Experience the Best of India’s 2015 Summer Fairs and Festivals with Myths and Mountains

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Uncover the true spirit of India, its people, its culture and its vibrant festivals, honoring extraordinary events from several millennia.

Bishnoi woman, India

India is a myth and an idea, a dream and a vision, and yet very real and present and pervasive,” -Jawaharlal Nehru, India's first prime minister

India is a country that dazzles the senses with a profusion of colors, sights, smells, tastes, and sounds. With more than one billion residents and a cultural history spanning over 4,000 years, India is practically in a constant state of observance and celebration. With summer on the way, seasonal festivals become the highlight of religious and cultural life, and are the perfect place for travelers to experience the best of India.

After more than 20 years of exploring and experiencing Asia, Myths and Mountains has created exclusive, innovative itineraries taking guests into the heart of a country that truly feeds the soul. This year, let Myths and Mountains take you across the Indian Himalaya on to the Tibetan plateau to Ladakh, where you will experience exhilarating, authentic festivals and enjoy a rare opportunity to truly immerse yourself in and interact with the Tibetan culture.

As summer travel plans start to crystallize, think about how amazing it will be to expand your horizons and find yourself in the middle of a vibrant, rousing party with performers and onlookers who want to live in the moment and celebrate life. Here are only a few of the many opportunities you have to join in the festivities this year with Myths and Mountains:

Hemis Festival: June and Dak Thok Festival: July/August
These two-day events commemorate the birth of Guru Padmasambhava, founder of Tantric Buddhism in Tibet. The June event is held at Hemis, the largest Buddhist monastery in the Ladakh region. The July festival is held at Dak Thok, home to the Nyingmapas, followers of Padmasambhava. Morning ceremonies begin with traditional music of cymbals, pan drums and trumpets as the portrait of Rygyalsras Rimpoche is put on display. The highlight is the Masked Dance, when lamas don elaborate costumes and painted masks, miming the triumph of good or evil. Tour suggestion: India: Ladakh – Festivals, Monasteries, People and Waters

Phyang Festival: July
As one of two Dringunpa Monasteries in Ladakh, Phyang hosts pilgrims from near and far, who come to pay homage to the monastery’s founder. During the festival, a select group of monks perform Chhams, or masked dances, which are a highly choreographed story showing onlookers the types of deities they might encounter during the bardo stage, or transition between life and death. Spend the day meeting and praying with monks, sipping tea and watching the dances. Tour suggestion: India: Ladakh – Trekking and Touring the Last Shangrila

Ladarcha Fair: July
Located in a high altitude desert, Kaza is the capital and regional headquarters of Spiti Valley in the Lahaul and Spiti district. For most of the year, the area is covered in snow and ice, so locals celebrate during times of good weather. The Ladarcha Fair signifies the end of summer and the beginning of monsoon season. The Fair is a place where people of many cultures and classes can enjoy trekking and trading in this stunning mountainous region. Spectators will enjoy local dance and music, horse races, a yak procession and traders peddling their wares as tourists acquire these locally made souvenirs. Tour suggestion: India: Spiti, Ladakh and Kashmir

Ladakh Festival: September
September is festival time, with a multitude of celebrations at numerous sites throughout Ladakh. The festival begins in Leh with a huge parade of people from all over the Ladakhi countryside, dressed in their local costumes – truly a kaleidoscope of color. The festival continues at different venues throughout the state for the next two weeks, with dancing, music, horse racing and all sorts of religious activities. Tour suggestion: India: Spiti, Ladakh and Kashmir

Summer is just around the corner so start planning your trip to India's summer festivals now. For more information on festivals in India and other locations, including custom tours, check out the diverse itineraries at http://www.mythsandmountains.com or contact the home office at travel(at)mythsandmountains(dot)com or 1-800-670-MYTH.

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About Myths and Mountains
Founded in 1988 by veteran adventurer Toni Neubauer, Myths and Mountains fosters intimate cross-cultural experiences. The company’s tours are designed to take travelers to the very heart of the places they are visiting. These efforts have established a solid place for Myths and Mountains in the adventure travel industry; the company was chosen as one of National Geographic Adventure’s Best Adventure Travel Companies in 2009 and won Travel + Leisure’s 2010 Global Vision Award. They were also named Trusted Travel Experts on the 2014 Wendy Perrin WOW List. Dr. Neubauer herself has been chosen as a Top Travel Specialist by Condé Nast Traveler four times. Myths and Mountains is a member of Trusted Adventures, a consortium of award-winning companies matching active travelers with over 350 unique trips walking, rafting, cycling and trekking in over 85 destinations worldwide.

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Stephanie Norby

Stephanie Norby
@Advntrmedia
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