Losar festival(Last Updated 06 Oct, 2021)
12/02/2022 - 14/02/2022
The Tibetan New Year, popularly known as Lossar is a festival in Sikkim which is celebrated with a lot of fervor and enthusiasm. A harvest festival, Lossar is a significant day among the Tibetans. Also known as Gyalpo Lossar it is celebrated by visiting the monastery and after performing the rituals the people visit relatives and friends. Flowers are an important part of the Lossar Festival. Devotees greet each other with flowers. At Pemayangste, Lossar is preceded by Chaams or traditional dances. Lossar Festival is celebrated in the month of February. It is celebrated by the Tibetans as a day of gaiety and celebration.
Sikkim is the northeast state in India whose economy is largely dependent on tourism and agriculture. Therefore, locals value both - agriculture and tourism in their state. Tourists worldwide visit Sikkim for its breathtaking landscapes, dazzling waterfalls, alpine forests, and glorious Kanchenjunga peak. There are ancient Buddhist monasteries in Sikkim for spiritual lovers. But that is not the only reason why you should visit Sikkim. If you look at Sikkim from a cultural lens, you will find that Sikkim is the hub of unique festivals too! One such vibrant festival in Sikkim is the Losar Festival. This unique festival is celebrated enthusiastically in Sikkim. Local Buddhist people in Sikkim indulge in vibrant celebration during the Losar Festival.
The Losar Festival marks the good times for the farmers of Sikkim. The reason behind this because this festival is celebrated on account of land, harvesting and local Buddhist communities. “Losar” is a Tibetan word which means “New Year'' in the English language. This unique and vibrant festival in Sikkim is celebrated with full enthusiasm. The Losar festival marks the celebration of farmer’s hard work. It is celebrated with the convincing end of the harvesting season to give farmers homage for their hard work. During the Losar Festival, the state witnesses grand rituals, vivid ceremonies. If you visit this thumb-shaped state in 2021 February, you must know everything about the Losar Festival. Let’s start with the history of this festival.
History of Losar Festival
The history of the Losar Festival existed before Buddhism arrived in Tibet and its surrounding regions like India, Nepal and Bhutan. It is a notion that in ancient days, the Losar Festival was acknowledged as the ceremony in winters. Amidst that time, when local offers a large amount of incense to appease local deities. The Buddhist people believe that indulging in Losar Festival drives away negative spirits. With the centuries passing by, the Tibetan astrological methods have changed, and locals Buddhists celebrate this festival to welcome a new harvesting season and a new year. Nowadays, Losar is touted amongst the most important festivals for Tibetans and is celebrated with all pomp across 8 Indian destinations.
How is the Losar festival celebrated in Sikkim?
The celebration of Losar amongst the locals in Sikkim typically begins with cleaning their houses. People discard their old items, indulge in colourful decorations of their house. The major highlight of Losar ritual is locals chant prayers in the monasteries in Sikkim. It is also the time when tourists flock to enjoy holidays in northeast Himalayan abode Sikkim. If you plan a Sikkim trip during the Losar Festival, you too can soak yourself in the unmatched festive spirit of Losar.
Where is Losar Festival Celebrated in Sikkim:
Rumtek Monastery, and Phodong Monastery are the places where the celebration of Losar takes place.
Note: Local celebrates Losar Festival in Sikkim at many other places like Lachen, Lachung. It entirely depends on the location because not all places are accessible due to snow-covered roads. It is always best to speak to your tour operator about the significant places where locals celebrate Losar Festival in Sikkim.
Traditions of Losar Festival in Sikkim
Losal Festival in Sikkim is a complete retreat for cultural extravaganza lovers. From traditional foods to folk dance and local music, people immerse themselves in the festive spirit with all their heart. However, the locals started preparing for the celebration 10-15 days in advance. If you want to witness the zeal and enthusiasm of the Losar Festival, you must visit Sikkim for a unique cultural dose.
Celebrations of Losar Festival in Sikkim
Before 2-3 days of the festival, Gutor Cham is carried out by the monks. It is a masked Lama Dance celebration which is performed to showcase the victory of good over evil. Locals go to monasteries to perform a gratitude ritual to the ‘Nagas”, - the water spirits - the sign of activating the water element in the region.
Rituals of Losar Festival in Sikkim
To indulge in the celebration of the Losar Festival in Sikkim, the best way is to go with locals' homestay options. This is how you will get to see the noteworthy highlights of Losar. Locals prepare Tsampa buckets - which is a blend of roasted barley flour and butter.
Duration of Losar Festival in Sikkim in 2021
Losar Festival in Sikkim is a grand event where entire local communities gather together to witness religious performances. It will be celebrated between 12 February 2021 - 14 February 2021. This festival marks the New Year - according to the Buddhist calendar. If you want to take a plunge into the Sikkimese culture and traditions along with outdoor activities, visit Sikkim in February.
Travel tips for attending Losar Festival in Sikkim in 2021
When the Losar Festival arrives in Sikkim, locals indulge in celebration in advance. February is amongst the peak tourist season in Sikkim. A large number of tourists flock to Sikkim to become part of this unique festival. So it is obvious that the accommodation price gets higher. What you can do is plan your Sikkim tour in advance before 1-2 months to get the best offers on your accommodation and airfares.
Tips you must know to attend Losar Festival in Sikkim in 2021
- Book your accommodation, airfares in advance to brag about the best offers.
- Prioritize your budget according to your accommodation type.
- Know about the monasteries in advance where the Losar Festival will take place.
How to reach Sikkim?
By air: One can reach Sikkim on arriving at Bagdogra airport. It is 155 km (approx.) and is well connected with domestic flights from metro Indian cities. The travel time to reach Bagdogra from Sikkim is around 7-8 hours (approx.).
By train: The nearest railway station to reach Sikkim is in New Jalpaiguri. It is 146 km (approx.) from Sikkim and is well connected with India's metro cities. The travel duration between New Jalpaiguri railway station to Sikkim is 6-7 hours (approx.).
By road: Visiting Sikkim by road journey is possible if you reside in the nearby towns like Kalimpong, Kolkata, Gangtok, and Darjeeling. The route is scenic as you will witness the Teesta river flowing on one side and the lush green mountains on the other side.