Religion: His Majesty the King, His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, and members of the Royal family graced the final day of the five-day Sipa-Chi-Dhoe offering ceremony in Punakha yesterday.

The Prime Minister, ministers, heads of armed forces, and senior government officials attended the event, along with about 15,000 people from Punakha, Wangdue, Thimphu and other parts of the country.

The five-day kurim, presided over by His Holiness the Je Khenpo, is performed once every 12 years. Offerings are made to all the realms of the universe. Material and symbolic offerings are placed before two structures representing the two protective deities of Bhutan, Yeshey Gembo and Pelden Lhamo, for the peace, security and wellbeing of the nation and people, and to remove all obstacles.

The offering this year is dedicated to the 60th birth anniversary of His Majesty The Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

Sipa-Chi-Dhoe is believed to have initiated by Guru Rinpoche, and performed since the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the country.

Meanwhile, after the great kurim, thousands of people rushed for valuables, jewelries, gold, cash and other offerings made to the Dhoe towers (great altar representing the universe). Getting hold of any parts of the Dhoe, which hangs Gaw (amulet) besides the cash and valuables, is considered sacred and believed to consist immense blessings.

A devotee with his priced possession from the Sipa-chi-dhoe kurim

While some people managed to climb up the Dhoes and got hold of amulet and Dhoe-parts, poles, arrow and bow, painted planks, others took away tshogs offered surrounding the giant Dhoes including fruits, rice bags, clothes. Few men even got cows.

Unlike other rimdos, where monks take down the tshogs and distribute it to devotees, at the Sipa-chi-dhoe kurim, people gathered are allowed to rush and get hold of whatever they can at the Dhoe and its surrounding.

The sacred Kurim, Sipa-Chi-Dhoe offering was to all deities and living beings to balance the forces of good and evil. It was organised for the peace and security of the nation.

His Holiness the Je Khenpo along with more than 500 monks from 20 rabdeys and monastic institutions presided over the kurim. It is conducted once in a 12-year cycle and was being conducted after 13 years, with the last ceremony conducted in Mongar for the first time in the east from April 14 to 22, 2001.

Namgay from zhung dratshang said it was the fourth Sipa-chi-dhoe being conducted in Punakha. His Holiness conducted the first in Punakha in 1998 after he became the 70th Je Khenpo.

By Dawa Gyelmo, Punakha


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