Ladakh is home to a lot of monastic festivals which are celebrated at many different monasteries. The people of this place are majorly the devotees of Buddhism. Undoubtedly, visiting Ladakh is once in a lifetime experience and a lot of people from around the world do come to this place for witnessing the grandeur of Ladakh in its full-fledged honour and participate in Thiksey Gustor.
It is basically a 2-day festival which is celebrated in Ladakh in the months of October and November. It is celebrated at various monasteries such as Thiksey, Spituk and Karsha Nanzkar.
Gustor Festival in Karsha Monastery is held on the 27th and 28th day of the 6th Tibetan month which is July. This monastery is located at a distance of around 12 kms from Padum in the Zanskar Valley. This monastery has about 100 monks who live here and practice the Buddhist faith.
The same festival is celebrated in the Spituk monastery on the 11th Tibetan month which is the month of January. In this monastery as well, a great number of monks live, practicing Buddhism faith.
The word Gustor essentially means ‘sacrificing’. The Thiksey Monastery was founded about 500 years ago and is situated at a distance of around 19 km from Leh.
Thiksey Gustor is a festival celebrated for two days which is concluded by the distribution of a cake known as Torma. This festival is a significant monastic celebration which is done in order to destroy all evils and bring peace to the hearts and minds of the people taking part in it.
This festival commences with morning prayers and rituals under which a liquid is offered to the divine Gods. It is believed that it is owing to this offering that the Gods come to Earth to witness the mask dance.
And after the completion of the dance, there is also a distribution of the sacrificial cake which is known as Torma. This distribution ceremony is also called ‘Argham’ in the local language. It is interesting to know that during this festival there is also a re-enactment of the assassination of the traitor King Lang Darma of Tibet which was done by a Buddhist monk somewhere during the 9th century.
On the second day of this festival, a sacrificial figure which is made out of dough is destroyed in a ceremony which is called Dao-Tulva. The pieces which remain after the ceremony are then dispersed in four directions which particularly symbolize the banishment of the enemies from the entire land.
Ladakh is really a place for the adventurous soul. This is the kind of place where you are bound to find solace in the grand mountains. And what better than some really hot and delicious food to accompany you in the city's cold weather. Some of the popular dishes which you can savour in Ladakh are Paba, Momos, Thukpa, Chutagi, etc. Moving to the clothing part, men in Ladakh generally wear a thick robe which is known as ‘Goucha’. Men tie it on the neck with a colourful sash like cloth which is also known as ‘Skerag’. On the other hand, the women also wear a similar robe which is known as the Kuntop. And on their backs, they generally carry a shawl for protection against cold. It can be also used to carry babies or small parcels.
By Air - The nearest airport is the Kushok Bakula Rimpochee Airport which is located in Leh. This airport has got very good air connectivity with other cities in the country like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Chandigarh, etc. After deboarding the flight you still have to cover a distance of around 30 km. For this, you will have to arrange some mode of transportation like a taxi.
By Train - The nearest railway station is located in Tawi. However, it is located at a good distance of around 700 km from Ladakh. This railhead has good connectivity with other stations like Delhi, Chandigarh, Pathankot, etc. It will take you at least three to four days to reach Ladakh from the station itself thus it is not a recommended method of travelling around.
By Road - If you are planning to visit by public transport like a bus then you would be happy to know that you can easily find government-run buses from Srinagar and Manali. However, if you are planning a bike trip to Ladakh then there cannot be anything memorable than that. Apparently many people make a road trip to Ladakh on a bike. And the best of the memories which people generally share is pulling over along the high-mountains and sipping a hot cup of tea.
27 October 2019 - 28 October 2019
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