We have Ladakh Festival 2015 on your minds. Why, you may ask?  Because GoMissing Manali to Leh Mountain Biking Expedition #Project 545 is going to be in Leh just in time for Ladakh Festival, which is scheduled from 20-26 September, 2015.

As you read this, our group of cyclists would have already left for Manali, from where they will be cycling over next 12 days to Leh and then onwards to Khardung La. When they reach Leh around 22 September, Ladakh Festival would be in full swing.

Ladakh Festival

Ladakh Festival is an annual extravaganza scheduled between 20 – 26 September this year. Showcasing rich heritage of Ladakh, the festival offers a rare glimpse into history, alluring culture and mystical monastic life of the region. Packed with attractive programs, the festival will unfold in Leh, where most people from the region will congregate.

The festival kick starts with an inaugural ceremony that typically includes a procession of cultural troupes from different parts of Ladakh. This pageant traverses through Leh market, resplendent with colorful dances, traditional music and finery. General atmosphere of gaiety in the procession renders carnivalesque feel to the festival.

Take a look at some of the things that our riders will see during Ladakh Festival.

What to Expect from Ladakh Festival

Ladakh Festival

Polo on roof of the world. Image credits:poloconsult.com

Polo Match in Polo Grounds

Polo Grounds, located in the shadows of mighty Leh Palace, become the point of convergence for a number of activities. It is here that the festival inauguration will take place. The grounds will also have a show case of traditional Polo match, a popular sport in Ladakh. All through the summers, the polo ground hosts a number of polo matches. It’s a rare spectacle to see men in traditional finery riding sturdy Zanskari ponies and playing this game which is said to have come to Ladakh from Baltistan.

Chamm Performances and Exhibition of Thangkas at Chowkhang Vihar

Ladakh Festival

Chamm Dance, captured by Pranay Chandra

Chowkhang Vihar, the headquarter of Ladakh Buddhist Association is another place where a variety of programs will unfold. Here, traditionally Chamm dances are performed and the center also exhibits rare Thangkas, traditional scroll paintings.

The Chamm dances are something you may not want to miss while you are in Leh. Lamas in vibrant robes and formidable masks enact stories and depict how malign spirits were vanquished and evil destroyed. The dance includes an effigy made from dough, wax or paper which represents evil. In the dance, the Lamas vanquish the evil by destroying the effigy.

Chowkhang Vihar also exhibits Thangkas during the Ladakh Festival. Thangkas are traditional cloth paintings of Buddhist images. They vary in sizes to small book to being large enough to drape three storeyed buildings. Thangkas may depict Buddha, saints or wheels of life but the Mandala is perhaps a more common subject. Mandala represents the cosmos whose chaos is overcome by its geometric design. In center is a focal element representing the center of the cosmos. A common central figure in Thangka is that of Avalokiteshwara.

Archery and Cultural Programmes

Ladakh Festival

People of Ladakh

Archery is yet another traditional sport of Ladakh that will be displayed during Ladakh Festival Week. The game of Archery is popular across the region and contests are held regularly. The game follows strict traditional format unlike what you may have seen in international or national archery game. Competitive shooting takes place in accordance with stringent protocol and etiquette. The music of Surna and Daman provide the most enchanting backdrop to the game of archery.

Exhibition of Handicraft and Leh Town Archival Studies

Ladakh Festival

People in traditional finery. Image courtesy: http://leh.nic.in/

The Handicraft Training Center is a popular destination for tourists in Leh. During Ladakh Festival this center holds Handicrafts exhibition which our riders have bookmarked. For those inclined towards history, exhibition of Archival studies of Leh town at the  LAMO (Ladakh Arts and Media Organization) Center in Leh provides a glimpse into how the town has changed over centuries.

There are a lot of interesting things brewing in this season of GoMissing Manali Leh MTB expedition! Subscribe to our facebook, instagram and twitter feeds, where you will get alerts on how the expedition is faring. Don’t miss!


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