The state of Jammu and Kashmir has diverse cultural traditions. The three provinces of the Indian state are Kashmir, Jammu, and Ladakh, and each is different than the next. This fascinating diversity is also apparent in the festivals in Jammu and Kashmir that are most popular in each of these regions. From the point of view of an outsider, fairs and festivals represent a crash course in the culture of a people. Keeping this in mind, here is a list of the ten most famous festivals in Jammu And Kashmir.
Top 10 Festivals In Jammu And Kashmir
Mughal Emperor Jahangir wasn’t wrong when he said, “If there is a heaven on earth, it’s here, it’s here, it’s here.” Jammu And Kashmir truly deserves to be called a paradise, not only for its incredible scenic beauty, but for the unique cultural heritage this state has. The cultural richness of J&K is reflected in its festivals. These vibrant and joyous celebrations across Jammu And Kashmir will make you want to visit this paradise at once!
- Galdan Namchot – 21 December
- Spituk Gustor Zanskar – 22 – 23 January
- Hemis Festival – 30 June – 1 July
- Tulip Festival in Jammu and Kashmir – 1 – 30 April
- Losar – 24 – 26 February
- Sindhu Darshan Festival – 12 – 14 June
- Amarnath Yatra – Starts on 28 June
- Ladakh Festival – 22 – 25 September
- Matho Nagrang – 8 – 9 March
- Dosmoche – 21 – 23 February
1. Galdan Namchot
This is counted amongst Jammu and Kashmir important festivals and in Tibetan Buddhism. The festival marks the birth anniversary of Je Tsongkhapa, an important proponent of the Gelug branch of Tibetan Buddhism. On the fifth day of Galdan Namchot, Ladakh marks its new year called the Losar. The festival is marked most prominently by the extensive lighting of the Leh Palace. Monasteries and homes are also decorated.
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Galdan Namchot Date 2019: 21 December
2. Spituk Gustor Zanskar
Spituk Gustor Zanskar is a traditional festivals of Jammu and Kashmir. This is a Tibetan festival celebrated in the Ladakhi monasteries of Thiksey, Spituk, and Karsha Nanzkar. Gustor stands for sacrifices made on the penultimate day of the month, and the festival is celebrated on the 30th and 31st October of every year. The festival is marked by special early morning prayers.
Visitors can witness the reenactment of the killing of the anti-Buddhist emperor of Tibet Langdarma by Buddhist monks. At the end of the festival, the sacrificial cake Torma is eaten. The cake itself is distributed by the monk who leads the Black Hat dancers. Amongst the most charming and ritualistic festivals in Jammu and Kashmir, Gustor represents the victory of good over evil. Those of you who want to witness the culture of Jammu and Kashmir can plan a trip to Ladakh during the time.
Spituk Gustor Date 2020: 22 – 23 January
3. Hemis Festival
This is one of the most elusive Jammu and Kashmir festivals. Celebrated every 12 years at the Hemis Monastery at Hemis (about 45 kilometres from Leh), the festival honors Lord Padmasambhava, known as Guru Rinpoche in the region. The ritualistic festival is believed to bring spiritual and physical health to people. The ceremony is elaborate and features several ceremonial Tibetan items. However, the most fascinating aspect of the whole business are the Mask Dancers, who perform what is known as the Chams Dance. Hemis is probably the most colorful festival celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir.
Hemis Festival Date 2020: 30 June – 1 July
4. Tulip Festival in Jammu and Kashmir
This is a modern day celebration of tulips at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Tulip Garden in Srinagar. During the first 15 days of April every year, the spot is prepared for Asia’s largest tulip show attended by tulip connoisseurs, tourists, and also the local people. There are about 50 varieties and dozens of colours of tulips prepared specially for the festival.
The onset of spring in the valley is marked by the blooming of loads of beautiful flowers, and the Tulip Festival in Jammu and Kashmir is a great place to witness the most gorgeous sights of the season in the city.
Tulip Festival 2020 Date: 1 – 30 April
The Ladakhi king Jamyang Namgyal was once told that he should postpone his war against Skardu until the end of winter, which was the traditional start of the new year throughout Tibet. However, the king decided to celebrate the new year two months early instead, and Ladakh has since marked the new year festival of Losar early.
