Masked Dances In The Royal Courtyard
An ancient tradition started by the kings of Ladakh , Docmoche is still celebrated every year in February with great pomp and fervour. The courtyard of the chapel below the gates of the Leh of the Leh Palace comes alive with the music of drums and the thumping steps of the masked Lamas from different monasteries performing the sacred dance-drama. The Lamas prepare, consecrate and eventually destroy the sacrificial offerings as the climax.
The Tantra Of 'DO'
The Lamas from the Thak Thok Monastery, the only Nyingmapa foundation of Ladakh, who are experts in tantric practice and astrology, prepare the elaborate 'DO' or Thread Crosses - the main objects of offering, which ensnare all the evil spirits, hungry ghosts and demonic forces when the prescribed mantras are recited and requisite rites observed by the Lamas.
The Festive Procession
Ten other kinds of offerings, of different shapes and sizes, complement the main offering. These are brought down from the main venue and carried through the main bazaar. Black Hat dancers, followed by the lamas in their religious costumes and the local people in their resplendent best, make this a spectacular procession. Musicians and the monastic orchestra lead the way. Outside the town, the offerings are burnt and destroyed with great fanfare to wish away all evil spirits and guard against natural calamities and disasters in the coming year.
Dosmoche celebrations are also held in the Likir (Indus Valley) and Deksit (Nubra valley) monasteries. In Deksit, a number of folk dances are performed as interludes to the 'Chhams'.