Hemis Festival – The Heart and Soul of Ladakh

Festivals are the delight of Indians as India is the land of festivals. India is the land of culture, traditions, and diversity, which is why the people of India witness so many festivals the whole year. Some festivals are so common such as Holi, Diwali, Eid, Christmas, etc. Still, some are not celebrated in every part of the country as they are regional festivals. Regional festivals, too, are of great fun and excitement. Every region has some regional festivals that they celebrate in their own way every year. And one of the most famous regional festivals of Ladakh is Hemis. Hemis festival is celebrated in Ladakh every year and brings new hope and excitement to the people.

Hemis festival is not quite widely known, but it is of great happiness for the locals and even the tourists. The festival is celebrated for two consecutive days with lots of activities and fun. The festival mingles history, culture, and entertainment and offers a spellbound and divine experience. Isn’t this sound great? Of course, Yes! It’s a kind of carnival for the people. So let’s know more about the Hemis Festival!


Hemis Festival

Hemis festival is one of the most important festivals of Ladakh. It is celebrated in honor of a sage, Padmasambhava, who is also known as Guru Rimpoche. The festival celebrates his birthday, and it is believed that Rimpoches are reincarnations of Lord Buddha. The festival marks the victory of good over evil. It is a belief that the dark forces were defeated by Lord Padmasambhava with the help of Vajrayana Buddhism. So, the people celebrate the day of birth of this legend on a huge scale. The festival promotes Fraternity.

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The festival is grand and showcases the fiesta of the Buddhist beliefs, traditions, and culture, especially the Tibetan culture. The festival is celebrated in a famous Buddhist monastery of Hemis. The festival is celebrated with music, dance, rituals, and other cultural activities and delicious and yummy and drinks. The festival is celebrated in the month of June or July. The festival is like a pinata filled with entertainment, spirituality, culture, history, and zeal.


Hemis Festival significance

As soon as the sunrays hit the valley, the celebrations begin. People start their festival by taking the blessings from the portrait of Padmasambhava. Then, the beginning of the festival is marked by the beating of trumpets, drums, cymbals, and blaring horns. All these serenades the valley of Hemis in Ladakh. After all these, soon the highlights of the festival Cham Dance, a dance performed with the mask, brings life to the festival. The dance narrates the war between good and evil where goodness wins.

Moreover, the whole environment of the valley gets light up with the people showcasing their beautiful and colorful traditional dresses. Even you will also come across the splendid sight of the Lamas decked with the colorful and traditional dresses for the event. Also, the stalls can be seen lined up with Tibetan souvenirs and the typical local handicrafts for sale. You can pick one from there as a memory of this beautiful festival. The whole sight of the valley during the Hemis festival will leave you numb, and you can’t stop beholding the whole view.


To experience the beautiful and heart-warming occasion of this Hemis festival is a lifetime memory. There are so many highlights of the festivals that adorn the festival even more. Their highlights are-


The main attraction of the Hemis festival is its Cham Dance. It is often called the Masked Dance., the legacy of the Tibetan Buddhism culture and history. The main purpose of this dance is to destroy all the evil and obstacles. The Cham Dance remarks on the victory of good over evil through the presentation of the dance. The performers wear a long gown with masks signifying the good and the evil characters. Every mask holds a different story that makes it even more interesting.

Cham Dance

The main performers of the Cham Dance in Hemis festival wear a black hat and occupy the center of the stage, while others are performing around them. Some hold the weapons in their hands. Their main act signifies the story of the victory of good over evil. The evil idols are stroked down by the good idols. The best part is that the idols are scattered in all four corners that symbolize the soul’s purification after death. The musical instruments play an important role in the dance.

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Another highlight of the Hemis festival is its handicraft exhibition. The exhibition exhibits the Tibetan Handicrafts, and the tourists get immediately attracted to them as they are so unique and pretty. The beautiful pieces of jewelry, gemstones grab the attention of many. Also, the handicraft works of baskets and carpets add to the glory of this gala. The most beautiful and intricate work of paintings and ingenious work steals the heart in the exhibition.


The other highlight of the Hemis festival is the local drink. The culture of the Tibetans exhibits through this drink. This local drink is an inseparable part of the Hemis festival as Seviyan with the Eid or Bhaang with the Holi. The drink is known as Chang and is made from rice water that is infused with other ingredients that give it an exotic taste. The drink has a very small amount of alcohol that is not harmful. The drink enhances the jubilance of the Hemis festival.

So, when are you going to witness this Hemis Festival in Ladakh?