A unique festival for a very special occasion

Peling tshechu begins, wherein the best of ten Peling Tercham will be showcased

Anniversary: The three-day Peling tshechu, which is orchestrating 10 Peling dances in a single event to commemorate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, began in Bumthang yesterday.

Her Majesty Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck graced the festival, along with the prime minister and the finance minister.  Hundreds of people also gathered to witness the unique Peling tshechu.

The first day of the tshechu coincides with the birth anniversary of Kuenkhen Longchen Rabjam, the preceding incarnation of Terton Pema Lingpa.  The mask dances, composed by Terton Pema Lingpa, are known as Peling Tercham.

Terton literally translates to treasure discoverer of religious artifacts earlier hidden by the great Buddhist saint, Guru Rinpoche.

For the first time, Peling tshechu has staged the ten best Peling Terchams at the birthplace of Terton Pema Lingpa in Bumthang.

“To commemorate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, the best of ten Peling Tercham, documented in various parts of the country, have been brought together to be showcased in a single event of Peling tshechu,” People’s Initiative in Celebrating the Sixtieth Anniversary (PICSA) project coordinator, Karma Tshering, said.

According to PICSA project officials, although different Peling Terchams were performed around the country, some still remained confined to their place of origin.  For instance, the Peling Chaktshel from Korphu in Trongsa, Cha Gyeng Cham from Wangzhing in Lhuentse, and Pema Lingpa Cham from Pemagatshel, were performed only in respective villages until now.

Similarly, Drung or Brum Cham from Prakar in Bumthang and Rigma Chukdrukmai (16 dakinis dance) from Tsakaling in Mongar, which had remained isolated in these villages, are being performed at the Peling Tshechu now.

“Peling tshechu is unique and special, because nowhere in the past has so many Peling Terchams been held in a single tshechu,” Karma Tshering said.

Champoen Tshewang Rinzin, from Tsakaling in Mongar, said that even Rigma Chudrukmai was performed only in Tsakaling until now.

Rigma Chudrukmai was performed outside the village only upon special directives from the highest of the authorities until now,” Tshewang Rinzin said, adding that people of Tsakaling were honoured to share such a rare cham with people outside their village.

The champoen also said that Peling tshechu had given people a chance to witness the best Peling Terchams.

“Why would the tshechu be not special to others, because even I as a champoen have witnessed only three such Peling Tercham so far?” Tshewang Rinzin said.

Ura gup, Dorji Wangchuk, remarked that Peling tshechu was a rare auspicious religious festival.

“Peling tshechu at the birth place of Terton Pema Lingpa with the performance of 10 unique Peling Cham is truly a way to wish our Fourth Druk Gyalpo a sound and a long life,” Dorji Wangchuk said.

The Ura gup said the people of Bumthang were enthralled and privileged to witness and host such a rare occasion. According to PICSA project officials, every day of the Peling tshechu was a special event.

“What one witnesses on the first day will not be repeated the following day,” Karma Tshering said.

Peling tshechu is one of the 11 PICSA events earmarked to commemorate the 60th birth anniversary of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

By Tempa Wangdi, Bumthang

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