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Thursday, February 22, 2018

Mask Dance Festival (Tshechu) of Bhutan 2013

Come and visit one of the Himalaya's least known regions at a time when deities and demons, wrathful and benign, appear in a blaze of brilliant colour as they dance in honor of Guru Padmasambhava – the Lotus-born. Born in the 8th century in India, Guru Padmasambhava is referred to as second Buddha who contributed immensely to the diffusion of Tantric Buddhism in the Himalayan region.  He founded Ngingmapa, the “old school” of Lamaism.

Each monastery or dzong holds an annual festival, Tsechu, which enacts victory of dharma and the glory of Guru Padmasambhava.  The dances impart morality, gain merits and acts as an important social occasion. Tshechus are not only sacred occasions for all Bhutanese but also a time to socialize with families and friends in their best finery and feasts.

Festivals extend from 2 to 6 days with monks and laymen taking active part in dances. The highlight of most Bhutanese festivals is the brief unfurling of huge hand embroidered thangkas (appliqué) representing Buddha or Guru Padmasambhava.