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Festivities in the western dzongkhags: Tshechu Festivals
Thimphu Lhamoi Drubchhen & Festivals
Lhamoi Drubchen
Lhamtsom dance one of the highlights of the Lhamoi Drubchhen

His Holiness the Je Khenpo is leading 250 monks in the annual Lhamoi Drubchhen ceremony which began at 2.00 am on August 31 in the Dukhang (assembly hall) of Tashichhodzong. Lhamtsom dance one of the highlights of the Lhamoi Drubchhen to be performed on September 12. The sacred 11-day ceremony, dedicated to the protecting deity Pelden Lhamo (goddess Mahakali), begins in the evenings and continues for 22 hours at a stretch in a day with short breaks for meals and rest.

The Drubchhen was instituted between 1705 and 1709 by Kuenga Gyaltshen, the first reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, the son of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. According to legend, Pelden Lhamo appeared before him and performed the dances while he was in meditation. Based on these dances, Kuenga Gyeltshen initiated the Drubchhen. Palden Lhamo is the only female dharma protector common to all four schools of Buddhism and one of the three main protecting deities of Bhutan.
The Drubchhen concludes on September 9 with the Torbuel and Serda ceremony in the early hours of morning followed by the Lham Tsomo dance, dedicated to Mahakali, which will be performed in the courtyard of Tashichhodzong on September 12. The annual Thimphu tshechu begins on September 15, two days after the conclusion of the Lhamoi Drubchhen ceremony. Tshechu
The annual Thimphu tshechu which was introduced in 1687 during the reign of the fourth Desi, Tenzin Rabgye, lasts for fours days during which mask and historical folk dances are performed in the courtyard of the Tashichhodzong.

Meanwhile, the Gonpoi Drubchhens are being performed in Rinpung dzong in Paro and Wangduephodrang dzong. The Gonpoi Drubchhen is dedicated to Yeshey Goenpo or Mahakala, the main protecting deity of Bhutan. The Gonpoi Dubchhen was introduced in Paro, Wangduephodrang and Trongsa by the 68th Je Khenpo, His Holiness Tenzin Dendup, in 1987. Yeshey Goenpo is one of the most prominent guardians or protector deities of the Drukpa Kagyue school of Buddhism. An emanation of Chenrezi (Avalokitesvara), Mahakala is the wrathful deity that destroys mind chatter and brings the mind back into attentive focus.

Meanwhile, an eight-day Peling Drubchhen at Gangtey Goenpa in Wangduephodrang concludes tomorrow with the Nguedup Langwa (receiving of spiritual wisdom/power) in the morning. The Drubchhen is being performed by the Sungtrul Rinpoche and the Gangtey Trulku in connection with the reconstruction of the 451-year old Gangtey Lhakhang.

The annual three-day Gangtey Tshechu will begin on September 14. On September 17 the public can receive blessings from the sacred images of the Lhakhang which will be shifted to a safer place in preparation for the lhakhang(s reconstruction.

Thimphu Tshechu 2001
Bhutan map Several thousand devotees are attending the Thimphu Tshechu which will conclude today with the dance of the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Tshen Gyed) where dancers depict the eight forms of the Guru.

The four-day annual Thimphu Tshechu, which began on September 26, was preceded by the 15-day Lhamo Dubchhen, a rite performed to appease the protecting deity Pelden Lhamo (goddess Mahakali).

The main highlight of the 15-day annual Dubchhen was the LhamTsomo dance, dedicated to Mahakali, performed in the courtyard of Tashichhodzong on Sunday. The Dubchhen was instituted sometime between 1705 and 1709 by Kuenga Gyaltshen, the first reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, the son of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. According to legend, Pelden Lhamo appeared before him and performed the dances while he was inmeditation. Based on these dances, Kuenga Gyeltshen initiated the Dubchhen. Palden Lhamo is the only female dharma protector common to allthe four schools of Buddhism. She appears very wrathful, and ridesher mule through a sea of blood, surrounded by fire.

The Thimphu tshechu was introduced in 1687 during the reign of the fourth Desi, Tenzin Rabgye.
Meanwhile, the annual Phurpai Dubchhen (Vajra tradition) ceremony at the National Memorial Chorten concluded on September 27 with the Nguedup Langwa blessings. The eight-day ceremony was performed in three groups.

According to a spokesman for the Dratshang Lhentshog, the Phurpai Dubchhen was started in 1974 as part of completion ceremony for the National Memorial Chorten and became an annual ceremony in 1981.

Kuensel newspaper
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