Chagkhar Lokpa or Torjab
Date: 27th September 2019
Place: Chagkhar Lhakhang, Bumthang
CHAGKHAR LOKPA, a must attend festival.
Come September, you will get to witness Torjab or Tordhok festival which is locally known as Chagkhar Lokpa, one of the most salient annual festivals of historic Chagkhar (Iron Castle) Lhakhang (Temple) under Bumthang district in Bhutan. The ritual, every year, is conducted on the 29th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar and it falls on September 27 this year.
Given the importance of the festival, many people from across the country including foreigners come to attend. Chagkhar Lokpa is a daylong festival on which rituals are conducted with mask dances and well-known Bey Chham (special war dance with swords). Lokpa ritual was first conducted to mark the agreement between Indian King Sindhu Raja, who resided at Chagkhar and his rival King, Nawachey, also an Indian King, who had been fighting wars against each other for ages to not to fight wars any longer.
Guru Padmasambhava, during his visit to Bumthang mediated the dispute between the two Kings and they were sent back to their respective places after making them to take a wow to not to initiate war on each other thereafter. Tertoen (Treasure revealer) Dorji Lingpa first conducted Torjab at Chagkhar in 13th century as inscribed in the text he revealed from the wall of Jampa lhakhnag that Padmasambhava had embedded as a treasure.
Dorji Lingpa visited Bumthang following the prophecy of Padmasambhava to complete his remaining tasks in the region. Lokpa in Bumthap dialect means deflection and the term was derived from a belief that this ritual could even deflect wars that are already on its way besides keeping threats of wars at bay at all. The reason why Lokpa is conducted on the specific day is because the 29th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar is considered a bad day according to Bhutanese astrology. Therefore, Lokpa is conducted on this day with an intention to subdue all the potential evil spirits that are believed to be empowered to harm sentient beings on this particular day.
Torjab as an important ritual is also conducted for national wellbeing and people who attend this ritual are said to be cleansed of all the misfortune and ill luck. Ever since Torjab ritual took its origin in Chagkhar was gradually spread to other parts of the country as a powerful cleansing ritual. Torjab presently is categorized into several types but the one conducted at Chakhar is Guru Drakpoi Torjab, meaning Guru’s wrathful Torjab ritual.
While Bhutan as a country is known as the last Shangrila and the last standing Buddhist Kingdom on the planet, Bumthang is known as the religious heartland of the country. Chagkhar was the residence of an ancient Indian King Sindhu Raja during the 8th century.
The enlightened Indian Saint, Guru Padmasambhava also visited and blessed the place. While attending the Torjab, you can also visit Chagkhar Heritage Museum and Chagkhar Lhakhang where most of the valuable old relics and treasures discovered by Dorji lingpa in the 13th century are preserved.
You need not at all to worry about accommodation as we have homestay, Dechen Gawa Village Homestay, where we serve you pure Bumthap delicacies and help you experience village life here in Bumthang.
Summary history of Chagkhar Lhakhang
Chagkhar Lhakhang is the place where Guru Rinpoche has blessed in the 8th century. However, later the nine story castle of the king Sindhu Raja was destroyed to the dust by the Tibetan Emperor”King Langdarma”
Then in 14th century, as per the prophesied of Guru Rinpoche, Terton Dorji Lingpa” the great treasure reveler”built the present three storied Chagkhar Lhakhang on this spot where the castle stood.The sacred objects in the Lhakhang are several holy treasures discovered by Terton Dorji Lingpa as well as foot print of Tashi Kheudren ( Daughter of King Sindhu Raja)
As per the prophesied, Terton Dorji Lingpa also Renovated the Jamba Lhakhang and conducted the consecration cermony and subdued the evil spirits and devils. Since then,every year, the Chagkhar Lamas have been Conducting the Jamba Lhakhang Drub on the 9th month and 15th day of the Bhutanese calender for 5 days. During the time of the Drub, the sacred objects of the Chagkhar Lhakhang are taken in a ceremonial procession to the Jamba Lhakhang where they are displayed for public viewing . Today the Jamba Lhakhang Drub is one of the most widely known cermonies in the country.
Jambay Lhakhang Drub Festival Dates: 12th – 15th November, 2019. (15th November – Thongdrel on last day)