Jorge Sanchez (Spain):
If you happen to be in Leh during the full moon of June, then do not miss in Hemis Gompa the Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava Festival (although in Rumtek Gompa, Sikkim, where I lived some time like a monk, this festival, celebrated one moon earlier, is infinitely better), performing dances with masks.
Padmasambhava introduced Buddhism in Tibet in the VIII century.
When the festival ended I started a trekking to cross Zanskar, until Manali, in Himachal Pradesh.
The trekking through Padum (Zanskar) and down to Manali is very scenic andyou will pass in the neighborhood of many fantastic (like Meteora type in Greece, almost hidden up on the rocks) enchanting Buddhist monasteries practicing tantric rites of the old Bon religion, where you will be more than welcome if you make the effort to climb to them. I was very gently treated in Phuktal Gompa, at about ten days walk from Kargil, probably the most spectacular monastery in Zanskar, sandwiched between a giant grotto and a vertical rocky wall.
Date posted: July 2013
Have you been to Hemis Gompa? Share your experiences!