Bhumchu festival from tomorrow, predict Sikkim's future

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Gangtok, Feb 20 (UNI) Devotees from across the state and nearby areas, including Bhutan, thronged the sacred Tashiding monastery in West Sikkim to participate in the holy Bhumchu festival tomorrow.

According to mythology, water from the holy Bhumchu vase would cleanse all sins of a person and make him spiritual.

Bumchu is a sacred vase containing water blessed by Ngadak Sempa Chenpo, one of the three monks who consecrated the first king of Sikkim in 1646.

The vase belonged to Guru Padmasambhava, the patron saint of Sikkim, and is said to predict the year ahead for Sikkim.

According to the locals the water is the vase is 300-years-old and still has a fresh fragnance.

''It never dries up or gets spoiled,'' a devotee said.0 The sacred Bumpa (vase) remains sealed and is opened for public 'darshan' once a year on the 15th day of the first Tibetan lunar month also called Dawa Thangpo, a full moon night.

''The level of water predicts peace, prosperity and calamities for the year,'' people stated.

The ceremony would be observed in the main shrine hall of the Tashiding monastery so that people could see the opening of the box where the sacred 'Bumpa' is kept.

The centuries old festival has been observed by the senior monks of the monastery, representatives from the palace and currently the state Ecclesiastical department and Namgyal Research Institute of Tibetology.

The water, a mixture of sacred soil and five precious gem stones, was collected from several holy places by Guru Padmasambhava.

During the festival it is taken out and poured in 21 small tings (small vases) and measured after which it is replaced from the Rathongchu, a sacred mountain stream and sealed for the next year.

Prayers would also be offered at the Sarchok Phepu cave and monastery in Sangmo, South Sikkim. The cave is said to be one of the four holy caves blessed by Guru Padmasambhava during his stay in Sikkim while on his way to Tibet in the eighth century.

Meanwhile, the Bhum Tsock, distribution of one lakh prasads, ceremony, conducted at Guru Khubum Lhakang monastery here in Deorali, will conclude tomorrow on the auspicious occasion of Bhumchu.

Performed by a set of 50 Buddhist monks to wards off evils from Sikkim, one lakh prasads will be distributed to the devotees by tomorrow, said Zigdal Hissey, in charge of the monastery.

UNI BG PP RN1810

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