Naropa Fes­ti­val re­turns to Ladakh af­ter 12 years

Bhutan Times - - Home - Deki Lha­zom

Ladakh’s largest Bud­dhist fes­ti­val, Naropa events, will be held in Hemis Monastery from 16 to 22 Septem­ber. Known as the Kumbh Mela of the Hi­malayas, the fes­ti­val, held once ev­ery 12 years in the mon­key year, is ex­pected to draw half a mil­lion devo­tees from across the Hi­malaya.

The fes­ti­val cel­e­brates the life of the tow­er­ing Bud­dhist saint Naropa. Naropa, an In­dian schol- ar-saint, is known for his pro­found con­tri­bu­tions to Bud­dhist phi­los­o­phy. His legacy had tra­versed the Hi­malayas and shaped the iden­tity and cul­ture of many peo­ples and con­tin­ues to have a last­ing im­pact on the mod­ern world. Upon his mo­ment of nir­vana, Naropa is be­lieved to have been of­fered the Six Bone or­na­ments by Daki­nis from the sky. These or­na­ments are revered relics of Bud­hhism and his­toric sym­bols of a great Hi­malayan odyssey to this day.

The event is con­sid­ered one of the big­gest re­li­gious car­ni­vals in Ladakh for it brings forth rare cul­tural pro­grams which are be­lieved to grant lib­er­a­tion upon sight.

The event also wit­nesses the assem­bly of Drukpa masters from across the Hi­malayas. The high­light of the event is the dis­play of the famed, sa­cred six bone or­na­ments be­long­ing to Naropa by his Ho­li­ness the Gyal­wang Drukpa, the head of the Drukpa or­der. The six bone or­na­ments are con­sid­ered some of the holi­est trea­sures of the Hi­malayas and are the sym­bolic ori­gin of many of the foun­da­tional prac­tices of Hi­malayan Bud­dhism.

The Drukpa lin­eage or Drukpa Kagyu is con­sid­ered an in­te­gral part of the Hi­malayas and cen­tral asian legacy and cul­ture. Dat­ing back to Naropa, the Drukpa lin­eage is wo­ven through­out the his­tory of Bud­dhism. The Drukpa lin­eage fol­lows the Ma­hayana Bud­dhist tra­di­tion in phi­los­o­phy, namely the phi­los­o­phy of “en­light­en­ment for the ben­e­fit of oth­ers.’’

Dru­pes Kagyu be­ing the state re­li­gion of Bhutan, many Bhutanese pil­grims and Drukpa masters from the country are ex­pected to at­tend the event.

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