Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Pang Lhabsol and a brotherhood treaty

-->Pang Lhabsol is the most unique festivals observed in Sikkim, it is held on the 15th day of the seventh month according to lunar calendar that usually falls on the end of August or the month of September.
The Pang Lhabsol festival or Neassy is celebrated throughout Sikkim. This festival is very unique and worships the snowy peaks of the guardian deity of Sikkim, Mt Khangchendonga. It is observed every year for the protection and to grace the land with good harvest, timely rainfall and to prevent from all types of natural calamities. The word Pang Lhabsol means honouring of the deities.
This festival commemorates the signing of the oath and blood treaty between the Lepcha priest Thekong Tek and Kaye Bhumsa, the ruler of Kham region of Tibet. This treaty was held at Kabi Longstok, 17 kms away from Gangtok in the presence of Mount Khangchendonga. The very spot is marked by a stone admist the shadows of the dense forest. The Statue of Unity erected near the Thakur Bari is in the memory of the event.
Legends tell Kaye Bhumsa was powerful king in Kham region in Tibet. He as the strongest man in his era that he was nicknamed “possessor of the strength of ten thousand humans”. He was married to Chomo Guru but did not have any children. He was advised by the highest lama priests to seek the blessing of the powerful Lepcha incarnate priest Thekong Tek and his wife Nekong Ngyal. The Kham ruler met the Lepcha couple and he was blessed with three sons. Khye Bhumsa visited the Lepcha couple later and thanked him for the boon and in return pledged to remain brothers forever.
Promise was made henceforth that there both the community would remain united and as brothers. They made it clear that failing this would mean that they should be cursed.
This brotherhood treaty still exists to this day. Since the mighty Mount Khangchendonga was the only witness of the treaty then so each year on this particular day homage is paid to the peak.
“An important feature of the celebrations is the spectacular Warrior dance with its intricate steps and leaps accompanied by martial war-cries.”
The major attraction of the ceremony is the Pangted Dance and the Dzogna Chaam by the monks and the non-monks. The monk dressed in Mt Kandchendzonga, the guardian deity and the Mahakala, the Dharma protector danced on the beat of the monk music to show their happiness on the offering of the prayers.
It was the third king of Sikkim Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal during 1700 AD, visualized the form of pangtoad dance. It is believed that an angel came to his dream and taught him the dance. From Rabdentse palace the first capital of Sikkim the dance shifted to Tsuglakhang Palace at Gangtok and then to other monasteries of Sikkim got merge to Indian union.