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Bhutan Tsechu Festival at Ura, May 2011



Sequence from a Masked Dance at a Tsechu Festival in the village of Ura, in the Ura Valley of Central Bhutan. In this video, there are two Atsaras, or Jokers, that play a minor role.

Bhutan Tsechu Festival, Video of Dramitse Nga Cham, "Dance of Animals" at Domkhar, May 2011

Formally called the Dramitse Nga Cham in Bhutan, this very colorful and traditional dance deals with death and the transport of souls to the next world. As explained by my guide at the festival, the animal spirits walk the dead to Yamraj, the god of the dead. This particular masked dance starts with an Atsara, or "Joker" playfully trying to coax out the masked dancers.

Treasure Dance at Bhutan Tsechu Festival at Domkhar, May 2011



The Treasure Dance is one of the more important and dramatic masked dances in Bhutan Tsechu Festivals. It was introduced into Bhutan in the early Middle Ages by a famous Buddhist treasure hunter, named Terton Pemalinga. He was very gifted at finding relics holy to the Bhutanese. These relic, or "treasures" were hidden according to legend, centuries earlier by their most famous Buddhist saint, Guru Rimpoche. The red masks are meant to be terrifying to evil spirits, the blue masks show compassion.Festival dances are performed to ward off evil spirits and bad omens in the lives of the people watching and the surrounding vicinity. The Treasure Dance targets evil ground spirits. The Domkhar Teschu Festival is in Domkhar Village of Central Bhutan.


Journeys in Our Disappearing World 
by Gary Mancuso

The Last Places on Earth  

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