Matho Nagrang Festival of Ladakh, Leh Ladakh Overview
The Oracle Matho Nagrang Festival is held at the Matho Monastery or Matho Gompa in Ladakh in the first month of the Tibetan new year. It is believed that two oracles, or Ronstang, inhabit the bodies of two specially chosen monks to predict the future of the village and individual villagers. Such traditions might seem unbelievable to the outsiders, but for the people living here, it's a way of life. Matho Nagrang Festival is one of the most important festivals of the Tibetan Buddhism Sakya School which like other Tibetan festivals, is celebrated with great pomp and show.
Matho Nagrang Festival 2019 - Dates
18th February 2019 to 19th February 2019
Venue of Matho Nagrang Festival
Matho Monastery, Ladakh
About The Matho Nagrang Festival
The Sakya sect started the Matho Nagrang festival five centuries ago. It involves a ritual which includes two oracles (Oracle is a person or agency who gives prophecies to ordinary men) making an appearance in the courtyard of the monastery after two months of meditation. Two masked dancers generally accompany the monks called Ronstang. They run and jump from one balcony to the other and perform some acrobatics with their eyes blindfolded. They even cut themselves without harming themselves. It is believed that the oracles have entered a state of trance and have invoked the spirit of the lords.
Matho Nagrang is a colourful festival celebrated for two days in the first month of the Tibetan Calendar. The monks wear vibrant silk brocaded robes and masks, depicting various forms of God and Goddesses. During the festival, the oracles make predictions and natives of nearby villages visit them to obtain solutions or pieces of advice for various problems.
The Oracle Matho Nagrang Tradition
The festival for the monastery begins earlier than the two public days of festivities. The monks who serve as oracles are selected every four years. All the monks who are willing and eligible to become oracles place their names in a bowl after which two names are drawn by lottery. The two monks go into isolation and deeply meditate and observe a fast to purify themselves to become oracles. It is only when the festival begins that they are brought out.
About Matho Monastery
Matho is 26kms away from Ladakh and is named after the Matho Monastery situated there. Matho means 'many happiness' and is the only monastery of the Sakya sect in Ladakh-one of the four main sects of Tibetan Buddhism. The monastery also has a museum with centuries-old Thangpa, which is a painting done on silk tapestry. The painting depicts deities or mandalas.
How To Reach Matho Monastery
Personal cabs or local buses from Leh are the most convenient and cheap means of transportation.
Leh Airport is the nearest airport. Flights from Delhi to Leh or From Jammu are advisable.
Once you reach the village Matho, you can trek up to the Matho Monastery.
This is a famous mystic tradition of the mountain region of India and is the only time people from far off places come to visit this place. It is difficult for some people to believe this ritual, but for the simple natives of Matho, it is a fact of life!