Torgya Festival, Arunachal Pradesh

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Torgya Festival is a monastic festival which was celebrated by the Monpa tribe at the Tawang Monastery in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh. This festival held every year for three days starting from 28th day of the eleventh month of the lunar calendar, which generally falls in the last part of January.


Torgya Festival is a three day festival which signifying the destruction of evil spirits and harmful forces. It seeks to promote prosperity and happiness amongst the people. This festival was believed to be celebrated to chase out the evil spirits and usher prosperity and happiness for people and crops.

The Torgya Festival was carried out of the monastery in a procession of Lamas who dressed in warrior outfit and chanted war slogan. It was burnt outside the boundary wall of the monastery towards southern gate with full religious rites. This symbolizes destroying of all evil and destructive forces inflicting all living beings. Thousands of people throng the monastery during these three days in their best dresses, making the festival a carnival of colours.

The core event of the festival was Chham, a highly choreographed sacred dance lasting for three days. A select group of monks were dressed in magnificent robes and wearing masks representing various divinities and earthly characters perform Chham in the courtyard of Tawang monastery to the accompaniment of beating drum and cymbals, blowing of huge telescopic horns and clarinets.

During the festival a ritual monastic dances in magnificent traditional attires were performed in cham-lang the courtyard of the Tawang Monastery. A propitiation (Torgya) rite of Yamactaka Chak Khar Zur Gurpa is conducted and with this connotation the festival is called “Torgya”.


The final day of the festival, a vase initiation was bestowed by the Abbot of the monastery to the people and after making offering and ablution rituals in the presence of Maitreya Buddha, the image was taken for a procession on the circumambulation path, while at the same time the giant sized brocade Thangka was displayed for public viewing.

Every third year this festival was celebrated on a grander scale and it was called “Dung-gyur”. During Dung-gyur the monks conduct “Mani Dum Drub” ritual (10 Millions of Mani Mantra recitation).

Image Courtesy: Flickr .


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