Fair & Festivals
Many of the annual festivals of the Ladakh gompas take place in winter.They take the form of dance-dramas in the gompa courtyards.Lamas, robed in colourful garments and wearing often startlingly frightful masks,perform mimes representing various aspects of the religion such as the progress of the indivisual soul and its purification or the triumph of good over evil.
Hemis Festival Matho Festival Thiksey Festival Shey Festival Leh Annual Tourist Festival

Hemis Festival

A colorful festival is held to commemorate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, who is believed to have fought with demons for the safety of the local people. Mask dances are organised and stalls are put up selling handicrafts and other wares.

Matho Festival

Matho celebrates two significant festivals during the winter months: Nagrang festival of two-day (usually in February at the Tibetan New Year) and Nispetsergyat of one-day (usually in March). Both these festivals are accompanied by masked dances.

Thiksey Festival

Thiksey gustor (festival) held from 17th to 19th day of the 12th month. The Thiksey festival main attraction is the trade fair held at the gompa's base at the same time. Villagers from all over Ladakh gather to eat, play cards, drink, barter trade items and generally socialize in a sprawling area below the gompa. In addition, all sorts of tea stalls, sweet sellers and refreshment stands are located in this area and on the footpath leading up to the gompa.

Shey Festival

In the month of summer two festivals are celebrated at Shey. The Metukba festival comes in July & lasts for one day and consists of prayers for the well being of all life on earth. The Shey Shublas festival comes during August, the Shey oracle, who is a layman from the Shey area, stays at the Tuba gompa (a short distance from Shey gompa) where he engages in a two to three day prayer in order to be possessed and become an oracle.

Leh Annual Tourist Festival

The festival held during summers in August last for one week with different events scheduled for each day, begins with a colourful procession down the main street of Leh. The procession includes musicians, archers and masked figures walking on stilts over 5 feet high. While the archers practice, musicians play drums and horns and groups of women, dressed in the traditional costumes of Ladakh and Baltistan, sit on the sidelines to observe the contest.