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Photographer's Note

Pictured here is the statue of Lord Buddha inside the Hemis monastery in Ladakh, 45 kms. away from the capital city of Leh.

The Hemis monastic complex is located in the state of Jammu and Kashmir within the Ladakh region of the Western Himalayas, at an altitude of 14,000 feet making it one of the highest settlements of the world. Hemis gompa is believed to have been established in 1630 by Lama Tagstang Raspa and built by Palden Sara under the patronage of King Sengge Namgyal on a site previously sanctified by the construction of a cave hermitage dating from the 12th century. It belongs to the Drukpa lineage of Buddhism or the 'Red Hat' sect.

The huge rectangular courtyard of the monastery plays host to the spectacular 2 day long Hemis festival held once in a year in honour of Guru Rinpoche.

The highlight of the Hemis Festival is the Masked Dance, performed by the lamas, that illustrates good prevailing over evil. The performers wear elaborate and bizarre costumes and brightly painted masks. These masks are the most vital part of the dance. The dance movements are slow, and the expressions grotesque. The music is characteristically punctuated with sounds of cymbals, drums, and unwieldy trumpets.

Each colorful mask depicts a different figure in the legend that's being portrayed. The Padmasambhava dance, which shows the conquest of the ruta demons, includes Yama -- the God of death, and the black-hatted sorcerer, Guru Trakpo -- the vanquisher of all demons.

I missed this photogenic festival by a few months so had to do with this.
Thanks for visiting.

Photo Information
  • Copyright: Subho Banerjee (Subhogen) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 407 W: 14 N: 908] (4063)
  • Genre: Places
  • Medium: Color
  • Date Taken: 2013-10-11
  • Categories: Artwork
  • Exposure: f/3.5, 1/30 seconds
  • Photo Version: Original Version
  • Date Submitted: 2014-02-05 0:59
Viewed: 736
Points: 62
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Additional Photos by Subho Banerjee (Subhogen) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 407 W: 14 N: 908] (4063)
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