Royal High­land Fes­ti­val ends

Bhutan Times - - Front Page - Thuk­ten Zangpo

Amidst the mighty snow capped moun­tains and serene breeze, hun­dreds of peo­ple bus­tled to cel­e­brate the third Royal High­land Fes­ti­val in Laya, Gasa on Oc­to­ber 23- 24.

The fes­ti­val un­locks the mys­tery of the au­then­tic­ity and sim­plic­ity of high­lander. It also brings to­gether all the high­landers from other part of Bhutan to ex­change val­ues, knowl­edge, skills and best prac­tices re­lated to high­landers and yak herd­ing.

The fes­ti­val sen­si­tizes the high­landers on de­cline of yak farm­ing with in­creased vul­ner­a­bil­ity from in­stantly short term in­come gen­er­at­ing ac­tiv­i­ties that seem to be chal­leng­ing the sus­tain­abil­ity of liveli­hoods in fu­ture in the high­lands. Thus, it is aimed to en­lighten stake­hold­ers on the im­por­tance of their spir­ited par­tic­i­pa­tion in en­hanc­ing the eco­nomic op­por­tu­nity of the high­landers.

This fes­ti­val also shares the beauty and won­ders of Gasa Dzongkhag through its na­ture, his­tory and its age- old tra­di­tion and cul­ture, and with Gasa's vi­sion of “Good to Great Gasa”.

A strong early morn­ing adorned with the chip­drel pro­ces­sion fol­lowed by of­fer­ing of marchang and na­tional an­them started the fes­ti­val on Oc­to­ber 23.

Grac­ing the event, the rep­re­sen­ta­tive of His Majesty The King to the fes­ti­val, chief jus­tice and chief ad­vi­sor to the in­terim govern­ment, Tsh­er­ing Wangchuk with peo­ple at­tend­ing the fes­ti­val of­fered the deep­est grat­i­tude to His Majesty The King for the in­sight­ful vi­sion and con­sid­er­ing this unique fes­ti­val.

“Through fes­ti­val like this, we get op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence the no­madic cul­ture and their pas­toral way of liv­ing,” chief ad­vi­sor said.

The cheer­ful cul­tural pro­grams by the lo­cals, stu­dents and artists from the Bhutanese film in­dus­try, sports, pa­rade of dec­o­rated yaks and horses, and lot­tery draws added col­ors to the cold white stuff.

The sec­ond day saw the most amaz­ing 25km Laya run at about 4000m that is chal­leng­ing yet mes­mer­iz­ing scenic beau-

ty. The run­ner be­gan from Pon­jothang, the point where mo­torable road ends and run­ners have to go along the banks of Mochhu River un­til the Lan­gothang.

An army phys­i­cal in­struc­tor, San­gay Wangchuk, 35 was win­ner in men's cat­e­gory com­plet­ing the race in 2 hours 7 min­utes and 48 sec­onds. In women's cat­e­gory, Kin­ley Zam, 27 from Lu­nana com­pleted the race in 2 hours 39 min­utes 50 sec­onds. There were 24 women and 52 men in­clud­ing six for­eign­ers, three in each cat­e­gory.

The day also saw live­stock show where there were com­pe­ti­tion and judg­ing of yak breed­ing, milch yak, heifer, calves, best horses and best dogs. The chief ad­vi­sor later awarded prizes to the win­ners.

The strong women com­pe­ti­tion and wrestling amongst par­tic­i­pat­ing high­land Dzongkhags was also or­ga­nized. The par­tici- pants to the fes­ti­val also took part in the open 5 km cross-coun­try race in and around the fes­ti­val ground.

“Gungi Thempo“- Lhingzhi Zhey, a na­tive dance to the high­lander from Thim­phu Dzongkhag and “Chundu Gon­shay” from Haa were also per­formed to en­ter­tain the gath­er­ing.

Some high­landers were lucky to have util­ity items through luck draws. The day also saw of­fer­ing of zhap­ten ( long life prayers) to His Majesty the King, the high­landers dis­played their way of liv­ing a no­madic lives through re­turn pa­rade of their dec­o­rated an­i­mals.

The fes­ti­val con­sists of se­ries of stalls rang­ing from lo­cal based yak pro­duce to high­land tech­nol­ogy, high­land agri­cul­ture tech­nol­ogy, medic­i­nal herbs and plants and oth­ers.

The fes­ti­val was started in Oc­to­ber 16, 2016 to mark the birth of His Royal High­ness Gyalsey, 400 years of Shab­drung and Rab­jung (60 years cy­cle) birth year of Guru Rin­poche. His Majesty has per­son­ally graced the first and sec­ond year of the fes­ti­val. Since then, the fes­ti­val is cel­e­brated with joy by Bhutanese, ev­ery year.

The chief ad­vi­sor to the in­terim govern­ment Chief Jus­tice Tsh­er­ing Wangchuk awards prize to 27-year-old Kin­ley Zam, who is the win­ner in the women’s cat­e­gory in Laya Run.Laya Run is one of the many events held as part of the Royal High­land Fes­ti­val.

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