Phurpa Lhamo | Punakha

For the first time in his 35-year career, Lam Dorji will perform at a National Day celebration and he is overwhelmed.

The 54-year-old pazap (traditional warrior) is among 24 pazaps from the gewogs in Punakha practising to perform at the 113th National Day celebration in Punakha.

Lam Dorji said that he had performed at the Punakha dromchoe for decades, but never during the National Day.

“I have been performing since I was 15. But never in such an occasion,” he said.

For past 20 days, Lam Dorji with many other pazaps has been reporting to Punakha dzong at 9am for practice. Practice ends by 6pm.

Travelling from Dawakha in Toedwang gewog, he has to spend at least Nu 500 to reach for practice and return home.

“This kind of opportunity comes once in like 20 years. I don’t know if I can ever perform at a National Day celebration.”

Lam Dorji added that his participation came as a privilege as many couldn’t be part of the celebration due to the Covid-19 pandemic protocols.

Two days from the celebrations, yellow lukheps frills sway from Pungthang Dewachhenpoi Phodrang’s roof, the gates are decorated intricately with colourful scarves, and the eight lucky signs, and flags flutter along the roads.

Punakha Dzongkhag Tshogdu thrizin Samten Phuntsho said that apart from Toepisa and Barp gewogs, which were involved in decorating the gates, other gewogs sent dancers and pazaps.

“We are ever ready to help contribute to the celebration but most of the preparatory works are initiated by the dzongkhag administrations with volunteers,” Toedwang gup Touchu said.

Gup Touchu added that while people were advised to witness the celebration from home, the importance of the day doesn’t become any less.

“Of course, we couldn’t celebrate the day like other dzongkhags but people are happy that the celebration is held here. I think it would be no different from other celebrations in other dzongkhags,” said Kabisa Gup Tshering Penjor.