Saturday Features

A DANCE OF THE AGES

Dec 30, 2017-

Mani Rimdu is a colourful festival hidden in between the Himalayas, celebrated by Sherpas of the highlands. The 19-day festival is celebrated in three different parts of Nepal, at different times. 

Legend has it that the festival started when local monks performed a dance for Zatul Ngawang Tenzin Norbu of Rongbuk who once visited the monastery of Tengboche. Ever since, it became an annual ritual and was then replicated at Chiwong Monastery in Phaplu and Thame.

I got the chance to attend this festival in the Chiwong Monastery of Phaplu during a cold, harsh November. The extensive festival is spread across a number of ceremonies, but is open to the public for only three days.

The opening ceremony is called ‘Wong’, where the Rinpoche gives his blessing to everyone who visits the monastery. It is then followed by a whole day of dance performances by the monks, and the festival ends with a dramatic fire puja.

The major attraction of this festival is the dance performances performed in the courtyard of the Monastery and it attracts a full house of audience. This ritual dance is said to have Tantric origin and is performed in a way that tells the story of the establishment of Buddhism in Tibet. 

Dressed as gods and goddesses this dance is also the re-enactment of a lost era. Some people believe this dance also symbolises individual awakening. Sitting huddled in a crowd in a frigid Phaplu, you cannot help but have your senses awakened by the music, the masks, the robes and the pageantry. We seldom bring this moments of clarity home, instead bringing home mere images frozen in time. These are mine. 

Published: 30-12-2017 11:34

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