Apart from the scenic terrain and the breathtaking landscape, Ladakh also pulls crowd here every year in the month of December for one of its most important festivals – the Losar Festival.
Marking the beginning of a new year in Ladakh, the Losar festival is also celebrated in Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet. Throughout the festival, you are bound to find mingling cultural events, rituals that have been followed since ages and also traditional and ancient performances such as dance and folk songs.
Although there may not be a fixed date for the auspicious occasion, the dates are usually always fixed as per the Lunar calendar.
Being a part of this festival is a life-time experience and should be on every traveler’s bucket list. Vibrant colors, enchanting prayers, traditional folk songs and dance performances, truly transform this arid land into a paradise on earth and at the same time leave the spectators awestruck. This 15-day celebration is nothing short of an incredibly unique celebration.
History of Losar Festival
The story behind the Losar Festival goes back to the 17th century. When Buddhism arrived in Tibet, there existed an ancient tradition of Bon religion where the followers of Bon religion offered incenses to the spirits. However, this tradition was incorporated into the Buddhist religious ceremony later and became the occasion of the New Year of Tibetan Buddhism.
The celebrations usually begin with a Metho ceremony – a procession of people chanting prayers and carrying flaming torches. It is believed to cleanse the evil spirits and the negativity that was accumulated over the course of the year.
The preparations begin a month in advance of the festival, the locals start with cleaning their houses, discarding all the old materials, unused items so that all evil omens are chased away from their life to maintain peace, prosperity and harmony.
How can you be part of these celebrations?
The Losar festival is celebrated all over Ladakh by the followers of the Tibetan Buddhist faith. You can witness the ceremonies being performed in several monasteries of Ladakh and all over the region.
What to expect at the festival?
Expect a lot of chanting with blazing fire torches, a battle between the good and evil, the Kings and his ministers. This once in a lifetime experience is made memorable with a lot of dancing, good music and a feast to be shared with your friends and family. The streets are extravagantly decorated with Buddhist prayer flags and lights to only attract happiness and good omen.
Everyone on the streets is happy and hopeful for a happier, prosperous year ahead. The whole vibe of the region is too contagious to not feel it yourself. And in my personal opinion, if you are looking for a peaceful, quiet start to the New Year, this is where you should be.
Are you ready to welcome the New Year with sheer happiness, positivity and just good vibe? Join the celebrations in Ladakh for a mind-boggling experience of their rich and extremely vibrant culture which is on display for not one, but 15 days! At the time of new year, you can also check out other exciting things to do in Ladakh during winters.
Block your Calendars from 27 December and make the most of your time in Ladakh. The weather will be brutally cold, so make sure you carry a lot of woolens with you. Throw in some warmers, jumpers, hand gloves and you are good to go! For a hassle-free commute, book your taxi in Leh here.
Happy Ladaki New Year 🙂