TAWANG, Nov 23: Thousands of people from villages, township and neighbouring nation Bhutan assembled at Chhamleng area of Tawang Ganden Namgyal Lhatse, popularly known as Tawang Monastery to witness the Gyepu-Gyemu (King & Queen) Festival.
Torgya Festival is held annually, but Gyepu-Gyemu Festival is held in every three years, one month ahead of Torgya Dungyur Chhenmo festival as per tradition.
It is believed that in earlier times, the monk in-charge for subsidiary monasteries, like Taklung gonpa at Sanglem, Tashi Rapten gonpa at Namshu in present West Kameng district and around 18 were appointed for a period of three years, and on completion of their tenure, these in-charge monks would return to Tawang Monastery, their HQ with whatever offerings and collection from devotees in the form of grains and other things. A grand puja is performed on the first day with these collections by burning of tantric cake, known as ‘Tor-gya’, followed by celebration with monastic dances for three days since inception of Tawang Monastery.
During Torgya Dungyur new dance costumes, if possible freshly carved masks, are used. It will begin after one month as per lunar calendar. Gyepu-Gyemu Festival dance is performed to show apprehension of queen that the king will be going alone on a long tour to the neighbouring countries and she urges the king to take her with him on the tour, while one Gatpu-Ganmo (old couple) dances in honour of protector deity of the location. (DIPRO)