More than 1,000 people from Trashigang and nearby dzongkhags are attending the 29th Dudjom Kilaya Drupchen at Rangjung Woesel Chholing monastery in Trashigang.

His Eminence Dungse Garab Rinpoche is presiding over the weeklong drupchen that began on January 26.

The secretary with the monastery, Tenzin Choda, said that unlike the past drupchens, this year the annual event was cut three-days short following the event at Bodh Gaya, India.

“Usually the drupchen is conducted for 10 days but because Rinpoche was attending the ceremony in Bodh Gaya, we had to shorten the event this time,” said the secretary. “Although the duration is less, we have managed to incorporate all the customary practices within the seven days.”

Khempo Ugyen Dawa said that like most of the drupchens conducted across the country, the main objective of the event is for the regional wellbeing and to promote peace and harmony in the country by expelling negative forces.

However, the khempo said that the Dudjom Kilaya Drupchen has four essential components of sight, touch, hearing and possession that are different from the rest of the drupchens.

“You are liberated from all sufferings the moment your sight is upon this drupchen. Similarly, as you hear the sounds or as you touch the elements and as you begin to acquire the teachings from the drupchen, you are liberated from all the worldly sufferings and negative energies.”

The drupchen also includes a tordog segment where prayers and sacred mask dances specifically designed to repel evil spirits and negative energies are performed.

More than 300 thremapractitioners are also involved in recitingthrematshogbum. For the deceased, prayers are recited in another segment.

Tenzin Choda said the drupchen is an elaborate event, which is why it draws several devotees annually. “On an average we receive more than 1,000 devotees everyday,” he said. “The number increases during the night as Rinpoche performs jingser.”

The secretary said that with increasing devotees each year, traffic management and accommodation were some of the challenges in conducting the drupchen.

“Now that we have a police division here, traffic is being monitored including misconducts from the public that used to occur in the past,” he said. “However, accommodation for the practitioners still remains a challenge.”

He said that the organising committee is discussing measures to build temporary shelters for practitioners attending from other dzongkhags. “Should this come through, from next year the issue of accommodation should be addressed.”

The weeklong drupchen concludes with the offering of Nidup Langchhok Wang today.

Younten Tshedup | Rangjung