The Ladakh festival parade Dancers performing at the Ladakh festival

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Time Required : September

Ladakh Festival, Leh Ladakh Overview

The Ladakh Festival is an annual fiesta organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department in Leh. Events such as folk dances, musical performances, mask dances, art and craft exhibitions, etc. form an integral part of this festival. It provides an excellent opportunity for the tourists to experience the culture and lifestyle of the people in Ladakh. A blend of Tibetan, Central Asian and Northern India; the Ladakh Festival is a week-long extravaganza that shouldn't be missed if you're visiting Leh-Ladakh.

Ladakh Festival 2020 Dates

The Ladakh festival parade
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The Ladakh festival does not have a prior fixed date on the calendar, for it is not a religious festival. It has its roots from the Government of Jammu & Kashmir's decision to increase tourism in the state. Thus, the dates of the festival are decided by the Tourism Department of the government. Generally, it is a fifteen days-long celebration. The date for the next Ladakh festival has not yet been announced, but it is expected to be held on 25th September in the year 2020.

Where is the Ladakh Festival Celebrated? Venue & How to Reach

Dancers performing at the Ladakh festival
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Ladakh Festival is celebrated in the city of Leh. Festivities occur throughout Leh and with the villages standing adjoined to it. The processions are taken out on the roads of the city, and all the people of Leh are involved in celebrations.

The nearest railway station from Leh is the Jammu Tawi Railway Station, which is located at an approximate distance of 700 kilometres from it, from where roadways can be taken. However, the nearest airport is the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport, which is only at a distance of about 3 kilometres from Leh.

How is the Ladakh Festival Celebrated? Events & Festivities

Ladakh festival is celebrated to revitalise the cultural heritage of the state. The Tourism Department of Jammu & Kashmir government organises it, with a tie-up with the local communities. Cultural heritage is relived in some ways, including public speeches, film screenings, and a large procession of various communities coming together, representing their traditions.

Music
Traditional music is played along the streets of the city of Leh. It is an absolute delight for a visitor to witness and listen to it, while the artists sing songs in the regional languages, accompanying the vocals with traditional instruments.

Dance

Folk dance at the Ladakh Festival
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Dance is a significant part of some of the rituals in major festivals of Ladakh, such as the Hemis festival. Thus, traditional dance is always a part of festivity in the region. Kids and adults dress up in traditional dresses and dance to traditional music and folklore, representing the cultural heritage in most spectacular of ways. 'Chams' or masked dance of the Lamas is a primary dance form of the region, which can be seen during the Ladakh festival.

Craft
Traditional handicraft finds a new life during the Ladakh festival, with its stalls set up. The sales increase and thus give the craftsmen a boost. The visitors who go there from outside the state bring back these handicrafts as a souvenir.

Sports
Polo and Archery contests are unique ingredients of the Ladakh festival. The inclusion of these sports in a cultural festival not only gathers massive youth participation and upliftment to the sportspersons of the region but also makes the festival stand apart from common festivals, finding a spot in the curiosity of people who come to know about it.

Food
Visitors can also indulge in curbing their cravings with food stalls set during the Ladakh festival, providing the locally eaten food, not found in other parts of the country.

Exhibition of Thangka
Thangka is a Tibetan art-form of painting on silk or cotton clothes. The Thangka paintings generally depict a Buddhist deity or scenery in its craft. Buddhism, being a central source of cultural heritage in the region, uses Thangka paintings to inscribe and represent it. These paintings are put up on display in an exhibition organised during the Ladakh festival.

Significance of the Ladakh Festival

Prayer flags over Leh city
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In times when the beautiful state of Jammu & Kashmir is suffering from militancy and turmoil, the Ladakh festival is a step forward for changing the perception about Kashmir and Kashmiris, and a small step towards peace. It is also important for the preservation and celebration of various cultural traditions that reside in the state. Moreover, it helps in increasing tourism and making some contribution to the financial front of the state. In a time of turmoil, it works as a celebration of bridging gaps among different communities as well.

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