Summer Festivals in India and Sri Lanka : Hemis festival, Ladakh, Esala Perahera in Kandy and Nehru Boat Race in Kerala

February 14, 2006 (PRLEAP.COM) Travel News
Some of the world's most spectacular events are annual summer festivals celebrated in India and Sri Lanka. Now Indus Travels makes it easy for western visitors to witness and even participate in some of these traditional cultural experiences.

Departing July 3, 2006 is an eight-day tour to Hemis, a 17th Century Buddhist monastery in north India. Situated in an alpine valley surrounded by snow-capped Himalaya mountains, Hemis is the largest, wealthiest and best-known gompa (monastery) in Ladakh. During the Hemis Festival, monks dressed in colorful robes and sacred masks dance in the monastery's main courtyard. Participants in this small-group tour will be able to join in one of the dances, as well as exploring the palace and its collection of precious treasures.

Other tour highlights include visits to six other monasteries and museums including the Alchi Gompa, built in 1100 A.D. and housing a famous wall painting that India cherishes as a heritage monument.

A second tour, departing August 3, 2006, is highlighted by one of the world's grandest street parades, Esala Perahera. Since 1592, the Sri Lanka hill town of Kandy has been the site for a festival that celebrates the "Tooth Relic," believed to be a tooth from Lord Buddha, taken following his cremation in 583 B.C. The festival features torch-lit street parades with colorfully dressed elephants, leaping dancers and rhythmic drumming, celebrating man's strength and valor in taming the wild elephant.

From Sri Lanka, the 15-day tour travels to the waters of Kerala, India for the annual Nehru Boat Race. Enormous canoes known as snake boats, up to 140-feet in length, are paddled by 100 or more oarsmen, with drummers and singers also onboard. Scores of boats, each representing a different village, compete for a trophy donated by India's late Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. The small tour group will watch the race from a private motorboat. The itinerary also includes a visit to a tiger reserve and a boat cruise to view elephants, bison, boars and rare golden langur monkeys.

Indus Travels specializes in small group and custom private tours to exotic destinations worldwide, at competitive prices that represent exceptionally good value.