Buddhist monastery in Ladakh celebrates Spituk Gustor festival

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Ladakh, (Jammu and Kashmir), Jan 16(ANI): The 'Spituk Gustor', an annual two-day monastic festival took place at the Spituk Monastery in the Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir.

This festival is usually held during the 11th month of Tibetan calendar and it marks the victory of virtue over evil.

A hallmark of this Spituk Gustor is the mask dance performed by the monks who sport various masks representing the guardians, protectors and the gods and goddesses.

The festival is celebrated for the betterment of mankind.

"In reality this is not a fair, but a religious event where every god and goddess is being offered prayers in different forms for the betterment of mankind," said Tsering Motup, Nambardar, Spituk Village.

The Spituk Monastery is known for its collection of Buddhist artefacts. It houses a collection of ancient masks, antique arms, icons and numerous Thanka paintings, all done in vegetable-based colours.

Spituk Gompa (monastery), that dates back to the 11th century, is located atop a hill, overlooking the gushing waters of the River Indus, around 18 kilometres from Leh, the District Headquarters of Ladakh.

"The festival is being celebrated from many centuries. Mask dance is performed for two days. Prayers start seven days before and dances are performed in the main two days," said Lobzang Rinchen, Coordinator, Spituk Monastery.

The festival ends with the symbolic termination of evil, depicted by the burning of an effigy. By Jigmet Angchuk (ANI)

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