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Published on : Tuesday, July 5, 2016
Jammu & Kashmir’s Ladakh region is all set to celebrate its famous Hemis festival starting July 14 this year. The annual event is one of the biggest cultural and religious events in region and become an integral part of the summer calendar of locals and tourists alike. Held at the 400 year old, sacred Hemis Monastery of Drukpa Lineage, the event will be presided by His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, spiritual representative of His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa (the spiritual head of the Drukpa Lineage); Smt Mehbooba Mufti, Chief Minister of J&K, will inaugurate the festivities this year.
The two day affair, commemorates the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, a renowned 8th century Indian saint who was instrumental in establishing Vajrayana Buddhism throughout the Himalayan belt. Spiritual teachers, monks, nuns, devotees and tourists from across the globe will gather to witness these mesmerizing festivities that include the traditional mask dance performances by monks of the Drukpa Order, portraying the triumph of good over evil.
The occasion is particularly auspicious this year, with the Buddhist and Gregorian calendars coinciding to match the exact birthdate of Guru Padmasambhava – a highly blessed event that takes place only once in 12 years. In honour of this, a 400 years old embroidered silk thangka (religious tapestry) depicting Guru Padmasambhava will be unfurled during the festival. The tapestry has a deep spiritual resonance and is believed to provide ‘liberation through sight’ from karmic debt to all those who witness it.
TheHemis Festival this year, will also flag off the official countdown to the grand Naropa Festival proposed to be held in September. The Naropa Festival which honours the birth anniversary of the 11th century Indian Saint Naropa, is the biggest spiritual gathering in the region and happens only once in 12 years. It is popularly regarded as the ‘KumbhMela of the Himalayas’. This year will mark 1000 years of the holy saint’s birth anniversary. His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, Chairman of the Druk Padma Karpo School (fondly known as “Rancho’s School,” because of its landmark appearance in the Bollywood blockbuster ‘3 Idiots’) will announce the dates for the grand Naropa Festival 2016.