LEH: The five-day Naropa Festival, one of the Himalayan region’s biggest festivals, ended with a spectacular display of cultural events. Headlining the festival were Bollywood singers Sonu Nigam, Kailash Kher, Papon, Aditi Singh Sharma and Akriti Kakar, who performed to massive crowds in one of the highest altitude concert venues in the world.
Setting the tone of the festival, Ladakh native, Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche led prayers for the wellness of all living beings on the opening day. This was followed by cultural performances, an archery competition, fashion shows, and concert performances by both Himalayan and Bollywood artists.
The festival was officially kicked off on September 16 with the unveiling of Naropa’s “Crown Ornament,” along with a set of ancient spiritual relics of Buddhist tradition. These rarely-seen holy artifacts were on display for all five days of the festival, drawing large crowds and pilgrims.
Attendees of this formal affair included the Chief Executive Councillor LAHDC Dorjey Motup (chief guest), as well as Gyalwa Dokhampa, Drukpa Thuksey Rinpoche, Khamdrak Rinpoche, and a procession of venerable masters, monks and nuns from across the Himalayas and beyond.
Additional attendees included the international ambassadors. Ladakh’s first EDM Album, “Rhythm of the Stars,” also debuted during the Naropa Festival. Produced by young Ladakhi musical talents, the ground-breaking album is a beautiful mix of electronica and the traditional sounds of the region. The world-famous “Kung Fu Nuns” of the Drukpa lineage of Buddhism made an appearance on the stage as well.
They performed a self-choreographed “Dharma Dance” while Ladakhi students showcased an indigenous fashion show titled, “Incredible Ladakh”. A cultural highlight of the festival was the unfurling of a great Himalayan treasure – the largest silk embroidery of Buddha Amitabha.
This immense work of craftsmanship and art stretches 70 foot in height, and exposure is limited only to special events. The five-day festival concluded with a new Guinness World Record for Ladakh, India. Earning the title of “Largest Ladakhi Dance,” 299 Ladakhi women gracefully performed the famous dance of “Shondol”.
Former Ambassador (Prof) Phunchok Stobdan presided over as the chief guest of the closing ceremony, which culminated in a featured performance by Sonu Nigam. Additional attendees included MP Ladakh Thupstan Tsewang, MLA Leh Nawang Rigzin Jora, EC LAHDC Gyal P Wangyal, EC Agriculture Tsering Wangdus, EC Tourism Tsering Wangdus, SSP T Gyalpo, former CEC Rigzin Spalbar, several Councillors, and religious and political heads.