Annual Rituals of Drukpa Tsheshi Observed with Great Fervor in Lhashar Valley

Lachen, 17 July (IPR): The annual rituals on the occasion of Drukpa Tsheshi were celebrated in a grand manner at Lhashar Valley in North Sikkim. Drukpa Tshechi rituals holds important significance to the Buddhists as it marks the important day when Lord Buddha delivered the first sermon to his disciplines at Deer Park in Sarnath.

On this day, various rituals are observed in the monasteries of Lachen and Lachung to appease and pray to the local deities to protect and bring good fortune to the people. The locals of Lachen and Lachung believe that six guardian deities reside in the various peaks of Lachen and one deity resides at Lachung.

In Lhashar Valley in the North Sikkim, the Drokpas, the nomadic pastoral herdsman of North Sikkim, performed the rituals on the occasion of Drupka Tsheshi. The entire nomadic tribesman from the valley assembles on the occasion to perform the pujas at the monastery located in the valley.

Besides the rituals, the herdsmen also engaged themselves in Yak races, dances and music. The Drokpas live a hard life in the valley and are entirely dependent on Yaks for their livelihood. There is only one Drokpa who tends the famed Tibetan sheep in the valley. Over the years, the number of Tibetan Sheep has dwindled and only about a hundred survive in the valley.

District Collector, North, Karma R Bonpo, along with the Pipon of Lachen joined in the annual rituals at Lhashar Valley.

The Drokpas expressed their happiness on having the DC amidst them and they also put forth their problems and issues. The feral dogs in the valley is causing great harm to the Yaks and often times young calf are killed and eaten by the dogs. The Drokpas requested for the support in tackling the issue in the valley. Installing of Solar Lights in the homes was one demand placed before the collector.

Speaking to the Drokpas, Mr Bonpo thanked them for their hospitality and stated the importance of securing their rights under the Forest Right Act. He stated that Yaks are the identity of the State and it was important to conserve them for our posterity. He expressed hope that the traditions would be kept alive by the future generation of the Dropkas. With regard to the problems, he stated that all help will be provided by the State Government for solving them.

Besides the herdsmen, a host of guests from the State and other parts of country were present in the valley. Miss Komal Chamling also trekked all the way to the valley to witness the ceremony.

Lhashar Valley in North Sikkim is known for its unmatched scenic beauty and alpine grasslands. The Jhajo pheri valley is located close by which is known for the meandering rivers which has created many ox bow lakes in the valley.

During this time of the year, thousands of flowers sprout from the ground. The open grounds also provide rich grasslands for the Yaks and Tibetan sheep and it is also the time when young ones of these animals are nurtured. The tingling bells of the Yaks amid the calm serene environment of the valley are a sight to behold making the valley a paradise on earth. Despite the arduous journey and very low oxygen level, the trip to the valley is worth the trouble.

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