Residing in Bombay, I had not heard about the festival. When an email popped up, I was curious to know more and more than that, see all of it.
Finally the day arrived. I headed to Ladakh. We rested for a day and next day we were up and fresh. We headed to Naro Photang for Naropa Festival day 1.
I was stunned to see the locals gathered in huge crowds and monks all over. It was held at the Naro Photang, a beautiful temple amidst a beautiful view of the mountains.
If you like culture, music or just interacting with the locals, then definitely head here for a day. Every local is so sweet and specially the kids. We also interacted with his eminence and understood more about Ladakh as a place for the locals. Since being on a high altitude, it becomes very difficult to sustain and have an infrastructure. They have begun a Naropa Fellowship to assist students and provide them a world class education which really impressed me. It is so essential that students receive that kind of facility as they are tomorrow.
We have sat back and watch crowds enjoying. We have just soaked in and understood the culture and it was an amusing process.
The music festival was a delight as the monks also danced and enjoyed.
Also what I loved was the display of little pop ups from Ladakhi costumes to coffee to local stuff. We also visited the Hemis Monastery Museum and liked the cultural aspect. Also the monastery was very quiet and peaceful.
Facilities could have been better in terms of washrooms and handling. Otherwise was great.
Deets about the Naropa Festival:
The festival officially kicked off on 16 September with the unveiling of Naropa’s “Crown
Ornament,” along with a set of ancient spiritual relics of Buddhist tradition. These rarely-
Seen holy artefacts were on display for all five days of the festival, drawing large crowds and
Pilgrims. The “Crown Ornament” on display was one of Naropa’s famed Six Bone Ornaments
(Crown, Necklace, Earrings, Bracelets, Seralkha and Apron); it is one of the most revered
Buddhist relics, and it is believed to be an offering to Naropa by the ‘Dakinis’ at the time of his enlightenment in Ladakh.
We were seated at the back and enjoyed the local tea and biscuits.
The festival stage also introduced the inaugural class of the Naropa Fellowship, a new one-year, post-graduate academic programme designed to support the next generation of leaders in India and the greater Himalayas. The world-famous “Kung Fu Nuns” of the Drukpa lineage of Buddhism made an appearance on the stage as well. The five-day festival concluded with a new Guinness World Record for Ladakh, India. Earning the title of “Largest Ladakhi Dance,” two hundred ninety-nine Ladakhi women gracefully performed the famous dance of “Shondol”.
The five-day Naropa Festival of 2018, one of the
Himalayan region’s biggest festivals ended with a mammoth of cultural events ranging from great interactions to traditional dance performances to pop concerts by prominent artists.
A detailed blog on Tips for Ladakh and Things to do in Ladakh will follow for your referral.