Tibetan new year dawns in Indian hill town

Mcleodganj (Himachal Pradesh), March 11 (IANS) Homes are being spruced up, prayers being offered and a special two-feet-high 'bhungu amchok' structure made of food is being erected as Tibetans in exile celebrate their new year, known as Losar.

A walk down the Bhagsu Nag temple road and in the busy market of Mcleodganj, 10 km from Dharamsala town and the abode of the Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, makes it amply clear how religiously the community observes its new year.

In Losar, 'lo' stands for year and 'sar' for new. According to the Tibetan calendar, the New Year began March 5 this year. The rituals and celebrations related to it will continue for nearly two weeks.

'Traditionally, houses are cleaned and prayers offered for the well-being of the family on the first day of the New Year. Lamas offer prayers, chant hymns and read Buddhist scriptures,' Rinchen Samkhar, who runs cookery classes here, told IANS.

'We also make a special beverage, changkol, made of 'chhaang', a Tibetan beer. During the festival, we meet our relatives and friends. People visit the local monasteries and pray for a prosperous year ahead,' she added.

Even the Tibetan government-in-exile is celebrating the New Year in its true traditional style, with 'bhungu amchok' (meaning Donkey's ears) on the entrance of its parliament complex.

'Bhungu amchok is made of various food items. It is a two-foot structure built on baked and fried bread, food grains, salt, tea leaves and butter. It is further decorated with chocolates, sweet candies, juices, fruits, wine and incense sticks on the top. These are all symbols of good signs and success for us,' said Jamyang Lodou, who is associated with JJI cafe, a prominent eating joint.

'According to the Tibetan calendar, our new year starts in either February or March. People celebrate it for 10 to 15 days. Bhungu amchok also has religious significance and we also make it during marriages, birth of a child and during other special occasions,' said Lodou.

Mcleodganj, situated just above Dharamsala town in Kangra district of Himachal Pradesh with the snow-capped mighty Dhauladhar range in the backdrop, is one of the prominent tourist destinations of India. It is frequented by scores of foreign tourists every day.

Over 100,000 Tibetans are settled in India. The Tibetan government-in-exile is headquartered in Mcleodganj.

Dawa Tripa, a resident of Mcleodganj studying English honours at a college in Chandigarh, said: 'Losar is one of the most important events of the Tibetan community calendar. It is a family-oriented festival and celebrated amidst a blend of customary traditions.

'We normally have three to five days of holidays so that we can celebrate this festival at our homes with our family members. All Tibetans here are in a party mood and I have specially come here from Chandigarh to celebrate this event. We together wash our houses or white-wash them to please our gods and deities.'

(Alkesh Sharma can be contacted at alkesh.s@ians.in)


Did you know that you can get stories like this on the Yahoo mail app?
Download it here.

Yahoo Cricket

Latest News

  • Female "Assassin" tailored to actress, Cannes director says
    Female "Assassin" tailored to actress, Cannes director says

    By Mike Davidson CANNES, France (Reuters) - Taiwanese director Hou Hsiao-Hsien said on Friday he had not started out wanting to make the lead character female in his film "Nie Yinniang" (The Assassin), but had tailored the role to suit his lead actress, Shu Qi. "I never thought of making a female assassin movie, but for me the choice of people is very important," Hou told Reuters in an interview. "When I look at the actor or actresses, I would think what sort of movie would suit them, and …

  • 'Indian Idol Junior' sets ball rolling with Bollywood music

    Mumbai, May 22 (IANS) "Indian Idol Junior" is back with more glamour quotient and young talent from all over India. The singing reality TV show was launched here with a blast from the past, with contestants paying tribute to some of the legends of music industry like Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar and Sonu Nigam. The children traced the journey of songs in the music world from 1950s era by crooning hit numbers "Aaiye meherbaan", "Aayega aane wala", "Mere sapno ki rani", "Ruki ruki thi …

  • Divyanka Tripathi intimidates her fans

    Mumbai, May 22 (IANS) Actress Divyanka Tripathi, who plays Ishita Bhalla in soap opera "Ye Hai Mohabbatein" left two of her fans intimidated. While hosting a segment at the Star Parivaar Awards with the 30-year-old, actor Shravan Reddy, who plays Neil in soap opera "Dosti...Yaariyan...Manmarzian" got frightened before he had to get on stage because he has a huge crush on her. "Being in one frame with Divyanka made me extremely nervous as she is a beautiful lady and an even better person at …

  • Polish court adjourns Polanski extradition case until mid-September
    Polish court adjourns Polanski extradition case until mid-September

    A Polish court on Friday adjourned until mid-September a hearing on whether to extradite filmmaker Roman Polanski to the United States over a 1977 child sex conviction. Polanski, who lives in France, is in Poland making a movie but did not appear in the Krakow court on Friday and was represented by lawyers. Judge Dariusz Mazur said Poland had requested further information from U.S. authorities by Aug. 8. …

  • Bengal delegate in Cannes for business

    Kolkata, May 22 (IANS) Keen to make a mark in the global arena, the West Bengal government is scouting for business opportunities at the 68th Cannes International Film Festival, an official said on Friday. The state government has roped in actor-director Arindam Sil to woo production houses to shoot their films in the state. According to state Information and Cultural Affairs Secretary Atri Bhattacharya, Sil left for Cannes on May 18 and is actively engaging and liasoning with production …

  • Make your hair holiday-ready

    New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Before you take off on a summer vacation to a destination of your choice, spare a little time to think of haircare. Hairstylist Asgar Saboo gives essential tips to ensure your hair is holiday-ready and looks its best during your vacation, said a statement. * Use dry shampoo: Dry shampoo has been gaining popularity recently. …

  • 'Tanu Weds Manu Returns' highly recommended by B-Town

    Mumbai, May 22 (IANS) With her 'swagger' in "Tanu Weds Manu Returns", Kangana Ranaut has once again proved why she's called the 'Queen' of Bollywood! The actress' double role in her latest release has her fans and friends from the film fraternity giving her and the film a thumbs up. …

  • Maintain food safety, hygiene in summer

    New Delhi, May 22 (IANS) Take extra care to protect food in summer and keep bacteria at bay. Saurabh Arora, founder of www.foodsafetyhelpine.com, shares tips on food safety and hygiene: * Maintain hygiene: Wash hands before cooking and after handling raw meat, fish and poultry. Avoid cooking and touching food items if you have cold, runny nose or fever. …