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A once-in-12-years festival of Buddhist spirituality, culture and tradition began on 16 September 2016 at the Hemis monastery of Drukpa lineage in Ladakh region of India. The festival will conclude on 22 September 2016.
Hundreds of thousands of monks, devotees and tourists have reached Ladakh for the Naropa Festival, which is also called as the Kumbh Mela of the Himalayas.
The Naropa Festival draws huge numbers of Buddhists, especially those from the Drukpa branch which is traditionally practised in Ladakh and Bhutan.
Dancers in bright, silk costumes and striking headgear performed to drum and pipe music as part of the festival being held in a mountain village to commemorate the 1000th birth anniversary of Buddhist saint Naropa.
On the other hand, a 60-foot-tall silk embroidery brocade of Buddha Amitabha was unfurled on 19 September 2016.
The 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the 1000-year-old Drukpa Order based in the Himalayas, unfurled the brocade amidst chanting of prayers.
A special stand was erected at the Naropa Palace, the venue of the carnival, to display the largest silk embroidered thanka or brocade.
About Saint Naropa
• Naropa was an Indian Buddhist Mahasiddha.
• He was a contemporary of Atisa, a Buddhist Bengali religious leader and master.
• Naropa was born in a high status Brahmin family of Bengal.
• At the age of 28, he entered the famous Buddhist University at Nalanda where he studied both Sutra and Tantra.
• He eventually gained the title Guardian of the Northern gate.
• He was the disciple of Tilopa and brother, or some sources say partner and pupil, of Niguma.
• Some accounts relate that Naropa was the personal teacher of Marpa Lotsawa. Other accounts suggest that Marpa held Naropa's lineage through intermediary disciples only.
About Hemis Monastry
• The Hemis Monastry is a Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Drukpa Lineage, located in Hemis, Ladakh.
• The monastery existed before the 11th Century.
• Saint Naropa is connected with this monastery.
• The monastery was re-established in 1672 by the Ladakhi king Sengge Namgyal.
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