A Nomad's Diary - travel tales

Are you in Love with Leh Ladakh? Then Get Ready for Naropa 2016 Festival

Many times in the past I had heard about Kashmir being called as the ‘Heaven on Earth’! But I didn’t quite believe it until my first visit to Leh Ladakh back in October 2012. Honestly, I hadn’t seen such a breathtaking beauty before and still I am of the same opinion. I think it is unique, pristine and yes largely unexplored!

Migratory Birds at Pangong Lake..

Though I love beaches but you know somehow I feel that there is some karmic connection to this part of Kashmir which is nestled in the Himalayas. They say you have a lack of oxygen out there and you need a great fitness level to enjoy Ladakh and what not but from the first day itself mine was a happy union with the place. Read the full account of Ladakh visit here.
Now for many people, Ladakh is all about 3 Idiots and the urge to visit the places where it was shot. But the charisma of Ladakh is much more than the film and you are bound to get bedazzled by it.
Then in the starting of this year, I got the opportunity of a lifetime that was to attend a book launch related to the Padyatras accomplished by Drukpa lineage of Buddhists which was headed by none other than His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa. (Read the post about this book launch here.)
dsc13This event gave me a chance to see and experience the divine aura of His Holiness as he was present at the event. As I flipped through the book, I was amazed by the beauty, simplicity & practical outlook of the Ladakhi people especially the Red Hat Buddhist community!

His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa

Next opportunity to come closer to Ladakh again, is in the form of Naropa Festival 2016!

Naropa Festival 2016 is said to be the Kumbh Mela of Himalayas and happens every 12 years! {I can imagine a jaw dropping expression at your end.} The celebrations are bound to be grand, isn’t it? So month long celebrations have been planned for this festival starting in September 2016. It will feature performances by Bollywood celebrities and several high profile dignitaries from across the globe.
{Well, I know the names of all the celebrities who will be performing, but wouldn’t reveal it. Just Kidding!}
The closing ceremony will be held on 22nd September 2016. The dates were announced by His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, one of the regents of the Drukpa Order, at the recently concluded Hemis Festival in Leh. About half a million people are expected to attend the festival this year, that promises to be a unique mix of spirituality and culture.
Naropa festival is named after ‘Naropa’ – the patron Saint of the Drukpa Order. The festival commemorates the millennial birth anniversary of the Saint. It will be interesting to witness an elaborate ceremony where His Holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa– spiritual head of the Drukpa Order who is also revered as Naropa’s reincarnation, donning the Six Bone Ornaments that are the physical legacy of Saint Naropa– left behind after his liberation. Wow, I am already pumped thinking about this historical festival and the super-duper celebrations that are planned!
HE Thuksey Rinpoche2

His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche

Addressing to press and online media fraternity, His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, spoke about the thought process behind the festival, the Padyatras and more. When I had visited Ladakh I didn’t get a chance to explore the spiritual side of it much and saw it more from a traveler’s lens. But after meeting His Eminence, I was enlightened and amazed by Drukpa lineage philosophy which extends beyond religion and is for the betterment of humanity and for the planet as a whole.
p00But growing tourism has started to take a toll on the well-preserved culture of Leh- Ladakh. Increasingly the locals are getting affected by the modernization and pollution is on an increase too! In fact, during the Padyatras, His Holiness himself lead the troupe through various passes collecting garbage on the way, simply to set an example to his followers and worldwide to keep our environment clean.
p000Adding further on this His Eminence Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, referred Ladakhi people as the custodians of Himalayan glaciers & Indian border. He said that there is a huge responsibility upon the natives since the water from the glaciers is the drinkable water, which you & I, all of us drink. So to keep the water clean is a mighty responsibility that cannot be forgone at the cost of modernization. He also talked about an animal sanctuary that is being developed by the Drukpa lineage which I could imagine being far more beautiful than what we saw in Jurassic Park!
Answering to a question regarding the provisions being made for lodging & boarding during the festival. His Eminence said that there will a lot of Ladakhi homes opening their doors for visitors in the form of Home Stays plus adequate measures will be taken for safety, food and other basic amenities during this month long festival.

I am just keeping my fingers crossed and hoping that I get to be a part of this mega festival Naropa 2016!

Leaving you with name of the celebrities coming for the finale week of festival and the program schedule:

New Picture (14)

P.S: All images are copyright protected barring the dance photo & His Eminence photo. Reproduction in any form will require my permission.

7 thoughts on “Are you in Love with Leh Ladakh? Then Get Ready for Naropa 2016 Festival

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