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Kumbh Mela of the Himalayas begins in Leh

Manmath Nayak1 |

A grand spiritual gathering that happens once in 12 years and is referred to as the "Kumbh Mela of the Himalayas" has begun in Ladakh’s biggest monastery, Hemis, to commemorate the millennial birth anniversary of the scholar saint Naropa.

The month-long mega congregation, also known as Naropa festival, started with spiritual leader Gyalwang Drukpa’s grand welcome. Drukpa is the spiritual head of the Buddhist Drukpa Lineage based in the Himalayas.

Revered as the reincarnation of Naropa, Drukpa leader donned the six bone secret ornaments of the scholar-saint at the Naro palace to grant the Grand Chakrasamvara Empowerment.

Discussing the importance of the six ornaments which includes crown, earrings, necklace, seralkha, bangle and anklet, the chairperson of the organising committee, Thuksey Rinpoche said, "It represents the inner spirituality developed qualities.

"This week-long festivity stands strong and firm on the two main concrete pillars of His Holiness’ message, vision and goal of eco-friendly way of living, gender equality and woman empowerment," Rinpoche added.

A series of book releases, published by the Hemis Monastery, were also conducted by Drupka leader with Jammu and Kashmir’s governor N N Vohra, who was the chief guest for the programme.

Praising Gyalwang Drukpa’s for his humanitarian initiatives, the J&K governor said, "This is particularly an important occasion not only because we are celebrating Naropa festival but also because His Holiness is here today. He holds a particular important position in the lineage of Naropa.

"I feel privileged to meet him… He came here all the way by cycle after travelling 2,500 kms for two months. I would like to congratulate him." 

Gyalwang Drukpa emphasised on educating people about the importance of eco-friendly way of living and nature.

"We really have to work and push ourselves for the benefits of all the beings and also towards the non-violence movement," he said, adding without nature humanity will not survive.

The programme was followed by the cultural performances of the dance groups from Nepal and Bhutan.

Drukpa Kung Fu Nuns also displayed their drum beating skills and Dharma dance.