Spitok Gutor Zanskar is one of the major fairs and festivals in Jammu and Kashmir that is celebrated with much fervor across the state to mark the victory over evil. The two-day annual festival is held in January in the state of Jammu and Kashmir. Spitok Gutor Zanskar festival is essentially observed in the several monasteries of the reformist Geluk-pa order of Tibetan Buddhism in India. Some of these monasteries where this festival is celebrated with much gaiety are Spituk, Thiksay and Karsha (Zanskar). Spitok Gutor Zanskar is celebrated at different times of the year at all these monasteries.
Literally meaning “Sacrifice of the 29th Day”, the festival of Spitok Gutor Zanskar in Kashmir is characterized by the dance of ‘Black Hat Dancers’ who celebrate the end of evil forces. The dancers portray the assassination of the famous Tibetan apostate King Lang-dar-ma by a Buddhist monk in the mid-9th century. During the celebration of Spitok Gutor Zanskar, the Black Hat Dancers also wear masks that symbolize the “guardian divinities”, also known as Dharmapalas, of the Buddhist pantheon. Dharmapalas are also the patron divinities of the Geluk-pa order.
The festival ends with “Argham” (killing) of all possible forms of evil and it is the leader of the Black Hat Dancers who concludes the two-day long festival. At the end of the celebration of Spitok Gutor Zanskar, the “Storma” or “sacrificial cake” is cut that actually marks the eradication of evil forces. The same is also represented in some monasteries in Jammu and Kashmir by burning an effigy symbolizing the strong evil forces. This finally marks the end of Spitok Gutor Zanskar festival.
Witness this amusing unique festival during your tours to Jammu and Kashmir with us.