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The Spituk Gustor Festival is a celebration of peace and prosperity. A symbol of traditional Ladakhi culture and traditions, this two-day festival showcases vibrantly colourful festivities. It is celebrated at the Spituk Monastery which is located approximately 8 km away from Leh. On the same day, the Geluk Pa Order of Tibetan Buddhism founded by Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419) is also commemorated. The annual festival is a winter celebration that aims at increasing brotherhood and friendship among believers. The mask dance, ‘Chams’ is one of the major attractions of the festival. Monks wearing colourful garbs perform enchanting dances, depicting different deities Paldan Lhamo, Mahakala, etc. This festival is observed during the 28th and 29th days of the 11th month of the Tibetan Calendar. In the local language, ‘Gustor’ means ‘Sacrifice of the 29th Day.’ The festival celebrates the victory of good over evil. Seven days prior to the festival, prayers begin at the monastery. To celebrate the Spituk Gustor festival, the serene Spituk Monastery gets crowded with visitors from all over the world. 


Although the history of the Spituk Gustor Festival might not be traceable, it is said that Buddhism in India flourished during the reign of The Great King Ashoka in 200 BC. About Spituk Monastery, it was founded by Od-de, who was the elder brother of Lha Lama Changchub Od, when he came for Maryul visit in the 11th century.

After that, a translator named Lochen Rinchen Zangpo visited the place and named it 'Spituk' which means 'Exemplary'. Lochen Rinchen Zangpo aka Mahaguru was a translator of Sanskrit Buddhist Texts during the second diffusion of Buddhism in Tibet. It is believed that he had built several monasteries or Gompas.

A prominent winter celebration in Leh & Ladakh, Spituk Gustor is a cultural and spiritual extravaganza that attracts locals and tourists from far and wide areas. Witnessing the traditional rituals of the monasteries is the best way to know more about the unique culture and traditions practices in Leh & Ladakh. 



Have a look at the major attractions of Spituk Gustor and look forward to attending this visually-appealing extravaganza. 

1. Prayers: The charm and enthusiasm of the Spituk Gustor Festival can be felt way before it is observed. The prayers and worship start 7 days before the day of the festival.

2. Cham Dance: It is the famous dance of Ladakh that is performed in almost every Ladakh festival. Spituk Monastery also enjoys this dramatic dance form. In Cham Dance, Lamas wear animal masks (made from paper and clay) and beautiful spiky headgears which are usually in yellow color. The Cham Dance represents a drama that is based on the victory of good over evil. It is believed that the mask dance existed since the 8th century AD in Ladakh. It is performed in several ways including pair dancing, group dancing, solo dancing, etc. 

3. Music: Cham Dance is supported by beautiful and melodious music and tunes of longhorns, cymbals, conch shells, bells, and many other instruments.

4. Get-together of Monks: The festival witnesses a number of monks across the world that including Stok, Sankar, Saboo, and Spituk congregate at the monastery. 

5. Burning of Evil Effigy: The festival ends with the burning of evil effigies that represents the ultimate exister is good, not evil. 

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