Art & Culture

The culture of Ladakh has Tibetan-influence.Some of the most beautiful monasteries are found here. The most famous aspect of Ladakh is its people, culture and cuisine .
Festivals are famous for their vibrant and beautiful colors,captivating traditions and music.In addition one can find the arts and handicrafts in the local markets and villages perfectly breathtaking and inspiring.


Ladakhi food has much in common with Tibetan food, the most prominent foods being thukpa (noodle soup) and tsampa, known in Ladakhi as ngampe (roasted barley flour).
A dish that is strictly Ladakhi is skyu, a heavy pasta dish with root vegetables. As currency started making its place in the economy of Ladakh, food from the Indian plains gained popularity. Tea in Ladakh is traditionally made with strong green tea, butter, and salt. It is mixed in a large churn and known as gurgur cha(Butter Tea), after the sound it makes when mixed. The milk and sugar based sweet tea made in Indian style is also common now. Most of the surplus barley that is produced is fermented into chang, an alcoholic beverage drunk especially on festive occasions.


Ladakhis are very fond of ice hockey which is generally played in the month of January on natural ice. Archery is a traditional sport and many villages still conduct archery festivals, which also include drinking, dancing and gambling as a medium of celebrating the sport. Polo is another traditional sport of Ladakh.


The architecture in Ladakh draw heavy influences from Tibet and India. The monastic architecture reflects a deeply rooted Buddhist approach. The Buddhist wheel, along with two dragons, is a common feature on almost every gimp, including the likes of Hemis, Thiksey, Alchi etc. Ladakhi Buddhist festival music is much like its Tibetian counterpart and often involves religious chanting. These chants are complex, often recitations of sacred texts in celebration of various festivals.
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The best way to feel the Ladakhi culture is to witness its vibrant festivals.They are celebrated as an occasion to demonstrate the cultural heritage as well as the wealth of that particular monastery. It is also a merry-making occasion which provides people with various oppurtunities to interact with each other , form new ties and renew the old ones.
Festivals are celebrated on fixed time periods, many of which takes place in winter- a relatively idle time for the majority of the people. The core event of the manastic festival is Chams( a highly choreographed sacred dance-drama) performed by monks, to the accompaniment of mystic tunes played on Monastic orchestra.Lamas robed in colorful garments and wearing masks perform mimics representing various aspect of religion.The masks worn by dacers represent the Guardians ,Protectors and the Gods and Goddesses. huge crowd gather to highten the sense of the ocassion.
Most of the festivals are annnual monastic festivals.Among non monastic festivals are Losar(New Year) festival and the notable Ladakh festival organised by the Jammu and Kashmir Government.
Enjoy the energy,procession,performances,colorful costumes,music ,dancing and art of the festivals.Get deeper into the soul of Ladakh.