Ladakh’s Hemis Festival 2016 concludes

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Ladakh’s famous two-day Hemis Festival organized by the Drukpa Order concluded today at the Hemis Monastery in Leh. Tens of thousands of visitors and devotees from across the globe participated in this event. The festival celebrates the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, the 8th century Indian saint who spread Vajrayana Buddhism throughout the Himalayas. His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche,one of the spiritual regents of the Drukpa Order, blessed the event and its participants.
To commemorate this event, participants dress in their traditional attire and don the town in symbols of Ladakhi culture and heritage. The first day of the festival featured the monks of the Drukpa Order performing ‘Chams’ – an ancient mask dance performed to the sounds of cymbals, drums and long horn as they recite stories associated with the Drukpa Buddhism. A series of ‘Chams’performed in a sequence, demonstrate the victory of good over evil, which was the central theme of the festival and highly resonant in our world today.
The performers wear colourful and elaborate costumes with brightly painted masks, and delivered a highly moving performance that moved slowly into a crescendo as the healing scent of herbal incense filled the atmosphere – making it a unique visual and emotional experience for the audience.
High masters from the Drukpa Order presided over the festivities as they revealeda 400 years old embroidered silk thangka (religious tapestry) depicting Guru Padmasambhava during the festival.
The thangka, is revealed once in 12 years in the early morning hours fromdawn till noon. The tapestry emanates a deep spiritual resonance and is believed to provide ‘liberation through sight’ from karmic debt to all those who witness it.
More than 50,000 people from a cross section of Ladakhi society and visitors from various countries joined the festivities.
In addition to the traditional ‘Chams’, the monks also recreated a representation of the eight different forms of Guru Padmasambhava.
The traditional performances continued on day 2, culminating upon the exhibition of a silk patchwork, thangka-paintingbya royal prince of Ladakh, the great Gyelsey Rinpoche.
The present Gyalwang Drukpa is the twelfth incarnation of the founder of the Drukpa Lineage, whose motto of “service before self” and their zeal to convert compassion into action to tackle the world’s challenges has earned the lineage a robust global following.

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