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'Kumbh of Himalayas' sees over 5 million visitors

IANS  |  Leh 

Over five million people visited the week-long celebrations of the Naropa festival to mark the 1,000th birth anniversary of great Indian saint Naropa in the 17th century Hemis Monastery in region of Jammu and Kashmir, organisers said on Monday.

The festival concluded last week after which, Gyalwang Drukpa, the current spiritual head of the 1,000-year-old Drukpa Order based in the Himalayas, is undertaking a 10-day long eco "padyatra" or pilgrimage on foot, an official statement of the Order said.

It said thousands of monks, nuns and volunteers accompanied the Gyalwang Drukpa to create awareness about the hazards of non-biodegradable waste in the interiors of The padyatra will conclude on October 1.

Celebrated once every 12 years, the Naropa festival is aptly called 'Kumbh of the Himalayas'.

It said the Naropa festival saw a variety of cultural performances and fashion shows by Ladakhi students, an archery competition and performances by well-known Bollywood singers.

The festival witnessed unveiling of the six bone ornaments by Governor N.N. Vohra for the public in the newly-built Naro Palace near the Hemis Monastery while the Gyalwang Drukpa also unveiled a 60-foot-tall silk embroidery brocade of Buddha Amitabha.

The six bone ornament, comprising a crown, a necklace, earrings, bracelets and an apron, is considered one of the most revered Buddhist relics and it is believed that it was offered to Naropa by Dakinis at the moment of enlightenment.

Over 200 Kung fu nuns belonging to Drukpa sect also reached here by traversing 2,500 km on cycles from Kathmandu and performed dragon dance, drum shows and Dakini dance.

The Drukpa lineage is an integral part of Himalayan and Central Asian legacy and culture.

Dating back to the Indian scholar-saint Naropa, the Drukpa lineage is woven into the history of Buddhism in the geographic locales of India and central Asia.

It is strategically located along some of the world's most significant historical trading routes and has over 1,000 monasteries in the region.



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First Published: Mon, September 26 2016. 18:04 IST