Wednesday, December 20, 2017

A jewel of a hamlet- the Wangtsa ( Wangcha ) Village.

The Wangtsa Temple site was identified by Jhekhen Shakya Rinchen as symbolised by two very gnarled huge Juniper trees. A structure was built by JheKhen Sherab Gyeltshen and later enhanced by Jhekhen Ngawang Yonten Pelzang. Since then known descendant Lams include Lam Yeshey, Lam Rinchen. Lam Rinchen was great grand father of my father. He was  one of the two main disciples of the welknown first Jhe Sou- Chhoe- Ku ( a lineage of Shhadrung Ngawang Namgyel ). My father was just nine years old when Lam Rinchen died. 

The Wangtsa Goen-Chham during Lomba was a 8 day long religious event starting from the 24th day of the 10th Bhutanese month that culminated in the Tsechu held on the 1st day of the 11th month ( the photos are of the Tsechu ).  It  is a mixture of Bon rites and Kagyu practices. Gradually in recent times due to lack of qualified Lams within the traditional families responsible for the religious roles, the events have been condensed to 3 days and jointly conducted at the temple..

It is difficult to ascertain when exactly the Goen-Chham was instituted. But it is safe to assume that annual Bon rites were there much before Buddhism came to Bhutan. Ap Chhundu is actually a Bon Deity.Thus the yak sacrifice. Over the centuries, Bon practices and Buddhism merged and in my village the Bon culture of animal sacrifice was gradually reduced to offering of raw eggs.

Today at the Tsechu, the overcoming of the evil force is conducted by use of a statue of Shabdrung instead of the Bon way of fire torch and long sword. But the ground breaking or rather blessing of the ground in the morning is done by not Dhu-Dhar Chham as in many Tsechu festivals in Bhutan but by Saa-Cha Chham performed by two dancers with bull masks.

There are traditionally identified families responsible for the mask dances of Saa-Cha, the Lam Kenchoe represented by fierce masks of Pel Yeshey Goenpo and Pelden Lhamo and Goddess Tsomin the source of community water and wealth gifts. The Tsechu ends with the offering of Lamai Shhabten and Yul Lha Soelkha. The following next three days are devoted to annual village archery game.

A community annual Lomba festivities really  comprise of activities to thank the past year and welcome the new year and above all a gathering of young and old both who live away and in the village. As long as a you are within Bhutan, a Wangtsa born would not want to miss the Lomba festivities of the village.

On behalf of the families of Wangtsa community, I thank Kuensel Team for visiting our village and sharing our joys of Lomba celebrations with the nation through the two photos.      


  1. Sir, sorry this does not relate to the Wangtsa village. However, I feel you could share your views on the 21 Dec 2017 UN vote in which 128 countries voted in favour of UN called for US to withdraw Jerusalem decision. To my utter surprise Bhutan was not one of those 128 countries, but instead abstained. Wondering if our govt decision to abstain was due to US ambassador to the UN Nikey Hailey's threat that she would be taking names of countries that voted in favour (to withraw US decision to withdraw Jerusalem decision).

  2. Thank you for sharing the information. I did not know that Bhutan had abstained.This has more to do with Indian command than Anerican request. Many years back Bhutan had sided with Israel in an UN vote. India barters Bhutan vote with Washington which backs Israel. India will do the correct world image politics but will direct Bhutan to act as her surrogate and thus fulfill India's commitment to Ametica.

  3. Suspecting that this must be Indian pressure, I checked India's postion on the Jerusalem vote and found out that India was one of those 128 contries. So my conclusion was our govt abstained either because of the threat of US or simply because of ignorance. But like you said it was because "India would do the correct world image but would direct Bhutan to act as her surrogate and thus fulfill India's commitment to America"