Fewer devotees from Tawang at Gomphu Kora Tshechu

The three-day annual Tshechu ends today

Contrary to past years, the number of people attending the Gomphu Kora Tshechu in Trashiyangtse from Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh in India, has been decreasing each year.

Earlier more than 300 visitors from Tawang, popularly known as dhaps, attended the Tshechu, but today the number has drastically gone down. Only about 100 devotees from Tawang thronged the Tshechu, which began on Thursday.

Meanwhile, the tradition of dhaps attending the popular Gomphu Kora Tshechu dates back to the 8th century and every year, hundreds of them from places like Loomla, Dongmareng and Khobleyteng in Tawang attended the three-day annual Tshechu.

Lobzang, 52 from Tawang who comes to attend the Tshechu every year, said the number of visitors from Tawang has been declining over the years as the younger generations are not keen.

One of the eldest visitors from Tawang, Norbu, 66, said he is visiting Gomphu Kora after more than five years.

“With age it is difficult to travel and I think this will be my last visit,” he added.

Norbu, meanwhile, recollects his younger days when he along with his friends dropped by Gomphu Kora almost every year. “Those were wonderful days,” he added.

 Meanwhile, the nearest road point from Tawang is about a kilometer away from the bordering village of Jangphutse in Bhutan. From Jangphutse, visitors have to travel towards Toedtsho gewog center and then hitch a ride to Gomphu Kora.

Not just the visitors from Tawang, Lopen Sangay from Gomphu Kora said the number of local attendance has also gone down. “Compared to the 80s and 90s, the number of people attending the Tshechu has dropped drastically.”

“Back then people pitched tents in the vast fields of Tserigom and Tawangpas would bring their own mask dances and other native chams to perform in the Tshechu,” said the Lopen. “Nyagoe or strongmen competition was also held between the Bhutanese and Tawangpas.”

Additionally, an elderly man from Yangtse said the charm of Gomphu Kora Tshechu has waned and the Bhutanese people visiting from other dzongkhags seem to have started decreasing too.

He said people were earlier seen circumambulating the temple late at nights and men would court women, and people returned as married couple after the Tshechu.

“I met my wife here at the Tshechu,” he smiles as he points at his wife.

“Those were the memorable days but the cases of men courting women are hardly seen and heard of now,” he added.

However, the annual three-day Gomphu Kora Tshechu has been a blessing for the businessmen who pitch stalls during the festival. The stalls attract more people than the auspicious Tshechu at Gomphu Kora.

Vast fields near the Gomphu Kora are filled with colorful tents; attracting hundreds of people daily. The different types of stalls range from clothes, shoes, toys, religious items to food stalls.

The three-day annual Tshechu ends today.

pic courtesy: Druk Trails

Jigme Wangchen from T/Yangtse