A Cultural Heritage
time of joy, a time to celebrate, and there's an
expression for every mood. Whether personal
celebrations, or religious and social festivals,
merrymaking and dancing are essential to them all.
The grand spectacle of
the annual Hemis festival
The annual dance-drama
festival is celebrated all over Ladakh, and though
best known at Hemis, is not exclusive to it. A
much-celebrated event for the religious Buddhist
Ladakhis, it is held on the birthday of Guru
Padma-sambhava, a Buddhist missionary who spread
the message of Lord Buddha in the Himalayan
region. At Hemis, this July fest is held in the
courtyard of the monastery and masked participants
of the dance-drama are the major attraction.
Successive troupes of lamas dressed in flowing,
exquisite brocade robes and papier mache masks
whirl in the constricted space to the tune of
drums and oboe pipes.
In Jammu & Kashmir
regions major festivals celebrated include the
Sout or spring festival in March, Naw Warih on new
year's day in March-April, Baisakhi, Jeth Ashtami,
Har Nawami, Pun, Janmashtami, Kambari Pach and
Dusserah, each with merrymaking and dance, and the
observance of prescribed rituals.
Idd is celebrated with
great eclat, new clothes are worn and the devout
attend prayer meetings at mosques. Beyond the
mosques, open grounds become fairs, and food and
souvenir stalls spring up and do brisk business.
It is said of Kashmir Hindus and Muslims
"equally holding in reverence Hindu shrines
and Muslim Khanqahs situated closely or almost in
the same precints". Notable examples of this
are the great Khanqah of Shah Hamdan, Kali Temple,
Shah Sahib's Mosque, Ziyarat-i-Makhdoom Sahib,
Hari Parbat and Madin Sahib.