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Jammu & Kashmir Festival

LOHRI (January 13, Every Year) 

This festival heralds the onset of spring. The whole of Jammu region wears a festive look on this day. Thousands take a dip in the holy rivers. 'Havan Yagnas' light up nearly every house and temple in Jammu. In the rural areas, custom requires boys to go around asking for gifts from newly weds and new parents.

BAISAKHI (April 13, Every Year) 

The name Baisakhi is taken from the first month of the Vikram calendar. Every year, on the first day of "Vaishakh", the people of Jammu like the rest of northern India- celebrate Baisakhi. Baisakhi is also known as the harvest festival and is considered auspicious especially for marriages. Rivers, canals and ponds are thronged by devotees who unfailingly take a ritual dip every year. Many people go to the Nagbani temple to witness a grand New Year celebration.

 

DOSMOCHE ( Leh Region ) Masked Dances In The Royal Courtyard

An ancient tradition started by the kings of Ladakh, Docmoche is still celebrated every year in February with great pomp and fervor. The courtyard of the chapel below the gates of the Leh of the Leh Palace comes alive with the music of drums and the thumping steps of the masked Lamas from different monasteries performing the sacred dance-drama. The Lamas prepare, consecrate and eventually destroy the sacrificial offerings as the climax. The Lamas from the Thak Thok Monastery, the only Nyingmapa foundation of Ladakh, who are experts in tantric practice and astrology, prepare the elaborate 'DO' or Thread Crosses - the main objects of offering, which ensnare all the evil spirits, hungry ghosts and demonic forces when the prescribed mantras are recited and requisite rites observed by the Lamas.

The Festive Procession

Ten other kinds of offerings, of different shapes and sizes, complement the main offering. These are brought down from the main venue and carried through the main bazaar. Black Hat dancers, followed by the lamas in their religious costumes and the local people in their resplendent best, make this a spectacular procession. Musicians and the monastic orchestra lead the way. Outside the town, the offerings are burnt and destroyed with great fanfare to wish away all evil spirits and guard against natural calamities and disasters in the coming year.

Dosmoche celebrations are also held in the Likir (Indus Valley) and Deksit (Nubra valley) monasteries. In Deksit, a number of folk dances are performed as interludes to the 'Chhams'.

 

GALDAN NAMCHOT ( Leh Region ) 

Tsongkhap's Birthday And Buddhahood :This socio-religious event is celebrated to observe the birthday and the Buddhahood of Tsongkhapa- the Tibetan saint-scholar who founded the Gelukpa school of Tibetan Buddhism during the 14th century. The Gelukpa School later developed as the dominant monastic order in Central Tibet.

The festivities include illumination of all monastic, public and residential buildings throughout Ladakh. Namchaot heralds the beginning of the New Year celebrations, which continue till the festival of Dosmoche.

SINDHU DARSHAN 

The Sindhu Darshan or Sindhu Festival aims at projecting the Indus as a symbol of India's unity and communal harmony. Whilst promoting tourism to this area, this festival is also a symbolic salute to the brave soldier of India.
Sindhu stands for peaceful coexistence and communal harmony. Sindhu is a symbol of our country's identity and civilisation. The 'Sindhu Yatra' will help forge a bond of unity with those who live in far-flung corners of the country; thus providing them an opportunity to visit the beautiful region of Ladakh.

Colourful Celebrations

Day 1: Arrival at Leh. Spending rest of the day in leisure.

Day 2 (Inauguration): Reception of the participants followed by inauguration of the festival on the banks of Sindhu at Shey (about 14-km from Leh on Leh- Hemis Gompa Road). Being a truly National Integration Programmed, the reception is jointly conducted by the Ladakh Buddhist Association, Shia Majlis, Sunni Anjuman, Christian Moravian Church, Hindu Trust and Sikh Gurdwara Prabhandak Committee.

A ritual prayer is performed by 50 senior Lamas on the banks of the Sindhu. A host of cultural programmes are performed by the representatives of various states. The celebrations on the banks end with a meal for all at lunchtime. The participants ate then taken around for a sight seeing trip. The participants are taken around for a sight seeing trip. The day concludes with a campfire and get together at night.

Day 3: Sindhu Pujan, cultural programmes and sight seeing.

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