Naropa Festival, 16-22 September, Hemis Monastry, Ladakh- Once every 12 years, Celebrating 1000 years
“Come fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame.”–William Butler Yeats
Have you seen Bollywood movie “Jab we Met” starring 2 leading stars:Shahid Kapoor as Aditya Kashyap (depressed businessman with aimless life) and Kareena Kapoor as Geet (owner of vivacious personality, loaded with spark). This is my all time favorite movie not just because of her bubbly character that could persuade anyone to live life fullest in conflicting situations but this movie made me fall in love innumerable times with mountains . Story fabricated on the substructure of aesthetic sceneries of Himalayas and how could I forget the mesmerized song “Yeh Ishq Haye” that elegantly choreographed on those alluring Ladhakhi girls.
And now as we flicked the topic of Ladakh then let’s take it further. Considering the fact, with higher social media involvement and expanding obsession of travel among common masses number of destinations in the country are able to preserve their elevated rank in the travel chart. Ladakh is one of them, especially after “3 Idiots” as you already apprehend that today’s generation is highly influenced by movies. Apart from barren cold desert, thin oxygen layer, mysteriously carved monasteries with historically enriched past, chanting red robed monks, divine early morning prayers, curvy roads and broad dry endless series of mountains; Ladakh region is occupied by enlightened culture diversity, peaceful spirituality, vibrant nature’s beauty, versatile inhabitants and plenty of hospitality. It is one of the most pristine region in the world and had witnessed great masters, seekers, dynasties, meditators and explorers. Ladakh is the guardian to the cosmic Himalayas, to the Glaciers that provide drinking water supply to India, Pakistan, China where inattentive attitude of Ladakhi’s can lead massive disaster to the boundaries.
These are just the geographical attributes that always tempts and entreats your itching desire to traverse the region as local but what if, you get something to intensify this desire and that is “Naropa Festival” known as “The Kumbh Mela of Himalayas” to be held from 16-22 September, 2016. It’s a once in a 12 year opportunity to be a part of grand spiritual celebration, even I didn’t aware about the festival earlier. But got acquainted with all the relevant details when I got the chance to attend a media conference that was addressed by His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, one of the regents of Drupka order. Where he informed us about the dates of a month-long festival that had been announced at recently in annual summer festival at Hemis Monastry. This year Naropa festival commemorates the 1000 birth anniversary of Naropa that’s enough to make it remarkable.
Here is the brief narrative associated with the colorful spiritual carnival in lap of the mountains:
-This year half a million people from across the globe are expected to attend the festival in Hemis Monastary which is the biggest monastery of Ladakh, located 40 kms from Leh. In year 1980, Prime Minister Mrs. Indira Gandhi attended a part of the festival where approx. 50,000 devotees assembled. In 1992-80k and in 2004- 135k people participated in the festival. So. the numbers are kept on expanding.
-This festival includes the ceremonial unfurling of Silk embroidered brocade, a devotional art piece which is only displayed to public audiences during the Naropa festivities. Drukpa Lineage entwined Ladakhi region, almost 80% Ladakh citizen believe in Drukpa order of Buddhism.
-Naropa festival is the world’s largest prominent Buddhism festival that held in once every 12 years, in the Monkey year that includes various cultural performances and talk shows by famed Himalayan artists and Bollywood celebrities. Including feature of an elaborative ceremony where His Holiness The Gyalwang Drukpa– spiritual head of the Drukpa Order who is revered as Naropa’s reincarnation, shall display the Six Bone Ornaments that are the physical legacy of Saint Naropa– left behind after his liberation and from it is believed as the reason of grant spiritual liberation upon sight.
-Naropa is the 11th century patron saint of Drukpa order whose life heralded the beginning of a rich tradition in Buddhist philosophy. Saint Naropa resided in Ladakh, where he mastered the “Six Yogas of Naropa.” also known as Six Dharmas of Naropa, these are now meditational pillars of Vajrayana Buddhism, and are fundamental to nearly every school and lineage of the greater Himalayas.
Alongside notifying schedule of the festivities His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche informed us about various social welfare programs on which foundation is working.
- Live to rescue –As an animal lover I appreciated the thoughtful concept of this initiative. An animal care and management center that spread over 40 acre land in Nang, Ladakh is working on welfare and population control of stray animals. They promote sterilization, build animal care centers and construct clinics for animals. Through such dedication they helped 2000 stray animals yet.
- Eco Pad Yatra– To promote the message of Eco Tourism, monks measured domestic and international borders to transport the message of environmental conservation, any one can volunteer for such a great cause. Add on, if you are more focused on Cycle Yatra that would be an option too, currently His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa particpating with other 500 nuns in 2 months Eco Cycle yatra initiated in Kathmandu on July,3 following route Kathmandu-Uttrakhand-Himachal-Jammu
- Druk Padma Karpo School– The only green school in Himalayas and known as Rancho’s School. As education is the basic key of development, by keeping this valuable thing in mind foundation is working with school, colleges to provide holistic education. In efforts of providing international level learning facilities to the local students of Ladakh to reduces up unnecessarily migration in the seek of competitive standards of education.
Below are the key highlights of Naropa 2016 that you don’t want to miss:
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As I’ve never got the chance to admire and explore the nature’s beauty settled in Ladakh but definitely would like to participate in this occasional festival.
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