This is in continuity with our previous post on the Mystical Origins Of Naropa Festival, we bring all the activities that take place at the colourful festival. Half a million people from across India, central Asia and beyond gathered in Ladakh to commemorate Naropa’s millennium birth anniversary in one of the largest events of the decade. Also known as the Kumbh Mela of Himalayas this month long festival includes several rare cultural events that are believed to grant spiritual liberation upon sight. Naropa 2016 also marks the largest assembly of Drukpa masters under one roof.
It all begins with the sacred six bone ornaments been taken to the Naro Palace from the most renowned Hemis monastery in a grand traditional procession. The resonant sounding of the gongs, drums, flutes and the sight of His Holiness and Drukpa leaders walking downhill in traditional attires is simply mesmerizing. On reaching the Naro palace His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa hoisted the Naropa flag and officially declared the auspicious festival open. The very enthralled devotees eagerly witnessed His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa donning the Six bone Ornaments Of Naropa and initiation of Chakrasambra to them as a part of the tradition. The spirituality of the place is something that you need to experience to believe.
The six bone ornaments include crown, earrings, necklace, seralkha, bangle, ankle and are considered one of the most important aspects and holiest treasures of Himalayan Buddhism. It is to be believed that devotees who sight these Ornaments will have the trajectory of their current life altered and will ensure them a favorable rebirth. The ceremony included the melodious chanting of mantras and prayers for a good two hours. The rhythmic flow of the chanting uplifts your soul to the highest degree possible. Thereafter it was announced that the public will be provided an opportunity to pay homage of the six bone ornaments in close proximity round the clock until the third day of the festival.
After the auspicious ceremony, His Holiness Gyalwang Drukpa addressed the crowd about secular philosophy celebrating a diversity of faiths and cultures. He spoke on how it is important to “Live to love”, love nature and learn the eco-friendly way of living and encourage the use of kindness and wisdom to heal the modern world challenges. The addressees were awed by his presence, demeanor, and remarkable manifestation. The sermons of the “Rock Star Monk” also included pertinent issues like women empowerment and preservation of the ecology of the Himalayas.
Post lunch it was a carnival of spirituality, beauty, culture, sights and sound. The evening began with a Drukpa Kung Fu Nuns displaying their drum beating skills and Dharma dance. These Kung Fu nuns had cycled all the way from Kathmandu to Ladakh. There were traditional music and dance performances by the artist from not only Ladakh but also from Nepal and Bhutan. Cultural plays depicting the lives of Buddha and other leaders of the Buddhist faith kept the audience enthralled . Professional turquoise Head geared dancers from across the Himalayan terrain gave a marvelous performance as a tribute to the yogi and Naropa .The festival also attracted its share of celebrity interest, with it’s favorite Bollywood singer KK and his band performing his latest hits as a tribute to Naropa. What bedazzled me from the evening was in seeing His Holiness sitting amidst the commoners, enjoying and participating with full vigor and enthusiasm and the monks lip syncing with the singer.
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A once in a lifetime experience which was spiritually uplifting. Share with us in the comments below if you have similar experiences.