Itanagar: The three-day traditional Torgya Festival of the Monpa community of Arunachal Pradesh began at the Tawang Monastery on Sunday.
“This year it marks a special occasion as it is ‘Dungyur Torgya’ which comes after a 3-year gap,” Chief Minister Pema Khandu, who graced the inaugural ceremony and witnessed the monastic dance performances, said in a tweet sharing a few photographs from the celebration.
“One of the main attractions of 1st day Torgya festival is ‘Sha-na Cham’- The ritual dance is performed by monks to showcase the Choe-gyal Yap & Yum Tsa-munde deity,” he stated in another tweet.
The Chief Minister was accompanied by Rev Gyabung Tulku Rinpoche, the abbot of the Tawang Monastery, local MLA Tsering Tashi and Tawang Brigade Commander, Brigadier NM Bendigeri.
During the three-day Torgya festival, costumed dances are held in the courtyard of the Monastery with the objective of removing evil spirits and ushering in all-round prosperity and happiness to the people in the ensuing year.
The popular dances performed with artists donning colourful costumes and masks are the Pha Chan and the Losjker Chungiye – the latter being performed by the monks of the monastery.
Each dance represents a myth and costumes and masks represent animal forms such as cows, tigers, sheep, monkeys and so forth. The first day’s festival is called Torgya and involves worship of the image created specially for the occasion.