Torgya Festival

Torgya Festival is an annual monastic festival celebrated by the Monpa community for three days starting from 28th day of the eleventh month of the lunar calendar, which generally falls in the last week of January, at the Tawang Monastery in the Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh.

The monks starts the preparation of the festival by making a pyramidal structure of about ten feet height of flour – a propitiation (Torgya) rite of Yamactaka Chak Khar Zur Gurpa is conducted and with this connotation the festival is called Torgya, and place it before the images of deities in the main prayer hall.  This festival is traditionally celebrated to chase out the evil spirits and usher prosperity and happiness for people and crops.

The lamas dressed in warrior outfit “Arpu” and chanting war slogans goes in a procession carried out of the monastery to a fire made outside the boundary wall of the monastery towards the southern gate. This symbolizes destroying of all evil and destructive forces inflicting all living beings. While conducting the rituals the Lamas dressed themselves in specially designed costumes and wear colourful masks of animals and deities and dance to the tune of the music of drum and cymbals in the front of the monastery’s assembly hall. Appa Pat-Sum, the main folk dance of the occasion, is performed by dancers.

On the third day of the festival, the Abbot bestows his blessings with a holy water vase by touching heads of everyone. This is called “Wang” and the Mane Ribu and “Rhungma”, the protected thread is distributed to all. It is believed by people that the protected thread worn around the neck keeps people away from evil spirits and brings welfare, good health and longevity in their lives.

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

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