Saga Dawa Festival
Date: 2 June 2015
Venue: Mount Kailash
This marks the date of Sakyamuni’s enlightenment and entry into nirvana. Huge numbers of pilgrims walk Lhasa’s lingkhor circuit and visit Mount Kailash to watch the replacing of the Tarboche Flagpole covered in prayer flags.
Date: 8 June 2015
During this festival, fascinating religious Cham dances are performed by local monks in the Kyagupa Monastery and a gigantic sacred thangka (religious painting) is unveiled.
Date: 2 July 2015
Shigatse’s Tashilhunpo Festival is a great occasion popular among both Tibetans and tourists. Also known as the Buddha Exhibition Festival, three days of festivities culminate with the unfurling of a four-storey-tall thangka on a tower behind the monastery.
Ganden Thangka Festival
Date: 31 July 2015
Venue: Ganden Monastery
On this day Ganden Monastery displays its 25 holiest relics, which are normally locked away. Thousands of people circle the monastery ruins, enter inside to view the Buddhas, pray, and get blessed, and then they go outside to watch the giant handwoven thangka unveiling ceremony.
Date: 31 July 2015
Venue: Samye Monastery
Also known as Zamling Chisang or Universal Prayer Day, this festival celebrates the founding of Samye Monastery. Monks dress in festival clothes and masks, burn incense, hang prayer flags, and dance to drive away bad spirits and devils.
Date: 14 August 2015
This is Tibet’s grandest summer festival consisting of 3 main parts – the Great Buddha Display (the unveiling of a large thangka at Drepung Monastery), a Tibetan opera show at Norbulingka and then the horsemanship & yak race show. In combination they represent the best of Tibetan religion, culture and tradition.
Nagqu Horse Racing Festival
Date: 10 August 2015
Venue: Changtang Grassland
Nagqu Horse Racing Festival is the grandest annual event in northern Tibet. Tens of thousands of herdsmen gather on the grasslands of Nagqu Prefecture to participate and watch activities such as yak racing, horsemanship demonstrations, tug of war, stone lifting and Tibetan operas.
Date: 8 September 2015
Tibetans believe that water during this period has an extreme power to cure all, so people swarm to the lakes and riversides with their families to bathe and rid themselves of pestilence and illness.
Festival of Buddha's Descent from Heaven
Date: 3 September 2015
This festival known as Lhabab Duechen, celebrates Buddha’s return to the human world by a special ladder stairway. During this time a large number of pilgrims head to Lhasa. The outside walls of homes are given fresh coats of paint, and rocks around monasteries are painted with ladders to symbolize the event.