Hernias Festival (jun), Bemis. Of all Ladakh’s monastery festivals the one at Bemis is the most famous. This spectacular dance-drama, with colourful masks and costumes, offers a wonderfully authentic experience of Ladakhi culture.
Sindhu Darshan (1-3 Jun), Leh. A recent introduction, this festival is a homage to the Indus. Held on the river banks, it includes exhibitions, polo matches and archery contests.
Ladakh Festival (1-15 Sep), Leh and Kargil. Subsidized by the Tourism Department, this is held over two weeks in Leh’s Polo Grounds, as well as in Kargil and some selected villages. Apart from the traditional masked dances, the events include polo matches and archery contests – both being popular traditional sports in the region. A handicrafts exhibition is also held.
This Festival (Oct/Nov), Thikse. The annual festival of the Gelugpa sect takes place in a beautiful setting. The precise dates of monastery festivals are fixed according to the Tibetan lunar calendar and vary every year.
Milad-ul-Nabi (May), Srinagar. The Prophet’s birthday is celebrated with special fervour at the Bazratbal Mosque, when its sacred relic, a lock of the Prophet’s hair, is displayed to devotees.