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6 Festive Reasons To Plan A Trip To Ladakh This Year

Colors, dances, and rituals await you in Ladakh. Witness the celebration of various Tibetan festivals as you travel through the hills. Prayer, dance, masks and colorful costumes add to the festive atmosphere around these parts. You may experience Tibetan rituals that are performed with the utmost devotion, or maybe an incredible dance-drama portraying ancient Tibetan beliefs and philosophies through colorful and energetic performances.

Ladakh has many such festive occasions to offer through the year, turning monasteries into spectacular and exciting points of interest on any traveller’s itinerary. With that, here’s a list of 6 incredible festivals that you could and really, really should catch on your next Ladakh trip:

SAKA DAWA (17 June 2019)

The fourth month of the Tibetan year is considered to be the most ideal time to attain purity and enlightenment. The birth, death, enlightenment, and teachings of Buddha are celebrated on the full moon of this month. The festivities are carried on through the lunar cycle and reach their peak on the 15th day.

The people of Ladakh celebrate Saka Dawa through various rituals and forms of prayer, along with the colorful Chams dance performed in the monastery. Tibetans also take an oath to observe the Eight Mahayana percepts, which means abstinence from acts of Killing, Stealing, Sex, Lying, Intoxication, Multiple meals, Comfort, or any Materialistic desires.

While someone travelling to Ladakh won’t be expected to adhere to these principles and take part in their prayers, they can enjoy the dances and the festive atmosphere inside the monasteries.

KARSHA GUSTOR (14-15 July 2019)

The festival is celebrated at the Karsha Chamspaling, the biggest monastery in the Zanskar region of Ladakh. The festival celebrates the triumph of good over evil. Monks wearing masks and black hats perform the dance of ‘good’.

A sacrificial cake called ‘argham’ is distributed around the monastery. Everybody in the village tends to be involved in this celebration. The monastery filled with people this time of the year is quite the spectacle.

KORZOK GUSTOR (19-20 July 2019)

Located on the bank of the Tso Moriri Lake, Korzok is said to be the highest settlement in the country. The local Chang-pa tribe attends the Gustor in massive numbers. The 300-year-old monastery hosts the two day long festival every year. Once again, masked dances (chams) and the sacrificial cake make up most of the festivities. If you plan to travel there to visit the monastery, you’re best hopes of finding accommodation would be to camp out by the lake.

DAKTHOK TSECHU (26-27 July 2019)

The Dakthok Monastery (or Takthok Gompa) is entirely made up of rock, hence its name. It belongs to the Nyingma tradition of Buddhism and it the only Nyingma monastery in Ladakh. The festival takes place in the 6th month of the Tibetan calendar and usually includes more dances and performances. The monks here dress up vibrantly to enact scripts and texts from ancient Tibet.


Every year, the city of Leh lights up as the Tibetans celebrate their rich culture through colorful and exciting processions. The festival engages people through contests like archery and polo. There are music concerts, which celebrate this festival, and the food during this period is to die for. Another important aspect of Tibetan culture is the masked dance performed by Lamas to keep evil spirits away during this time. The festivities generally go on for about 15 days, where all of Ladakh is involved and celebrating.

LOSAR (19 December 2019)

Losar is one of the most enthusiastically celebrated festivals by Tibetans all across the world. The festivities last for almost a month, the 11th one on the Tibetan calendars. Food is celebrated in abundance through this month and people pray for good luck and prosperity. Losar is celebrated two months before the Tibetan New Year, with the hope of a prosperous and happy next year. Besides the food, there are plenty of other celebrations including slogan chanting, fire processions, and yes; you guessed it, more Chams.

So before you go off and buy a Ladakh holiday package, keep the dates of these festivals in mind. Not only will you get to watch all the dances and rituals, but also you will gain exposure to a vibrant and beautiful culture. These festivals, while Tibetan, will include fun activities for everyone, no matter where you’re from. The vibe of the place during these festivities would be like nothing else you have ever experienced.

To check out exciting Ladakh travel packages, visit this page.