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The Hemis Tsechu festival takes place annually at the Hemis monastery, the biggest Buddhist monastery in Ladakh. This two-day festival falls on the 10th day of the Tibetan lunar month and commemorates the birth of Padmasambhava, the founder of Tibetan Buddhism.
The local people can be seen dressed up in their finest traditional clothing, with the men wearing cummerbunds and the women in bright colourful headgear and lots of jewellery.
The festival is a good opportunity for all the villagers and families to get together and socialise and also a good chance for travellers to interact with the local people.
A major highlight of the celebrations is the resident Lamas performing sacred masked dances (or a ‘chaam’) accompanied by music from drums, cymbals and long horns in the monastery courtyard. These dances mark the victory of good over evil.
As the Hemis festival is held during the peak summer season, it attracts the largest number of people from within and outside Ladakh.