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Jun 20, 2021

Golden Jubilee year of All India Radio Leh: A brief look at Ladakh's monasteries

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Buddhism in Ladakh has given the region a rich architectural and cultural heritage. Ladakh is very famous for its monasteries which is called called Gonpas in local language. On the occasion of Golden Jubilee year of All India Radio Leh, AIR correspondent reports, Monasteries or Gonpas are living heritage which are not just religiously important places but are also one of the most visited tourist destinations in Ladakh.

Some of the famous monasteries in Ladakh are Thiksay, Stakna, Hemis, Spituk, Likir, Lamayuru, Phyang, Diskit, Takthok, Sani, and many other.  Each of these Monasteries celebrates its annual festival which are very popular amongst the local people but these monastic festivals are known internationally as well.

During these festivals, the monks of the Monasteries performed colorful sacred Mask Dance called Cham. Cham is considered a form of meditation and an offering to God. Cham dances often offer moral instruction relating to compassion for sentient beings and are held to bring merit to all who perceive them. Today is Hemis Tsechu, the annual monastic festival of Hemis Monastery.

The festival is held to commemorate the birth anniversary of Padmasambhava popularly known as Guru Rinpochey. Hemis Tsechu is held in the courtyard of Hemis Monastery on the 10th and 11th of the fifth month of Tibetan calendar. Hemis monastery is famed for being the largest monasteries in Ladakh.

In the year 1630s Lama Staktsang Raspa under the royal patronage of  Ladakh King Singay  Namgyal founded this monastery which is located at distance of 40 km from Leh city. However amidst the Covid 19 pandemic this year too the Hemis Tsechu Festival is limited to only rituals.

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