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torgya monastery festival



To be Announced


Arunachal Pradesh

The festival of peace and prosperity.

The festival of peace and prosperity.

The Monpa Tribe of the Tawang Monastery celebrates this festival. Tibetan Buddhist Leader Lama Tsongkhapa is honoured during this festival. During this festival, the people are encouraged to spread peace and prosperity and reject any feelings of malice, hatred and jealousy. According to the Buddhist calendar, the festival spans from the 28th to the 30th in the month of Dawachukchipa. In the Gregorian calendar, this falls between the 10th of January to the 12th of January. The festival begins with a text recitation of the infamous Chham dance. This dance itself is what makes the festival more alluring and interesting, as monks dance wearing different costumes and outfits and animal-like masks, they perform with some soulful music with drums and cymbals. This dance is performed by monks who are considered to be spiritual leaders.

An overview of the festival:
An overview of the festival:

  • The first day of the festival is known as the Torgya, and on this day, the monks worship a 3-feet tall and 2-feet wide effigy. The statues created by the 14 lamas of the monastery are crafted within 16 days before the festival and whilst making the effigy verses from the scriptures are chanted. The statue is created with the help of four ingredients namely - ghee, barley, milk, and molasses. These ingredients together are known as Torma. In addition to that, a Mechang is also built and erected like a temple, which is then burnt by the monks while performing the ritual.
  • During the procession of Torma, the monks carry bells around their waists and bring the Torma out along with two other monks who adorn themselves with male and female yak masks. These two monks are known as the Choige Yap-Yum. They are considered to be the servants of Lama Tsongkapa. This procession is carried out with great enthusiasm and show.
  • Then the final day of the festival is performed as Wang. Initially, it starts out with the making of Tseril which is a type of sweet made with the help of ingredients such as barley, sugar, and molasses. After it is made, the monks then perform prayers and distribute the sweet among other monks. They also drink a local beer called the Tse-Chang to end the festival on a fun note. Finally, it comes to an end as the head monk gives his blessings to other monks by touching their heads.

The festival is incomplete without the Chham dance which is performed by the monks. The Chham dance is performed while wearing their traditional attire consisting of robes and various animal-like masks in the monastery’s courtyard. The festivals are said to be incomplete without a Chham dance. This dance festival continues on for three days and during the performance, the monks disguise themselves as divine Buddhist Characters.

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