Naropa Festival, 16-20 September 2018

As the monsoon season generally recedes across India in the 1st half of September, and with the beginning of Krishna Janmashtami, it marks the time and start of the pleasant season of autumn, October to November. This period has many festivals and events across India. India’s vast geography enjoys its multicultural, religious events, carnivals and other observances.

One such fascinating, outstanding, joyous, colorful, spiritual festival is the world famous Naropa Festival. It is celebrated in the north, Himalayan region of Ladakh, India. It is a month long festival with cultural performances, art display, musical concerts, songs sung by famous and celebrity singers, masked dances, prayer ceremonies, Award distribution etc; but the best time to experience, view the festivity is between the 16th to the 20th of September, around 8 am to 6 pm.

Naropa Festival is at times referred to as the Kumbh of the Himalayas or Ladakh. This year, around 1.5 million people are expected to attend. Naropa Festival is said to the biggest and the main festival of the Buddhists.

The Ladakh region is one of the most beautiful, cultured, natural, divine, peaceful, harmonious, non-commercialized, wilderness places on Earth. The main event of Naropa Festival takes place in the Hemis Gompa Monastery in Hemis, Ladakh region.  Hemis is a small village in the Leh district of the Ladakh area. The biggest, Hemis Monastery, of the 11th century, reestablished 1672, is the seat of the Drukpa Order, here in the Ladakh. It is believed that Lord Jesus also spent his unknown years here. It is a major attraction for local and global tourists and has thousands of visitors.

The festival is mainly marked in honor, dedication to Lord Buddha Amitabha. His gigantic image embroidered on fine silk cloth, several meters high, is unfurled and displayed for public viewing, at this festival-event time; also shown are the six bone ornaments of the spiritual leader Saint Naropa.

The Buddhist Yogi Naropa took forward the legacy and tradition of the Buddhist religion and philosophy.  His teachings called the Six Yogas of Naropa, also referred to as the Six Dharmas, are very legendary, and a source of a great path to enlightenment. Buddhist Yogi Naropa is believed to have lived around the years 1016AD – 1100AD. Saint Naropa also went to the oldest Nalanda University.

One can reach Ladakh by air and road. The closest airport is in the district Leh in the Ladakh region, IXL. New Delhi to Leh flight time is about 1.5 hours. Leh is about 40 km from the main Ladakh area. One can also reach the Kulu airport; however, the drive from Kulu to Ladakh is very long, about 520 km, 14-15 hours via Manali. While here, one can also enjoy other tourist attraction destinations like the Hemis National Park, Tso Kar Salt Lake, Gotsang Gompa, Stakna Monastery, Shanti Stupa, local markets with Pashmina Shawls and so forth.

We wish all the visitors to the prestigious and a must-visit Naropa Festival a very happy, joyous, memorable, rejuvenating, unforgettable and a spiritual visit.

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