Since the people of Ladakh are majorly the devotees of Buddhism, it is home to a lot of monasteries as well as monastic festivals and Thiksey Gustor is one of the most noted ones.
Visiting Ladakh is certainly a once-in-a-lifetime experience and a lot of people from around the world visit this picturesque place just to witness and participate in the Thiksey Gustor festival in Leh, Ladakh.
It is celebrated by 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 November.
This monastery is located at a distance of around 12 km from Padum in the Zanskar Valley and has about 100 monks who live here and practice the Buddhist faith.
The same festival is celebrated in the Spituk monastery in 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.
Major Attractions of Thiksey Gustor Festival
Thiksey Gustor festival is celebrated for two days which is concluded by the distribution of a cake known as Torma. This festival is a significant monastic celebration that 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, the Gods come to Earth to witness the mask dance.
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 in 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.
How to Reach
Ladakh is one of the most amazing travel getaways to explore as well as to breathe fresh air. It is located at an approximate distance of around 1,098m, 2,511, 3,280, and 2,632 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata respectively. Let’s discuss how you can reach Ladakh via the following routes.
The nearest airport is the Kashuk Bakula Rimpochee Airport (IXL) which is located in Leh. It is considered the 22nd most commercial airport globally and is located at an immense height of 3,256 m above sea level. Another important point to note here is that the presence of mountain winds in the afternoon doesn’t let the flights take off or land during those hours.
However, because this airport is situated amid the scenic Himalayas, the tourists here get to witness a spectacular landing. Various airlines like GoAir, Air India, and SpiceJet operate to and fro Leh Ladakh connecting cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh. After deboarding your flight, you will have to hire a cab to reach your respective destination.
List of flights from different Indian cities to Leh
It is important to note that Leh Ladakh doesn’t have direct railway connectivity. Some good options to reach Leh Ladakh via train routes are Jammu Tawi railway station, Pathankot, Kalka railway station, and Chandigarh railway station. However, after deboarding at these stations, you will need to cover a considerable distance, thus, it is recommended for you to travel by train only if your destination is near the train stations.
The nearest station to reach via train is the Jammu Tawi Railway station. Following are the trains you can board from different Indian cities.
From Delhi - Jammu Rajdhani or SVDK VANDEBHARAT via New Delhi Railway Station
From Amritsar - BTI JAT EXP from Amritsar Junction
From Kanpur - TATA JAT Exp from Kanpur Central
From Chandigarh - KLK SVDK Express via Chandigarh Junction
Being one of the three most important mountain passes in the world, Leh, Ladakh is already a very popular travel destination, especially among adventure enthusiast bikers. There are mainly two popular routes to visit Leh.
Manali – Rohtang – Gramphu – Kokhsar – Keylong – Jispa – Darcha – Zingzingbar – Baralacha La – Bharatpur – Sarchu – Gata Loops – Nakee La – Lachulung La – Pang – Tanglang La – Gya – Upshi – Karu – Leh
It is important for you to note that the Leh-Manali route is managed by the Border Roads Organization of the Indian Army. While taking this particular route you can consider halting at Sarchu which is a very beautiful place having some good staying options as well.
Another important fact to note here is that all non-HP vehicles would need a permit from the Manali SDM office for traveling beyond Rohtang pass. This decision was brought into effect owing to the increasing issue of traffic jams on this route.