Three-day Hemis festival concludes

Monks presenting a mask dance during Hemis festival at Leh. — Excelsior/ Morup Stanzin
Monks presenting a mask dance during Hemis festival at Leh. — Excelsior/ Morup Stanzin

Excelsior Correspondent

LEH, July 4: The legendary three-day Hemis festival popularly known as ‘Hemis Tses-Chu’, which is celebrated to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava also known as second Buddha, concluded here today.
The Hemis festival is celebrated on the 10th day of the fifth month of Tibetan lunar calendar on which Guru Padmasambhava believed to the birth anniversary of the second Buddha.
The main attraction of the festival is the colourful mask dance by monks of the monastery wearing their best robes with different gestures of hand and legs signifies good prevailing over evils enthralled the spectators.
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In the first dance, 13 monks appeared wearing a complete tantric dress with great symbolic meaning. In the second dance, 16 dancers wearing copper gilded masks appeared. They symbolized divine fairies. Then there were the eight manifestation of Guru Padmasambhava, which was the principal forms, he assumed at different points in his life.
Later in the afternoon session, there were twelve Zhing Kyong dancers who symbolized protectors of the Buddha’s teachings. Then, ‘Serkyem’ —a libation or beverages offering rite, was performed by the Lobpon (main teacher) of Hemis.
Thousands of spectators amidst religious festivity mood thronged at the Ladakh’s biggest Monastery-Hemis to witness the spectacular mask dances performed by the monks with the rhythmic beat of religious musical instrument while chanting prayers to bring peace, prosperity and harmony in the society.
Head Lama of the Monastery, Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, said that keeping the centuries old tradition alive, Hemis Monastery has been celebrating the three-day annual festival to pay homage to the Padmasambava who was also considered as second Buddha. He added that the famous Hemis festival is not just a symbolic festival but is sacred ritual to bring peace, prosperity and harmony among all sentient beings in the entire world.
During the second day of the festival, Minister for Cooperative and Ladakh Affairs, Chering Dorjay, CEC, LAHDC, Leh, Dr Sonam Dawa, Army officers, and leaders from political and religious organizations participated.