Colourful Masked Dance And Cham Mark Pang Lhabsol Celebrations In Sikkim

The grand celebrations were marked by vibrant and colourful masked dances


Amid much fanfare, pomp and gaiety, Pang Lhabsol festival was celebrated across Sikkim in different monasteries on September 13th, 2019. The Himalayan state, Sikkim annually celebrates the festival of Pang Lhabsol which falls on the fifteenth day of the seventh month according to the Tibetan calendar.

The celebrations in the capital city were held on Palace lawns also called Tsuklakhang. The grand celebrations were marked by vibrant and colourful masked dances. The three main dances included opening dance by little monks, Pangtoed Cham or Victory dance.

The monks also enthralled the crowd as they took part in the masked dance representing Mt Khangchendzonga (Kangchenjunga) wearing red masks and Yeshe Gonpu wearing blue masks. The devotees offered Khadas (scarves) to both representing guardian deities.

Mount Khangchendzonga is worshipped in Sikkim as the chief guardian deity on Pang Lhabsol. The Dzonga deity was ordained by a Buddhist Guru. Offerings were made as they prayed to the deity to protect the people from natural calamities, bless them with plenty of rainfall and good harvest.

The Tshuglakhang Trust had organised the puja and celebrations taking people into yet another realm of joy. Besides, the day also commemorates the blood brothership between the Lepchas and Bhutias.

Recently, the Ministry of Home Affairs had issued notification allowing as many 25 peaks of Mt Khangchendzonga for commercial expeditions. In wake of massive protests, on September 4th, 2019, respecting the religious beliefs of the Sikkimese people, the Ministry withdrew the notification.

Photos: Prakash Adhikary