The Kumbamela of Himalayas Naropa Festival
A festival in Ladakh held once in twelve years in honor of Naropa, the Buddhist Manasiddha attracts avid pilgrims from Bhutan, Thailand, Nepal, Vietnam and Malaysia. A variety of views can be seen along the journey to Ladakh and I went there to see the Naropa Fest.
The first Naropa Fest was held in 1980 and the former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi has took part in it along with half lakhs of pilgrims. Then again in the year 1992 around 80000 pilgrims came for the fest and in 2004 the number increased to 135000. In 2016 the festival was coordinated by the Buddhist monk Gyalwang Drukpa and the rituals longed for about one week. Many people from India and around the world came for attending the fest. The cultural fest conducted by many profound artists made it very colorful. The Naropa fest of this year has one more peculiarity as it was the 1000th birth anniversary of Naropa. The pilgrims from Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia etc reached for attending the fest.
The kung-fu monks conducted a bicycle ride from Nepal to Ladakh which happened to be one of the highlight of the festival. Many monks gave the greatest messages to the world through their speeches. The next festival will be in 2028 and until then the believers will live on by holding those messages on humanity given by the monks.