The annual festival of Spituk monastery in Ladakh / India

This festival is certainly one of the most impressive of Ladakh, despite of the number of tourists.

The Gelugpa Monks (yellow Hats / Dalai Lama branch) perform during two days the mask dance. The monasteries of Stok, Saboo and Sankar are part of Spituk one and all the monks come here.

The date is different each year, as it depends on lunnar calendar. Different rituals and trainings take place during the 6 days before the festival.

The first day of the festival is called Serkem. The monks perform libations, a religious ceremony where they put a beverage for the Gods on the ground or an altar, as an offering. The second day, Storma, ritual cakes are given in order to chase the devils away, to pray for peace and the good actions of all human beings. During these two days, the clothes and masks of the monks represent different divinities.


Indian festival

Monastery Spituk India

How to go to Spituk / where to stay

Spituk is at 8 kilometers from Leh. To reach Ladakh, I would normally recommend one of the beautiful roads to get acclimated, but the plane is only possible in january because of the snow. Leh is at 3500 meters high. So it's necessary to go slowly during the first days, to drink a lot (ginger is excellent against altitude sickness), to avoid alcohol and cigarettes. Altitude sickness can kill. It's important to ask some advices to your doctor before your trip. There are some medecines to help acclimatization. 

It's very easy to stay in an hotel in Leh and go each day to Spituk. There's a lot of hotels in Giant emporium Leh (I don't like this atmosphere). Power cuts happen several times a day as the city is too busy.


Where to eat / what to visit

For your lunch, don't miss the delicious momos, sitting on one of the top roofs of Leh.

If the roads are good, you can visit several monasteries around : Thiksey, Stok... You can also visit the valleys around and make the trek to the magnificent Zanskar.


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