CELEBRATING 800 YEARS OF LEGACY
IN LADAKH July
His Holiness the Twelfth Gyalwang
in Six Ornaments of Naropa (Ladakh, 2004)
between the main Himalayan mountain range and the Tibetan
plateau, Ladakh used to be a little Himalayan kingdom ruled by
the descendents of 8th century Tibetan King Trisong Deutsen.
Ladakh is a part of the Jammu Kashmir state of India. As its
culture and landscape are quite similar to that of Tibet, Ladakh
is also described as 'Little Tibet'.
had a very strong connection with Ladakh and its neighboring
Zanskar and Kashmir. Since Tsangpa Gyare, the 1st Gyalwang
Drukpa who founded the Drukpa lineage in the 12th century AD,
was recognized as the authentic reincarnation of Naropa, this
explains the historical connections between Ladakh, Naropa and
the Drukpa lineage.
later history of Ladakh also elucidates the spiritual link
between the various Drukpa masters and the kingdom of Ladakh.
early 17th century AD, a great master of the Drukpa lineage
known as Taktsang Repa came to Ladakh under the instruction of
the fifth Gyalwang Drukpa Pagsam Wangpo. With the support of
King Sengye Namgyal, he founded the famous Hemis Monastery.
Monastery was founded by Taktsang Repa and it is located just
below the holy cave of Gotsangpa, one of the foremost disciples
of the first Gyalwang Drukpa. Gotsangpa came to Ladakh from
Tibet in the early 13th century on his way to India.
Repa's arrival resulted in the flourishing of the Drukpa lineage
in Ladakh and neighboring Himalayan regions. And Taktsang Repa
and his successive reincarnations became the spiritual gurus of
Ladakhi Kings and their people.
Holiness the Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa often says that Ladakh is
one of his favorite places to practice and to teach. It is the
love and warm of the people that make him return to Ladakh
frequently to share his knowledge and his experiences. And since
the people of Ladakh and the surrounding regions are very
familiar with and devoted to Naropa and his lineage, for three
times sepately in 1980, 1992 and 2004, His Holiness had chosen
Ladakh to be the place to display the Six Ornaments of Naropa.
The last time His Holiness displayed the Ornaments, over 130,000
people from the Himalayas and a few thousand foreigners
participated in the Naropa Ceremony in 2004.
The above text was extracted from the video "A
Tribute to Naropa and His Lineage - The Sight Liberating Naropa
Holiness commented in his website (www.drukpa.org) about Ladakh:
The present Taktsang Rinpoche
I first went to Ladakh in 1976, at the request of Taktsang
Rinpoche, to take care of Hemis Monastery and its branches in his
absence. Rinpoche went to Tibet and was not able to leave Tibet due to
the political situation. So for now I am helping in whatever way I can
to help Hemis and its branch monasteries, by going to Ladakh at least
once in a year to give teachings and some encouragement to the local
monasteries and the people of Ladakh.
Monastery has an annual festival named after the monastery - Hemis
Festival - which attracts so many tourists that Ladakh has benefited
quite substantially from the income deriving from tourism. Thanks to
Gyalsey Rinpoche. Gyalsey Rinpoche, who succeeded the second Taktsang
Repa (the reincarnation of the founder of Hemis Monastery) as the
spiritual leader of Hemis, was the grandson of the great Ladakhi Dharma
King, Sengye Namgyal. It was under Gyalsey Rinpoche's supervision that
Hemis flourished. After his return from spiritual training in Tibet,
Gyalsey Rinpoche introduced the present Hemis Festival. Ever since, the
festival has become a local traditional celebration of the victory of
good over evil.
Festival is normally held on the tenth and eleventh day of the fifth
Tibetan month. In Ladakh, these two days are designated by the local
government as public holidays, as the Hemis Festival is not only a
celebration of Guru Padmasambhava's victorious activities over negative
forces, but also an important event reminding the local people of their
the ardent request of the local Ladakhi people, His Holiness the
Twelfth Gyalwang Drukpa has agreed to celebrate the 800 years of
legacy of the Drukpa Lineage there.