Pang Lhabsol revelries to begin in Sikkim from Sep 1

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Gangtok, Aug 31 (UNI) A fortnight of introspection, revelry and obeisance to the guardian deities by Sikkimese people will begin from tomorrow at Rabongla in South Sikkim on the occasion of the Silver Jubilee celebrations of Pang Lhabsol festival.

Year 2008 marks the 25th edition of Pang Lhabsol celebrations at Rabongla whose stature and the scale of the grandeur of commemorating the festival has increased every year since 1984.

This festival is unique to Sikkim and is observed to pay respect and reinforce the beliefs of Sikkimese people to their guardian deity - Mount Khangchendzonga.

Traditionally, Pangtoed Chaam or the Warrior Dance holds centre stage which was originally choreographed from a dream sequence by Chakdor Namgyal, the fourth Chogyal.

The aura of the dance brought alive from a dream is still maintained at Rabongla. Monks from the Manichokherling monastery will be performing the world famous dance.

Today, the festival has evolved into a surreal fusion of tradition, culture, music and sports. In the process, this Southern town has now become a hub of the entire Sikkim Himalayan region.

Befitting the grand occasion, a national level invitational volleyball tournament features prominently in the Silver Jubilee celebrations. Seven state teams from Rajasthan, Haryana, Orissa, Punjab, Nagpur, Assam and West Bengal will feature in this high profile tournament. A team from Sikkim will also participate in the event.

''We are organising sports and musical events to encourage our youth towards this direction,'' state Cabinet Minster D D Bhutia, who is the patron and is actively involved in the celebrations, said.

Celebrations will begin from September 1 with volleyball preliminaries and cultural evenings.

''The final celebrations are scheduled on September 13 and will conclude on September 15 when the main events will be held,'' Mr Bhutia said.

Chief Minister Pawan Chamling has consented to be the Chief Guest on the main day, September 15, it was informed.

Mr Bhutia informed that a cultural troupe from Bhutan has been specially invited to perform on September 15 evening. A Manipuri culture group is also the other attraction of the festival.

In between the volleyball tournament and performances by the invited cultural groups, the organisers have made provisions for an open stage shows in the town. Any groups or individuals can perform in the open stage show, Mr Bhutia said.

''We want to give the hidden talent of Sikkim a platform during the festival,'' he said.

Meanwhile, the organisers are working to rope in a famous artiste for the main day celebrations. ''It will be a surprise,'' the organisers promised.

UNI BG DPM RD RL RK1410

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