Losar is traditionally celebrated for 15 days and is one of the famous festivals celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir. A decoratory sheep’s head is made from colored butter, and incense made from rhododendron and juniper is commonly used in Ladakhi homes.
Losar Date 2020: 24 – 26 February
6. Sindhu Darshan Festival
This is a modern day festival meant as a celebration of the Sindhu River as a symbol of the oneness of the various strands that make the country. Since 1997, the Sindhu Darshan has happened every year on the banks of the Indus in Shey near Leh. Visitors immerse water from rivers near their homes into the Sindhu in a ceremony organised by a joint group of religious organisations. Later, monks pray on the banks and there is a bonfire at night.
Sindhu Darshan Date 2020: 12 – 14 June
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7. Amarnath Yatra
The Amarnath cave is one of the holiest sites for Hindus. With its popularity increasing year-after-year, this has become one of the most awaited Jammu and Kashmir festivals 2020. Located about 140 km from the capital of Srinagar, the cave houses a stalagmite formation that is believed to be a representation of Shiva. Amarnath Yatra is the annual pilgrimage to the cave. The Yatra begins with a 43 km trek from Nunwan to Chandanwari villages in the Pahalgam region of Anantnag. After a night at Sheshnag lake and Panchtarni camps, visitors reach the glacial cave-temple.
Amarnath Yatra Date 2020: Starts on 28 June
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8. Ladakh Festival
This is the main festival of Jammu and Kashmir‘s Ladakh region. Ladakh Festival is a unique convergence of culture and enthusiasm. It is the harvest festival of Jammu and Kashmir. Held during the first 15 days of the month of September, the festival witnesses a number of colorful cultural troupes from the various parts of Ladakh that fill the major streets of Leh with the traditional music and dance of Jammu and Kashmir. Archery and polo competitions are also held during this festival and are wonderful treats for spectators.
The Jammu and Kashmir harvest festival in the region of Ladakh also takes place within these 15 days.
Ladakh Festival Date 2020: 22 – 25 September
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9. Matho Nagrang
The monastic festivals are a major expression of Ladakhi culture and identity, and the Matho Nagrang is another such festival. Celebrated at the Matho Monastery near the city of Leh, the Matho Nagrang is marked by traditional dances performed by the monks of the Matho in decorated silver robes and fabulously decorated masks that are meant to represent the various gods.
The highlight of the festival are the two oracles that appear before the people at the ceremony after two months of shutting themselves from the world in solitary meditation.
Matho Nagrang Date 2020: 8 – 9 March
Dosmoche is an adorable Jammu and Kashmir festival name and it is also considered as one of the famous festivals celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir. Ladakhis throng the stretch between Moti Market to Leh Bazaar to have fun and witness the traditional dances performed by the monks in the Leh, Likir, and Diskit monasteries. The last of the new year festivals, the Dosmoche is especially renowned for its music, the beat of the drums and the prayers, and is one of the main festivals of Jammu and Kashmir.
Dosmoche Date 2020: 21 – 23 February
There are many more festivals that can be added to the list of festivals in Jammu and Kashmir that are a collective expression of the deep rooted culture of the various regions. To be a part of these celebrations and witness all the fervour first-hand, book your trip to Kashmir with TravelTriangle!
Frequently Asked Questions About Festivals In Jammu And Kashmir
A. Some of the main festivals of Kashmir include Lohri, Holi, Navratri, Baisakhi or New Year Day, Guru Ravi Das’s Birthday, Tihar and Sankranti.
A. The Dumhal is a famous dance in the, performed by men of the Wattal region of Kashmir valley. The traditional folk dance performed by women the Rouff.
A. The official language of Jammu and Kashmir is Urdu, however, the local language of the state is Kashmiri which is an Indo-Aryan language.
A. The staple food of every Kashmiri is rice and alongside that mutton, chicken, and fish also holds prime importance in a Kashmiri household.
A. Baisakhi is one of the major harvest festivals celebrated in Jammu and Kashmir.
A. Jammu and Kashmir’s culture is an amalgamation of various religious practices including Islam, Hinduism, Buddhism, and Sikhism. It is often addressed as Kashmiriyat.
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