Welcome to Hemis, 45 km from Leh where we were staying. You can see photos of Leh in my previous posting.
We were fortunate to be in Ladakh at the time of the annual Hemis Tse-chu (festival) held at the Hemis Tibetan Buddhist gompa (monastery) at 3,657 metres (12,000 feet). It is one of the highest monasteries in the world. It is also where I got my first taste of altitude sickness!
At the festival the monks take part in masked dances as you can see in this first photo of one of the beautiful masks. More of the dances later.
This occasion was so full of photo opportunities that I have made this issue a bumper issue with 40 photos. I hope you enjoy them and it gives you a feel for the visual feast that we witnessed.
These first photos were taken on the way to
Hemis The 8 stupas you can see represent the
8 major events in the Buddha's life including
his birth, enlightenment and death
Incredible rock formation
Very cold, clear and energetic!
The view as we climb up to Hemis
Another stupa at the
beginning of Hemis village
Having fun taking a precarious shortcut
Contemplation; seated and standing
A boy monk making his way to the Hemis
Classic Ladakhi architecture
The people are so colourful in every way
At the entrance to the Monastery. The Festival
is a big attraction
Inside the monastery courtyard where the
masked dance was being held
The event is spectacular in this beautiful
...with an amazing backdrop
The Festival of Hemis Tse-chu
is a 200 year old tradition
Great expressions on the masks
The masks and costumes worn by the dancer
primarily represent various guardians of the
Drug-pa order, of which Hemis is the leading
establishment in Ladakh
The highest viewing spot
Essentially the Hemis dance-drama depicts
the magical feats of Padmasambhava in his
eight different manifestations. He is said to
have transmitted Tantric Buddhism to
Bhutan and Tibet and neighbouring
countries in the 8th century
Ladies with heavy artillery
Like a box at the opera! Slightly different
This lady is on the roof!
I really love her fasion sense
Part of the monastic ritual
These guys were the jokers and brought
some welcome light relief
A moment in the crowd. What a great jumper
on the little boy
This Lama's costume is pretty cool too
This monk grabbed somebody's bottle of
water and gave a few people a shower
When the wind blows it kicks up the dust
A scary row of masked and armed dancers.
A rather less scary row of local women
My camera took this photo, not me!
It was attracted by this girl's beauty
and her gorgeous hair......
A still moment
This woman is wearing the lovely but heavy
Another shot of the beautiful surroundings
as we reach the car to come away from
Hemis. By this time I am feeling pretty
horrible due to the altitude
Stark and stunning
The green and blue make such a delicious contrast
A final shot of the snow capped mountains
For those of you who would
like more info on the monastery
Next time I'll show you photos
of our trip to the Pangong lake.
A real ordeal for me but still
Thanks for coming