Korzok Gustor

Date    :   August 2-3, 2011
Venue :  Korzok, Jammu and Kashmir

The Korzok Gustor takes place every year, in the month of July or August, at Korzok, one of the highest permanent villages in the country. It attracts scores of Changpa, the nomadic herdsmen of the Tibetan plateau, for whom this is the major festival.

The two-day festival ends with the symbolic dismemberment and dispersal of the Storma (sacrificial cake) by the leader of the Black Hat dancers. The masks worn by the dancers represent the guardian divinities (dharmapalas) of the Buddhist pantheon, and the patron divinities of the Geluk-pa Order. This ceremony is known as Argham (the killing) and symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

The assassination of the Tibetan apostate King Lang-dar-ma by a Buddhist monk, in the mid 9th century, is also re-enacted at the festival.

The small village of Korzok, located at an altitude of 4572 m, is situated at a distance of three km from the northwest end of the Tso Moriri Lake. Most of the inhabitants are Changpa nomads. During the summers Changpas from various places camp here in robos (small tents) with their sheep. These sheep produce the famous pashmina, one of the costliest varieties of wool, which are bought by the traditional weavers of Kashmir and Himachal.