Dressed in Gongchas — a heavy coat-like traditional Ladakhi attire — 299 women danced together making it to the Guinness World Records and marked the end of the Naropa Festival Thursday.
The women, aged between 18 and 60 years, wore Peraks — turquoise headgears — and performed the Shondol to Ladakhi music at the Hemis Monastery in the Himalayas. Shondol is a traditional dance performed for the king on special occasions.
Speaking after the world record attempt, Swapnil Dangarikar, official adjudicator, Guinness World Records, declared the dance performance as the “Largest Ladakhi Dance”.
“They (dancers) have made a record with 299 successful participants. This is a new Guinness World Record title… With this I declare that all of you are officially amazing,” Dangarikar said.
The last of the five-day festival also witnessed Tsering Ladol being honoured with the Himalayan Hero award. Ladol was the first Ladakhi girl to scale Mount Everestin 2005.
The award was conferred to Master Sonam Lundup, for his dedication in the field of education and Olthang Nimoo, for his contribution in the field of art, and posthumously to Late Padma Shri Tsering Wangdus.
The festival, which started on September 16, celebrated the life and teachings of Buddhist scholar-saint Naropa with traditional dance and musical performances.
With visitors from the Himalayan region of Tibet and as far as Bhutan, the five-day festival also witnessed the unfurling of the 85-feet Thangka — a Tibetan-Buddhist painting on a cloth depicting a deity or a mandala — which the monastery touted as “the largest silk embroidered brocade of Buddha” in India.
One of the members of the organising committee said at the closing ceremony that the festival is a platform “for all to come together and to encourage our people and artists”.
“It is a platform to showcase the rich and divine heritage of the Himalayan region. People here can meet and interact with the followers of the Drupka lineage from India, Tibet, and other parts of the world.
“It is also a platform to exchange the teachings of the Buddha dharama and to learn the culture of Ladakh,” he added.
Celebrated every 12th year of the Tibetan calendar, the Naropa festival, also known as the ‘Kumbh Mela of the Himalayas’, was last organised in 2016 as a “special case”.
This year’s edition of the festival also saw the formal inauguration of the Naropa Fellowship programme for post-graduate candidates to “encourage and shape the next generation of leaders in policy and entrepreneurship”.
The celebrations this year also included lessons of Naropa, prayers and religious performances by monks and nuns, traditional archery competition, performances by local artistes and a fashion show.
Each evening, the festival witnessed performances by Bollywood artistes including Kailash Kher, Papon, Sonu Nigam and Aditi Singh Sharm.