Chorten Kora 1
Devotees from Tawang in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh join their Bhutanese counterparts in the Namgang Kora, one of eastern Bhutan’s oldest religious festivals which is held annually at the Chorten Kora, Trashiyangtse. Namgang Kora (circumambulating the Chorten on the last day of the auspicious first month) is preceded by the Tse-Chenga Kora, a similar celebration on the 15th day of the first month of the Bhutanese calendar. The tradition of circumambulation began after the present chorten was built by Lam Ngawang Lodey, the nephew of the 13th Je Khenpo, His Holiness Yonten Thaye (1771-1775). The physical structure of the chorten was copied from the Bodi Chorten in Nepal. Once a deeply spiritual tradition, the event today is bit diluted. With hundreds of shops set up in huts and tents, Chorten Kora appears more like a bustling fair than a spiritual venue. Food and game stalls, cloth show rooms, video parlors an d diverse wares both made locally and imported line the way to the Chorten. According to legend, while the construction of chorten reached its dome, a girl of eight-years old believed to be an angel from Tawang came and volunteered to enter the dome and be buried. On account of this incident, the 15th day of the first Bhutanese month is also called the Dakpe Kora (circumambulation by the Dakpas from Tawang) and the 30th day is called the Namgang Kora or the Drukpe Kora (circumambulation by the Bhutanese). Unlike other religious festivals, which have mask dance performances Chorten Kora is a festival to circumambulate the chorten.