Festivals Of Ladakh: Thiksay Gustor


Off on a trip to Ladakh? Visit Ladakh between September and January to be part of these celebrations of life. Join Ninad Kharkar as he explores Ladakh festival – Thiksay Gustor.

The Cham dance performed during the Ladakh festival

The Cham dance performed during the Ladakh festival

Ladakh festivals mostly take place during the winter, when the locals are relatively free. The festivals give the people of Ladakh a chance to get together, celebrate their culture, and interact with each other.

Ladakh festival music

The festival is all about colourful traditional dresses, vibrant culture, music and dance

These colourful Ladakh festivals take the form of dance-dramas in Gompa courtyards. Lamas wear colourful robes and dramatic masks, and perform mimes that symbolise various aspects of their religion, history and mythology. People flock from all over to take part in the revelries and partake of the collective spirit of celebration.

Thiksay Gustor – Ladakh Festival

Ladakh festival - Thiksay

The soulful morning prayer rituals at Thiksey Monastery

The Thiksay Gustor festival usually takes place in the month of November. It is held from the 17th to 19th day of the ninth month of the Tibetan calendar. This two-day festival takes place at three different monasteries—Spituk, Thiksey and Karsha Zanskar.

Thiksey Gustor revolves around the assassination of the 9th Century Tibetan apostate king Lang Darma by a Buddhist monk. The assassination is re-enacted during the festival with much pomp and grandeur. Some monasteries burn an effigy symbolising stronger evil forces. Early morning prayers are offered to bring divine peace to those who take part in it.
After the two day celebrations, there is a ritualistic dispersal of the Torma or the sacrificial cake by the leader of the Black Hat dancers. This marks the end of the Thiksey Gustor festival.

Getting to Karsha Zanskar, Spituk & Thiksey Monastery:

Ladakh festival

The beautiful yet imposing Thiksey Monastery, Ladakh

Karsha Zanskar in Khurshan village is 14 kilometres from Padum village. Leh is the nearest airport. Spituk is less than 8kms from Leh, while Thiksey is 18 kms away. Thiksey can by reached via road in 30-40 minutes.

Where to stay in Leh Ladakh:

Leh has several places to choose from, while Thiksey monastery itself has excellent accommodation services, available at a nominal charge, luxury hotels with modern facilities line the base of the hill.

Still confused? Check out Leh Ladakh complete tour guide.

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About the Author

Ninad Kharkar’s interests range from paan to politics. Sometimes, when he’s fed up with the world, he changes it simply by day dreaming. Social networks are his second home. Ninad graduated in media studies and is currently pursuing his Masters while he writes and wonders about what will come next.


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