A 60-foot-tall silk embroidery brocade of Buddha Amitabha was unfurled on Monday at once-in-12-years carnival of spirituality, culture and tradition near the 17th century Hemis monastery of Drukpa lineage, the largest such in the Himalayas.
The 12th Gyalwang Drukpa, the spiritual head of the 1,000-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 festivity, to display the largest silk embroidered “thanka” or brocade.
Event organisers said tens of thousands of Buddhist followers, mainly from Ladakh, Bhutan and Nepal, were gathered at the venue to get blessing of longevity and good health by witnessing it.
Explaining the display of six bone sacred ornaments of the great Indian saint Naropa during the festival, spiritual leader Thuksey Rinpoche told IANS: “The display of six bone ornaments is rare indeed since this opportunity comes only once in 12 years.”
It is believed that the sight of the ornaments will alter the trajectory of one’s current life and will ensure a favourable rebirth.
The fourth edition of the Naropa festival is attribute to the 1,000th birth anniversary of saint Naropa. The week-long celebrations that began on September 16 will conclude on September 22.
It is rightly called the Kumbh of the Himalayas.
Belaidi Nicolas of Hong Kong-based company Panel Oled Ltd. told IANS that LED bulbs of the total 3,000 watts have been installed to light up the Naropa Palace, just two kilometres short of the Hemis monastery, during the festivity.
Over 200 kung fu nuns belonging to various nunneries of the Drukpa sect, who reached Leh in September after traversing 2,500 km on cycles from Kathmandu, also gave drum as well as theatrical performances during the festival.
After the conclusion of the festivities, a 10-day-long eco “pad yatra” or walk led by the Gyalwang Drukpa along with a team of thousands of monks, nuns and volunteers will be carried out in interiors of Ladakh to create awareness about the hazards of non-biodegradable waste from September 22.
Prime Minister Indira Gandhi attended the first Naropa festival in June 1980. At that time 50,000 devotees had attended the festival.