Mask dance performed by a Buddhist monk. Spituk Monastery, Ladakh
A Buddhist monk performing cham - the sacred, religious, masked dance – in the Spituk Monastery of Ladakh. This ritual dance is performed every winter in this monastery, during the Spituk Gustor festival (the Spituk Monastery Festival). The festival lasts two days and is normally attended by most of the villagers of Spituk, many Ladakhis from Leh and surrounding villages as well as a few tourists. The audience sit outside despite the bitter cold, as the dance is performed at the monastery courtyard. Cham dance festivals of this kind are organised in many monasteries of the region, belonging to various schools of the Tibetan Buddhism, including the Gelug sect, as in this case. In some monasteries the festivals were switched to summers, when more tourist have the opportunity to watch them. Winter, however, is the traditional time of the festivals, as the villagers have more free time at this part of the year and can attend them. This photograph was shot in January 2014. Ladakh, India.
Image dimensions: 4272 x 2848 pixels