Cham dance masked figure, Gustor festival, Spituk Gompa, Leh, Ladakh.
The word ‘chams’ is of Tibetan origin, and simply means “a dance.” One of the best places to see Cham Dance in India is Ladakh, known as ‘Mini Tibet’, which has ancient roots in Buddhism. The Cham Dance is a vibrant masked and costumed ritual associated with the Tibetan Buddhism that has prospered from antiquity in the Himalayas going back to the 6th century AD. It is a religious tradition performed by monks. The ritual is performed for the greater good of humanity, destruction of bad spirits and for moral instruction to viewers. Dressed up in vibrant colors with extravagant headgear and masks, the monks take up the roles of deities and demons and put up a mock-battle with good prevailing over evil. The masks are made by the monks and some of the oldest date back centuries and the older masks are venerated and are considered to be very powerful.
From Spituk Gustor festival