Rumtek monastery (Sikkim) June 19 : Buddhist monks at Rumtek Monastery in Sikkim staged mask dances to the rhythmic beats to ward off evil spirits from the state.
The mask dance, traditionally known as 'Dupchen chaam' is performed after a week long ritual.
A large number of people including tourists gathered at Rumtek Monastery, 26 km from the state capital Gangtok to witness the mask dances.
Monks in traditional attire danced to the beating drums, cymbals, blowing long golden hollow pipes amid chanting of mantras. They wore the masks of bulls, pigs, hornbills, snow lions and dragons.
Each Chham dance begins with a deliberate slow movement of the feet, with the rhythm picking up with the increasing tempo of the drums.
"With the blessing of Guru Rinpoche, (deity of Sikkim) this dance is performed every two years. According to Buddhist philosophy it is believed that post death, we see the similar figure of deity and so this dance is performed to familiarize us with that deity here only so we do not to get frightened when one see him after death. This is a kind of liberation," said Chuntu Tsharchen, Buddhist Monk.
The monks came from different monasteries including from Darjeeling, Bhutan and Nepal.
"The dance is very interesting because it's something you don't have in the west. Its very colorful. And there is some sort of mediation in it," said Wenche Steve, Norwegian Tourist.
The dance is also believed to annihilate ego and illusion from within ones' self. By Tashii Pradhasm