Observed with much zeal and great fervor, the Losar Festival of Ladakh commemorates New Year festivities and is celebrated on the first day of the Lunisolar Tibetan Calendar. It is one of the most significant festivals of Tibetan Buddhism and is observed with great enthusiasm at places like Jammu, Tibet, Nepal, and Bhutan.
During this time, people get ready to welcome the New Year with wealth, prosperity, and bliss in their lives. This festival is an incredible melange of cultural events and rituals that have been performed for ages. Witnessing the celebrations of the Losar Festival in Jammu is an experience of a lifetime for any tourist. Usually celebrated in the months of January and March, this festival even predates Buddha.
History of Losar Festival
Predating Buddhism, this festival has its roots centered in the Bon religion, and there is even a gripping story about the same. According to the story, once upon a time, a king named Jamyang Namgyal was setting out on an expedition that was against the Balti forces during the wintertime.
But, since the saints advised him not to lead such an expedition before next year, he preponed the New Year celebrations by two months. And since then, this celebration came to be known as Losar celebrations.
Another legend has it that, in ancient times, a spiritual ceremony was conducted every year in the winter season. During this ceremony, people used to offer incense to the local deities. The purpose of the rituals and ceremonies was to win over the local deities and spirits with the devotion and prayers offered.
Later on, in history, the set of these rituals and celebrations only came to be known as Losar Celebrations.
Major Attractions of Losar Festival
1. The Preparations
When the time for Losar celebrations is about to come, the locals, brimming with great excitement, immerse themselves in the celebrational preparations which include the rehearsals for dance performances, music performances, decoration of monasteries, and other cultural activities. Apart from that, people also start cleaning their homes while discarding any unnecessary old stuff.
2. The Metho Procession
On the occasion of this festival, the younger members of the household go out to meet their relatives and friends. Apart from that, people also exchange gifts with their loved ones. In the evening, a fire procession, namely 'Metho' is taken out. People also chant holy slogans to keep the evil spirits away and bring positivity all around. The torches which the people carry during the procession are thrown out of the region at its end. This symbolically depicts keeping away evil while welcoming the new year with a new sense of refreshed enthusiasm.
How to Reach
The state of Jammu and Kashmir is popularly described as paradise on Earth and rightly so. This picturesque part of India is full of fascinating landscapes that ooze the beauty of nature. Jammu is located at a distance of around 589, 2,768, 1,957, and 2,114 km from Delhi, Bangalore, Mumbai, Kolkata respectively. Let's discuss how you can reach Jammu via the given options.
The nearest airport from the city would be the Jammu Airport which is situated at an approximate distance of around 8-10 km from the City Center. However, this airport only deals with domestic flights and has the infrastructural facility of five main gates and fourteen check-in desks. The airport is well-connected with major Indian cities near Jammu like - Delhi, Chandigarh, Shimla, and more.
Airlines like Spicejet, Go Air, Indigo and Air India operate frequently to and fro Jammu. After you deboard the airport, you will need to take a cab or some other means of transportation to reach your destination.
List of flights from different Indian cities to Jammu
Travelling to Jammu by road is also a great option if you really are into exploring the scenic beauty of the place. Watching and witnessing the landscapes and natural bounty that these geographical places have to offer is nothing short of mesmerizing. And, the most important part is that the road network of J&K is in great shape.
From Chandigarh you will need to cover around 366 km via NH 44, from Shimla 412 km via NH 205 or Srinagar Kanyakumari Highway, from Delhi you will require to travel for 589 km via NH 44, from Jaipur about 853 km via NH 48.
Apart from that, you can also choose to travel via interstate buses depending upon your location. The tickets for the same are available online with other important details of the bus.
The best option to travel via train is the Jammu Tawi station. It is situated at an approximate distance of 10 km from the City Center. This station is considered the largest train station in Jammu and Kashmir and you would be surprised to know that once upon a time, the second-longest train, Himsagar Express, used to begin from this point.
Reaching here via train would be considered a good choice as it is convenient as well as well-connected. From Delhi, you will need to board the Jammu Rajdhani train via New Delhi railway station. From Ludhiana, you will have to take CNB JAT Express via Ludhiana Junction.
Then, from Amritsar, BTT JAT Express can be boarded from Amritsar Junction.