However, dance remains the centre of attraction. Monks wearing rich silk costumes perform Chham and worship their deity. This festival is especially remarked for the enthusiasm and energy.The Phyang tsedup Festival is held on the 2nd and 3rd day of the 6th month of Tibetan Calendar which usually falls in July-August. Some ritual offerings are burnt on the 2nd day and the Storma is destroyed to conclude the processionMasks steal the limelight of the festival. Numerous messages of Lord Buddha are displayed in the carnival. Exhibition of Buddhist artefacts also take place. Are you planning a Ladakh tour in July? If yes, then don’t miss this superb festival.     



Lamayuru Yuru Kab-gyat festival takes place at the Lamayuru monastery, considered to be the oldest monastery in Ladakh and thus a major religious landmark. The two-day festival of sacred dances and other rituals is performed by the resident lamas wearing as most monastic dances with the destruction of the sacrificial offerings. The festival is masks representing guardian divinities from the Dri-gung-pa monastic order pantheon and concludes an unforgettable event no less for its own unique character than for the spectacular, picturesque moon-land surroundings of the remote village high above which the Lamayuru Gompa is mounted precariously atop a steep hill.



Where: Monasteries of Thiksey, Spituk, and Karsha

When: Different months for each monastery

Gustor is transliterated as ‘sacrificing the 29th date’. The 2-day festival starts with chants and charms offered to god by the monks residing at the monastery. This is one of the much loved Ladakh festivals that reinstates the fact that all bad things must come to an end.

Key attraction: The second day comprises of the sacred ritual performed by the ‘Black Hat Dancers’ and a dough cutting ceremony of the sacrificial cake. It marks the end of the festival proceedings.



The "Sindhu Darshan" or Sindhu festival aims at projecting the Indus as a symbol of India's unity and communal harmony. While promoting tourism in this area, Sindhu darshan is also a symbolic salute to the brave soldiers of India. This festival holds religious significance even while promoting tourism in that area. Sindhu stands for peaceful coexistence and communal harmony and is a symbol of our country's identity and civilization. The 'Sindhu Yatra' helps forge a bond of unity with those who live in far-flung corners of the country; thus providing them an opportunity to visit the beautiful region of Ladakh.


This festival begins usually on the full moon day in July, which is also termed "Guru Purnima". On the first day, the participants of this festival are welcomed and there is a reception on the banks of Sindhu at Shey, about14 km from Leh on Leh-Hemis Gompa Road. Being a truly National Integration Programme, the reception is jointly conducted by the Ladakh Buddhist Association, Shia majlis, Sunni Anjuman, Christian Moravian Church, Hindu Trust and Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee. A ritual prayer is performed by 50 senior Lamas on the banks of the Sindhu. A host of cultural programmes are performed by the representatives of various states. The celebrations on the banks end with lunch for all the participants


Later, the participants are taken around for a sight-seeing trip. The day concludes with a campfire and get-together at night. On the third Day Sindhu Pujan takes place followed by cultural programmes and sightseeing. Then on the fourth day, the participants get ready for departure.


Sightseeing includes Buddhist monasteries and other cultural/heritage sites, which are the principal tourist attractions of Central Ladakh and Zanskar. These sites, most within easy reach from Leh, may be visited by a bus or taxi. Many of the region's major gompas are open throughout the day and a caretaker Lama is available to show visitors around. Some of the less visited establishments have special opening hours, as in the case of Namgyal Tsemo, Shey Palace and the Stok Palace Museum. Hall of Fame, near Leh, is a tribute to our valiant soldiers. About 30 km from Leh, a Sikh Gurudwara is also a place worth visiting. It is maintained by the Indian Army.