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Ladakh FestivalThe Ladakh Festival is a major cultural event organised annually in the month of September by the Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Department. The festival represents the traditional culture of Ladakh, which is a mesmerizing blend of the Buddhist and Muslim cultures. The main objective of the festival is to revive and promote the richness, depth and pageantry of Ladakh’s centuries-old culture, traditions and folk heritage. One of the most attractive features of the Ladakh Festival are the colourful traditional Mask Dances performed in the monasteries by lamas wearing their ritual regalia in accompaniment to the rhythm of cymbals, flutes and trumpets. The Yak, Lion and Tashishpa dances depict the many legends and fables of Ladakh. The village archery festivals and cultural programmes presented by the local tribes form an interesting component of the festival. People throng the streets in hundreds, fabulously bedecked with gold and silver ornaments.

A major polo tournament called the "Ladakh Festival Cup" is also organised as part of the festival in which locals, particularly the Dards of Dras, display their talent at this ancient sport of the western Himalayas. In the Zanskar Valley a traditional sport called "Saka" is organised, in which a number of colourfully attired horses are used in a quaint racing competition.



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