Two days Annual Spituk Gustor Festival begins

Monks of Spituk Monastery performing mask dance during Spituk Gustor Festival on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin
Monks of Spituk Monastery performing mask dance during Spituk Gustor Festival on Wednesday. —Excelsior/Morup Stanzin

Excelsior Correspondent

LEH, Jan 22: The celebrations of Ladakhi rich culture and traditional heritage continues amidst the prevailing hostile weather condition when sea of devotees thronged the Spituk Monastery to witness the yearly enchanting colorful festival of the Monastery popularly known as “Spituk Gustor”.
UT Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur dressed in traditional Ladakhi dress “Goncha” was the chief guest during the festival.
Hill Council Deputy Chairman Tsering Sandup, Executive Councilor for Education Konchok Stanzin, President LBA PT Kunzang, President Galdan Targyasling Cultural and Welfare Society Spituk Ven. Lobzang Angchuk and Director CIBS Leh Prof Geshes Konchok Wangdus also witnessed the festival.
The main attraction of the festival was the colourful mask dance (Chams) performed by the monks of the monastery in their best robes depicting different deities such Mahakala (Gonbo), Paldan Lhamo (Shridevi), White Mahakala, Protector Deity, etc. The mask dance began with Serskam followed by Hashang Hatuk, Six Arms Mahakala, Paldan Lhamo, Shawa, Janak Chams, etc. During the festival large Thangka of Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of Gelukspa Sect of the Mahayana Buddhism was displayed in the courtyard for people to watch.
Talking to media persons, Spituk monastery Chokji Lama Lobzang Lhundup said that the two days festival aims at bringing peace, prosperity and harmony in the society. He also prayed for world peace during the festival. He added that monks make good preparation for the festival by practicing the mask dance well in advance and prayers starts seven days before the beginning of festival.
Apart from locals, large number of domestic and foreign tourists also witnessed the festival.
The locals believed that after this festival, the weather becomes warmer and pleasant.
During the festival devotees and believers spent hours standing in unending queues at the gate of Gonkhang (the oldest part of the monastery) to get the glimpses of Mahakala Statues whose faces remains covered throughout the year except during festival.