[dalailama.com] Leh, Ladakh, J&K, India, 9 July 2014: Today saw the culmination of activities that began a week ago as the preparatory prayers and rituals for the 33rd Kalachakra Empowerment came to a conclusion. The sand mandala was completed yesterday and this morning His Holiness the Dalai Lama participated in rituals for four and a half hours.
After lunch, to the low rumble of long horns and the crash of cymbals, twelve monks of Namgyal Monastery processed onto the platform under His Holiness’s watchful eye. Representing Skyfarers or Dakinis they wore bone ornaments over elaborate silk brocade robes with red topknots and 5-leafed lotus crowns on their heads. Each dancer held a vajra and bell, representing the awakening mind of bodhichitta and the wisdom understanding emptiness. They formed a circle within the pavilion where they performed a stately meditative dance, their faces revealing a quiet absorption. The Namgyal Monastery Chant-Master led a steady, resonant, deep voiced chant in which the dancers also joined.
Meanwhile, on the steps below the platform, groups of local dancers took turns to perform their own traditional dances in sometimes elaborate traditional costumes. Among the first group of nine from Wanla Village were masked dancers and one singer. The second group of ten women from Nubra were resplendent in their perak headdresses bearing lines of turquoise stones and were followed by eleven women from Western Ladakh, who in addition to the perak wore white yak-tail shawls across their backs. From Nepal came a group representing the Tibetan Töpa community. Another group of eleven Ladakhis, five men and six women, were followed by four men from Tibet, who danced shaking a belt of horse bells slung across one shoulder,
There were more groups, predominantly of women, from Leh, Sakti and from Chang Thang in Eastern Ladakh. A larger group of both men and women came from Lahaul & Spiti in Himachal Pradesh. There were two more exuberant groups of women one from Zanskar and another from Kuksh in Kargil District dancing with steel plates in their hands. Many of the singers and dancers were accompanied by the local drummers and surna players. Towards the end, a much larger group of artistes from the Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts in Dharamsala played, sang and danced with impressive panache. The final offering was made by dancers from Mongolia, who seemed particularly proud to be taking part.
Not long after the guest performances were concluded, the monks of Namgyal Monastery reached the end of their dance and were escorted off the stage in great dignity by a monk with incense in his hands.
Tomorrow morning His Holiness will come to the site early to perform a Kalachakra self-empowerment prior to leading the disciples through the preparatory procedures for the main Kalachakra Empowerment.