Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sikkim worships guardian deity

RABONG (South Sikkim) Aug 28: Over 7,000 people including monks, students and state government officials thronged Mani Chokerling shrine at Rabong in South Sikkim today to witness Pang Lhabsol, a mask dance festival. People offered prayers to Mount Kanchanzonga, the guardian deity of Sikkim. The day was also observed to mark the signing of the brotherhood treaty between Lepchas and Bhutias in the 13th century. "We are celebrating the festival here since 1984," said Mr DD Bhutia, state urban development and housing department minister who was the chief patron of the organising committee. "We will celebrate the silver jubilee of the festival next year in a big way," Mr Bhutia, added. Various cultural programmes were organised and traditional dances performed to mark the festival. Tourists also took part in the celebrations. People from all walks of life including children were present at the Rabong monastery to watch mask dance. "The main reason behind organising the event is to preserve our traditional culture, such as mask dance, which is fast vanishing," Mr Bhutia, said. "This festival also brings peace in our society as we pray in the monastery for peace and tranquility," he added. More than 25 departmental stalls from different parts of the state were put up in the exhibition and locals were engaged in food stalls selling traditional local food. "Another reason behind organising the event is to engage unemployed locals in this way," Mr Bhutia, said. Students from various schools performed traditional dances, such as snow lion dance on the occasion. A volleyball match and other sports event students were also organised.