Local tribal people, most of whom live a nomadic life in the remote high altitude areas of North Sikkim join the Buddhists of the world to celebrate Drukpa Tseshi, an important date in the Buddhist calendar and observed on July 15. As seen in the picture taken by freelance journalist Khagendra Mani Pradhan, the tribal people, the Lachengpas and Dokpas assemble in their best traditional attire at a local monastery built of stones at Lhashar Valley in North Sikkim at an altitude of 16,000 ft to celebrate Drukpa Tseshi and pray to their guardian deities residing in the surrounding seven snow-capped peaks.
On this day, the tribal people participate in the annual Yak race. The yaks, as a mark of honour, are given the finest decoration with a saddle of Tibetan carpets and silk scarves around their necks. Drukpa Tseshi marks the event when Lord Buddha first turned the ‘Wheel of Dharma’ and His first preaching of the four Noble Truths to His first five disciples at a deer park in Sarnath. Prayers and lighting of butter lamps are held in all the monasteries of Sikkim by the Buddhists.