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Gomphukora Tshechu @ Gomphu Kora Lhakhang
Apr 1 – Apr 3 all-day
Gomphukora Tshechu @ Gomphu Kora Lhakhang

Gomphu means ‘meditation cave’ while Kora translates to ‘circumambulation’. The monastery is popular for the circumambulation festival where people go around the temple day and night. Gomphu Kora is situated 24 kms from the Trashigang dzong in Trashigang in the eastern Bhutan. The name Gomphu Kora (Gomphu – “Meditation Cave”, Kora – “Circumambulation”) is derived from a cave in the place. It is said that in the 8th century, an evil spirit named Myongkhapa escaped from Samye in Tibet and concealed himself inside a rock where Gomphu Kora stands today. Guru Rinpoche meditated for three days inside a rock cave in this place and subdued the evil spirit. Gongkhar Gyal, grandson of Lhasay Tsangma, built a small shrine at Gomphu Kora around the 10th century A.D. In the 14th century, Terton Pema Lingpa, visited Gomphu Kora and enlarged the existing shrine. It was renovated and enlarged in the 15th century by Yongzin Ngagi Wangchuk, the grandfather of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. He also inscribed murals on the walls of the temple. The biggest attraction of Gomphu Kora is the circumambulation of the Gomphu Kora temple. People from all over the eastern districts come to the place to worship ad reaffirm their connection with the past lives.

Paro Tshechu @ Paro Rinpung Dzong
Apr 4 – Apr 8 all-day
Paro Tshechu @ Paro Rinpung Dzong

Paro Tshechu is one of the most popular and biggest religious festivals in Bhutan.  On the first day, all mask dances are held inside the courtyard of the Dzong. In the subsequent days, the courtyard outside the dzong hosts the festival. The festival was first initiated by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel and the Ponpo  Rigzin Nyingpo with the consecration of Paro Rinpung Dzong in 1644. The five day festival is observed in the honour of Guru Padmasambhava.

The festival programs for the day are as follows:

Day 1.

  • Dance of the Lord of Death and his Consort (Shinje Yab Yum)
  • Dance of Lords of Cremations Grounds ( Durdag )
  • Dance of Black Hats ( Shanag)
  • Dance of Drum from Dramistse (Dramitse Nacham)
  • Dance of Eight kinds of Spirits (Degye )
  • Religious Song (Chhoeshey)

Day 2. 

  • Dance of the Lord of Death and His Consort (Shinje Yab Yum)
  • Dance of Black Hats with Drums (Shanag Nga Cham)
  • Dance of three kinds of Ging with Sticks (Gynging)
  • Dance of Lord of Cremation Ground (Durdag)
  • Dance of three kinds of Ging with Drums (Driging)
  • Dance of three kinds of Ging with Drums (Ngaging)
  • Dance of Stage and the Hounds (Shawa Shachi) 1st part

Day 3. 

  •  Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Grounds (Durdag)
  • Dance of Terrifying Deities (Tungam)
  • Dance of Heroes with six kinds of Ornaments (Guan Drug Pawo) Kyacham
  • Dance of Novel man and Ladies Lencham
  • Dance of Stag and Hounds (2nd part) (Shawa Shacha)

Day 4.

  • Dance of Lord of Death and His Consort (Shinje Yab Yum,)
  • Dance of four Stags (Sha Tsam)
  • Dance of Judgment of the Dead (Raksha Mangcham)
  • Dance of the Drums from Dramitse ( Dramitse Nga Cham)

Day 5.

At around 3:30 – 4 am the unfurling of the Thongdrol is unfurled from the main building overlooking the dance area. Thongdrol means ‘liberation on sight’ and is a very large Thangka (religious pictures) usually embroidered rather than painted. This is done before sunrise and most people rush to witness the moment as it is believed that our bad karmas are expiated simply by viewing it. With the showing of Thangka, Shugdrel Ceremony is performed.

  • Dances of the Heroes (Pacham)
  • Dance of Ging and Tsholing
  • Dance of the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Tshen Gye)
  • Dance of the Sixteen Fairies
  • Religious Song (Chhoeshey)
End of Paro Tshechu

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