THOUSANDS ATTEND BHUM CHU AT TASHIDING MONASTERY
TASHIDING, 09 Mar: Thousands of devotees witnessed the annual Bumchu celebration which is one of the most auspicious events observed here at Tashiding Monastery in West Sikkim. The Bumchu (Bum for vase and Chu for water) is held in Tashiding Monastery on the 14th and 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan lunar year, which coincided with 07 and 08 of March according to the English calendar. The holy vase, which holds 21 cups of water, measured out a cup and a half short of clear water. The official divination of what this portends for the year ahead will be made in the coming days by the monks at the Monastery, who will also recommend special prayers and offerings which need to be made. These details are released later by the Ecclesiastical Department.
A large number of devotees had camped around the monastery with families and friends from across the country and abroad like Bhutan, Nepal and other countries. This ancient ritual is one of the holiest Buddhist festivals in Sikkim and thousands of devotees attend it. Endless trains of people could be seen from midnight onwards until the next day waiting for their turn to receive the holy water.
At around 2 AM of 08 March, the main gate of the monastery was opened for the devotees after the sacred Bhumpa (vase) was removed from its casket in the presence of Sangha MLA, Phetuk Tshering, Joint Director Ecclesiastical Department, Sonam Gyatso Bhutia and the senior monks of the Tashiding monastery.
Special prayers, “Thuzi Chenpo Khorwa Ledrol” (Teaching on compassion liberating from world existence), were recited since a week earlier from the 8th day of the first month of the Tibetan calendar by around 150 monks of the monastery led by Omje, Dorjee Lopon and Tsultrimpha, informed a senior monk of the monastery.
Phurba T Tsechutharpa, executive member Bhumchu while speaking to NOW! informed that as per tradition, three cups of the sacred water were taken out- one cup for the royal family, one for the monks and the third for the devotees gathered for the ceremony. These three cups of water are replaced with fresh water drawn from the rivers Rathong Chu and Riney Chu.
The vase can hold a total of twenty one cups; its contents however do not stay stable. When the water level increases and is crystal clear, then a peaceful and prosperous year promising a good harvest and general good health is expected, Mr Tsechutharpa informed.
If the water level remains the same, then it predicts that the year will be satisfactory and peaceful. On the other hand, if the water level decreases and is cloudy, then it means that the year will be filled with conflict and unrest.
The ceremony was attended by the Sangha MLA, officials from Ecclesiastical Department headed by JD, Sonam Gyatso Bhutia, DC West, Santa Pradhan, Member of State Planning Commission, Lhakila Tongden Lepcha.