Sindhu Darshan Festival 2019: A Leh festival that celebrates India’s ethnic diversity

The Sindhu Darshan Festival is an annual festival to celebrate River Indus (Sindhu) as an icon of communal harmony and unity of India. The festival is held every year on full moon day in the month of June in Leh in Ladakh district of Jammu & Kashmir. The three-day festival was first celebrated in October 1997 and is held every year since then. A large number of people from different parts of the country participate in the festival. Visitors carry water from the river of their own state in earthen pots and immerse in the Sindhu River. It is believed that as the waters from all the rivers mingle, thereby symbolising multi-dimensional cultural identity. In 2019, the festival begins on June 12 and ends on June 14.

The first day of the Sindhu Darshan Festival is conducted by a joint association of committees of various religious groups – Ladakh Buddhist Association, Shia Majlis, Sunni Anjuman, Christian Moravian Church, Hindu Trust, and Sikh Gurudwara Prabhandak Committee. A beautiful blend of Buddhist, Shia, Sunni, Christian, Hindu and Sikh culture. There is a tradition where around 50 senior Lamas conduct prayers on the banks of the river. The second day commences with a puja on the banks of the river. The festival also sees performances from artists from various parts of the country.

It is said that veteran BJP leader LK Advani and veteran journalist Tarun Vijay re-discovered that the Sindhu River flows through Ladakh, on their visit to Leh in January 1996. It was Tarun Vijay who came up with the idea of a festival on the banks of the river. And the rest is history.

Fun fact: Bollywood film ‘Dil Se’ (1998) starring Shah Rukh Khan and Preity Zinta was shot during the first Sindhu Darshan Festival.

Sindhu Darshan Festival 2019

When: June 12 – 14

Where: Sindhu River Banks, Shey Manla, Leh, Ladakh

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