Visiting Ladakh's Hemis Festival 2023? 7 Dishes You Must Try
Image Credit: exploronn/Instagram

Situated in the city of Leh, the Hemis Gompa celebrates the Hemis Tsechu Festival. Celebrated on the 10th day of the Lunar Tibetan calendar, this two-day holiday commenced on 28th June and will conclude at 29th of June, this year. This two-day grand cultural festival is celebrated on the birthday of Guru Padmasambhav who popularized Buddhism to every possible extent in the Himalayas somewhere around 8th century CE. This two-day event features a prominent mask dance-drama.  

Hemis, one of the largest of Ladakh’s gompas, is possibly the largest and richest among all the Ladakhi monasteries. The annual Hemis Festival, which takes place in June or July every year, has made this gompa even more popular. This festival has been observed every year without any interruption since the time of Rgyalsras Rinpoche, around the year 1730, and is now even popular worldwide. So, if you are visiting this year Hemis festival in Ladakh, here’s what you should definitely eat. 

It is essential to know that Ladakh’s cuisine is a combination of Tibetan, Chinese, and Continental and Korean dishes. When in Ladakh, here is a list of 7 classic dishes that you should not miss trying at any cost. Here you go! 

Ladakhi Pulao 

This pulao version may look a little subtle but believe me, it is rich in flavours. With raw white rice packed with flavorful and aromatic seasonings and mutton stock, this pulao has a layer of caramelized onions, caramelized carrots and nuts. If you have visited Ladakh, you may have found this dish a common sight everywhere, right from the streets to fancy restaurants. 

Video credits: Get Curried/YouTube


Considered a Tibetan origin, Thukpa is a staple food of Leh. It is a noodle soup with steamed veggies and portions of meat. With a mix of savory ingredients, Thukpa is served with a spicy chutney to take the zing of the dish to the next level. One can find Thukpa very easily in Ladakh and it wouldn’t be fair if you don’t try this dish in Ladakh. 


This traditional soup-based dish from Ladakh is made of up of wheat and root vegetables. Skyu has wheat dough kneaded into shapes like pasta and cooked with root vegetables like turnips and carrots. For a non- veg version, mutton is most preferred while potatoes are also added to give it a nice flavor and texture. It is a staple dish of Ladakh and something you shouldn’t miss. 


This traditional bread is among the favourites of local people in Leh Ladakh. With a thick crust and brownish colour, this pan-shaped bread is served along Ladakhi broths and brews. Made up of whole wheat flour and baked to perfection, this bread goes well with butter tea. The unique taste of butter tea perfectly complements the earthy flavour of Khambir. 


Yet another popular gem from Leh Ladakh, Chhutagi is made up of bow-tie shaped dough cooked in a pot of either boiling thick soup or meat. Considered a heavy meal, this dish is known for providing instant warmth and energy to the body. In Ladakh, one can find so many different versions of Chhutagi and every single, has a pleasing taste. 

Apricot Jam 

Ladakh’s apricot jam has literally no competitor.  A visit to Ladakh is not complete without enjoying the famous apricot jam there. Made with the goodness of fresh and locally grown apricots, this jam has a sweet and tart flavour and can show you a really good time. 


Not trying momos in Ladakh would be considered a sin, believe me! You may have had so many different types of momos but the one in Ladakh, is going to be the best thing in the world. With different stuffings like minced meat to cheese and vegetables, momos in Ladakh are nothing like anywhere in the country. Besides, you can also try momos dipped in a soup and served hot, called Mokthuk. 

So, what are you waiting for? Head to the Hemis Festival and don’t to get your hands on some Ladakhi gems!