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Thousands across the globe join to celebrate Hemis festival
The festival marks the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava
By Stanzin Dasal, Monday, July 17, 2017

The two-day annual festival ‘Hemis Tsechu’ was observed with much of enthusiasm on July 3 and 4 at Hemis monastery, Leh.  Silk brocade of Gyalsras Rinpoche was unfurled and displayed for the blessings.

On July 3, the 10th lunar day, ‘Tsechu’ a series of different mask dance was performed by the monks in the monastery courtyard.

On the first day, the 13 black hat dancers performed the first sacred dance. Evoking the wrathful energy of Hayagriya, the black hat dancers cut off all evil influences to allow the festival to unfurl in the most beneficial and successful way. Followed by Sixteen brass mask dance, the eight manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava perform the dance displaying the principles that the guru spontaneously demonstrated as per different circumstances.

Other mask dance, including , the Twelve Zhing Kyong, the protectors of the truth, Serkyem, four goma ( gatekeepers) for the welfare of all sentient beings,  the four lords of the graveyards, five Chemchog Heruka (fierce of Guru Padmasambhava)  the five Tshog len ( Dakinis),  the ten great king were also performed.

Stating the auspicious day as the great festival of Guru Padmasambhava, His Eminence Thuksras Rinpoche said, “Hemis festival marks the celebration of the birth anniversary of Guru Padmasambhava, who has emitted immense light and flourished the Vajrayana teachings”.

“We don’t have a chance to receive a direct blessing of Guru Padmasambhava in person but on this auspicious occasion, through mask dance, the activities of Guru Padmasambhava is enacted to bless the people and to bring peace and prosperity.”

On the last day, the monks assemble and worship Gyalpo Pehar (Dharmapala), the protector of Hemis.  Sacred mask dance of the 13 black hat dancers, eleven Acharyas, Maning (The protector Mahakala as Maning), Serkyem, Mahe Dongchan- the buffalo face and with the dance of Hashang and Hatuk the festival came to an end.

Hemis monastery was founded by the great yogi Staksang Raspa  and the King Senge Namgyal. Around the year 1730, Gyalsras Rinpoche, a royal monk regarded as the third reincarnate of Staksang, carried all round development of Hemis.  He initiated the annual Wangchog festival both at Chemdey and Hemis monasteries and the Hemis Tsechu festival at Hemis. 

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