The Hemis Festival is held every year in the Hemis Monastery, the biggest Buddhist monastery of Ladakh. It is celebrated on the tenth day of lunar month in the Tibetan calendar. The festival is celebrated in the commemoration of the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava. During the festival, the Lamas gather around the central flagpole in the courtyard of the monastery and perform mask dances and sacred plays. Their performances are accompanied by the music from drums, cymbals and long horns. The Hemis Festival of Ladakh is associated with a legend. Marking the victory of good over the evil, monks perform the sacred mask dances. When these performances come to an end, an idol made of dough is destroyed by the leader of black hat dancers. The destroyed pieces of the figure are then spread in four directions.
The programme of Hemis Festival is supervised by the head lama. After this, there is also a devil dance that acts as an important part of the social entertainment of the Ladakh people. Other major attraction of the Hemis festival includes a colourful fair displaying some of the most exquisite handicrafts of the Ladakh region. However, what takes the cake is the display of the two-story high ' Thanka' of the monastery. The Thanka is beautifully embroidered with pearls and semi-precious stones, and depicts Guru Padmasambhava. It is put on display only once in twelve years and one has to wait for a long time to have a glimpse of the Thanka.The two day Hemis Festival is on at the moment near in Ladakh, in far northern India. It's held every year at the 300-year-old Buddhist monastery of Hemis Jangchub Choling, near Leh. The Hemis Festival is an incredible opportunity to experience ancient monastery culture. It's extremely colorful and captivating...!