Naropa Festival 2016 Diaries: Day 1 of Celebrations Begin! 

Day 1: Naropa Festival 2016 – The Kumbh Mela of the Himalayas
Naropa isn’t just a festival, it is a celebration of the biggest form. This year I was invited to attend the Naropa Festival and I was told almost 5 lakh people will attend. At the venue, Naro Palace, built specially for this celebration, almost 10 lakh people turned up on day 1. It was massive. People folded hands in prayers and chants filled the air. The weather was just right. The procession started at 9 am where the sacred six bone ornaments were taken to Naro Palace from the Hemis Monastery. The procession went on for two kilometres where his holiness the Gyalwang Drukpa hoisted the flag.
For those of you who don’t know, Naropa festival is named after Naropa (1016 – 1100 CE), who was an Indian scholar and saint. He heralded the beginning of a rich tradition in the Buddhist philosophy. His legacy and lessons traversed the Himalayas, shaping the identity and culture or many people and continues to have a lasting impact till today. The Gyalwang Drukpa is revered as the authentic reincarnation of Naropa. He is a world renowned humanitarian, author, environmentalist and a preacher of gender equality.
The Gyalwang Drukpa initiated the Chakrasambra to his devotees. People from all parts of the world attended the festival at Naro Palace in Ladakh. There were speeches by the governor and his holiness about going green and saving the environment.
This was followed by many cultural performances by local villagers. The dragon dance by Drukpa’s Kunfu nuns stood out.
After a splendid meal of piping hot chole bhature, we went on to the piece de resistance, the performance by Bollywood singer KK!
We got back to out hotel really late at night but we had a splendid time at the festival.

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