rediff.com
News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay

Rediff.com  » Getahead » Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs

July 08, 2014 15:16 IST


Photographs: Reuben NV

Rediff.com's Reuben NV witnessed the colourful Hemis Festival in the eponymous town of Ladakh.

Here are snapshots from the festival and everything you need to know about it.

It is an annual festival held for two days in either June or July. This year's dates were July 7 and 8.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

The venue is the 300-year-old Buddhist monastery of Hemis Jangchub Choling. It is located in Ladakh and is the biggest and richest Buddhist monastery in the region.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

It commemorates the birth of Guru Padmasambhava founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

As in most festivals, there is dancing too. The masked performance, put up by local monks, is the mainstay of this festival.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

The masks form an important part of the performance and each mask depicts a person from the legends.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

Over the years, the Hemis Festival has been popular not just among the locals but also with foreigners.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

The masks are elaborate and the dance moves, slow. Even those who play the music (to which the monks dance) wear these masks.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

The dance is in fact part of the tantric traditions and can be performed only by those monks who follow the Tantric Vajrayana teachings.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

The brightly coloured-masks are the highlight of this festival.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

A young lad watches the performance earnestly as his guardian explains the goings-on to him.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

Tourists crowd around to shoot photographs of a masked performer.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

The monastery is home to some 500 monks, some of who are seen here performing in the courtyard of the majestic monastery.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

Like all religious performances, this one too illustrates the universal theme of good prevailing over evil.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

Since they depict various aspects of the legends, these masks can also tend to be grotesque (implying the evil).

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

A senior member of the audience enjoys the performance.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

Interestingly, the purpose of the dances is not so much to entertain as it is an invocation to the rain gods.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

Every 12 years the monks unroll the famous Hemis thanka or tapestry that is as long as the monastery is tall. It was unrolled last in 2004.

Please click NEXT to continue seeing some amazing photographs of the Hemis Festival

Hemis Festival in 18 stunning photographs


Photographs: Reuben NV

The festivities end with the burning of a dummy that represents the human ego.