Hemis Gompa festival is one of the most auspicious Occasions for the Buddhist community in India. The Hemis fair is celebrated with great jubilance to mark the birth of Guru Padmasambhava or Guru Rimpoche, the revered incarnation of Lord Buddha. Hemis Gompa festival, is a two day fair that is observed every year from 9th to11th day of the 5th Tibetan month (June-July). The main festivities are marked at the Hemis Gompa which is the biggest buddhist monastery located at a distance of 40 km southeast of Leh in Ladkah, Jammu & Kashmir."
This monastery, also known as Chang Chub Sam Ling or "the lone place of the compassionate person", is surrounded by mountain rocks and concealed inside the Hemis National Park. During the Hemis Gompa festival this monastery sees number of Buddhists living in India along with foreign tourists to be part of the celebrations.
Historical Background of Hemis Gompa
The festival of Hemis Gompa marks the birth of 12th Gyalwang Drukchen Rinpoche, the chief spiritual head of the Drupka Kargyud lineage and head of the Hemis Monastery. It is regarded that the birthday of Guru Rinpoche was predicted by Sakya Muni Buddha himself. Guru Rinpoche spread Buddhism in Tibet and spread the message of spiritual harmony and intellectual prosperity among all human beings.
Founded 350 years ago by Stagtshang Rinchen, who was invited to Ladakh by king Singe Namgyal, it was built on the Tibetan style of architecture. It flourished under the Namgyal dynasty for the royalty favoured the Drukpa sect, which managed the monastery. It belongs to the Drupka order since direct Lineal Descent exists with the Buddhism practiced at the Hemis and the Drukpa School of Tibetan Buddhism. Humis Gompa have fortunately withstood plunders unlike other Gompas.
Hemis Gompa Celebrations
The two days fair of Hemis Gompa witness the great zeal and enjoyment among the devotees who gather from corners of India and abroad at the courtyard of Hemis monastery. The main festivities of Hemis is celebrated by playing traditional music using the beating of drums, clashing of cymbals and long horns. The portrait of sacred Guru Rimpoche is put for devotees to show their respect. The colorful dance performances using the vibrant masks and showcase of beautiful hand crafted items are also the main attractions of Hemis festival.
Besides the sprawling courtyard of the Gomba, its structures are also used during festivals. Dancers use the hall, Dukhang, which is also known also as 'Green room'. The Gomba is divided with an Assembly hall on the right and the main temple on the left. Tshogkhang is the name for temple. The verandahs have a surfeit of frescoes among them the Buddhist Wheel of Life (Kalachakra) and the Lord of the four quarters, besides rows of prayer wheels. In the kitchen there is a huge vessel of copper whose diameter is 12 m, capable of cooking rice for 500 people at a time. Buddhist visitors usually donate money to the kitchen during festive seasons
The Gompa has well preserved Thankas and copper gild statue of the Lord Buddha, various stupas made of gold
and silver and many other auspicious objects..
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