Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA) in collaboration with Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University, (SMVDU) Katra organised a webinar on sacred festivals of Ladakh on 5th February 2022. Sh. Sumanta S. Sharma, Faculty Coordinator, EBSB, SMVD University Katra, welcomed the speakers and thanked SMVDU and IGNCA, for the collaborative venture to bring forth the exquisite jewels of our country.
Dr.Virendra Bangroo moderated the session and said that Ladakh is crown of India and the beautiful monasteries spread all across are its real gems. The festivals of Ladakh add to the glitter of these priceless gems.Sh. Tashi Namgyal gave a detailed presentation on cultural festivals and sacred festivals, or monastic festivals celebrated in Ladakh, such as archery festivals, harvest festivals, Snogla- festivals related to vegetation and pastureland, Saka- a festival to start farming after a long gap of winter, Mamani- festival in memory of deceased people.Annual sacred festivals are held in all the monasteries at Hemis, Thiksay, Spituk monastery, Phyang, Lamayuru, Sharchukul, Likir, Diskit, Leh Dosmochay, Matho, Stok, etc. Similarly in Zanskar, sacred festivals are held in Karsha, Stongdy, Phuktal and Sani etc.on fixed date of lunar calendar. Dr. Stanzin Mingyur highlighted the sacred festivals being organized at Phyang monastery in Ladakh, which has a history of more than 600 years. Cham, the mask dance is the prime focus of the festival.
Sh. Tashi Choephel talked about the sacred festivals of Hemis monastery. The monastery is one of the biggest in the whole Ladakh. There are ten sacred festivals (including ritual) celebrated annually in the monastery. Hemis tsetu festival is dedicated to Guru Padmasambhava. There are masked dances, a tantric practice, to restrain negative energies, influences and other significance.Sh. Stanzin Tsetan gave a talk on the holy festivals of Phukthar Monastery situated at Zanskar. The monastery is located about 40 km away from Padum. And it’s built inside a natural cave. The annual holy festivals of Phukthar Monastery are Smonlam , Chuksum Mchodpa, Chonga Mchodpa , Gyalwai Jabstan ,Galdan Namchot ,Phukthar Monastery “Gustor” and Religious gathering or the Chosdra. Ms.Phuntsog Lhamo also participated in the deliberations.The webinar concluded with the vote of thanks by Sh. Sumanta S. Sharma.