The Eastern most villages of Merak and Sakteng under the district of Trashigang are truly the ‘Twin Jewels of the East’, offering lifetime opportunity for visitors to experience unique culture, traditions of semi-nomadic people known as ‘Brokpas’ whose origin is traced from Tshoona region of southern Tibet. Situated at an altitude around 3,500m, the pristine, exotic valleys of Meark and Sakteng have been home to Brokpas, since their displacement from Tibet centuries ago. Living close to nature in pristine wilderness, the Brokpas way of life has largely remain unchanged over the years and they still mainly depend upon yak rearing and animal husbandry for their livelihood.
Apart from their unique culture & traditions, Merak and Sakteng are also known for unique festivals and mask dances which are not performed in any other part of the country. The famous mask dance ‘Ache Lamoi Chaam’ performed by ‘Brokpas’ takes its origin back to era of Guru Rinpoche when he was constructing the Lhasa monastery. It is believed that mask dance was performed by Guru Rinpoche to subdue the demons creating disturbance at the construction of Lhasa monastery.
Three day, Sakteng Tshechu is held every year at Sakteng Lhakhang, situated just next to the village and truly an occasion for entire community to come together and celebrate their unique culture, traditions and engage in worship. Like all other religious and traditional festivals, Sakteng Tshechu is a lively, colourful event in which Brokpas dressed in their traditional finery enjoy the celebration and togetherness with round of Ara (local wine) and local delicacies.