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Festivals in Bhutan
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Festivals in Bhutan - Nimalung Tshechu
Nimalung festival is three day event, celebrated at Nimalung Lhakhang located in Chumey valley of Bumthang. The district of Bumthang holds many legends dating back to the days when Guru Rinpoche first visited Bhutan. During the rule of Sindhu Raja, Guru Rinpoche was summoned in Bumthang in order to exorcise evil supernatural entities and to subdue demons haunting the valley of Bumthang. The festival symbolizes Guru’s Rinpoche’s triumph in converting the hostile local deities into Buddhist beings and freeing the valley of Bumthang from evil spirits.
This festival is held once a year in the 5th month of the Bhutanese calendar. A majestic Thongdrol (gigantic scroll painting) of Guru Rinpoche is put on display for the attendees. The massive Thongdrol is said to purify wandering spirits in the region and cleanse the sins of those who look upon it. The Thongdroel was donated by Lopen (Teacher) Pemala and consecrated in June 1994.
A series of spectacular mask dances are performed during the tshechu. The most famous being the Guru Tshengye (Dance of eight manifestation of Guru Rinpoche). The Guru Tshengye is performed as a customary tradition in most of the festivals all round Bhutan but there is different sense of feeling when it is performed at the place where it actually originated. The dance is performed like a stage theater which gives a realistic visual of how Guru Rincpoche changed into eight different forms to subdue the local deities tormenting the souls of the people living in the valley of Bumthang. The festival is grand occasion for many Bhutanese locals and each year people from all over Bhutan gather around to pray to their guardian deities for peace and prosperity.