Thimphu, Bhutan: Because of the pandemic, tshechus and festivities around the nation have been held behind closed doors for the past few years. Yet since the COVID-19 limitations were lifted the previous year, Tshechus has begun to draw more tourists in some areas. More than 600 visitors from Tawang, India, travelled to Gomphu Kora in Trashi Yangtse to watch the Tshechu.
From the closest road point in India to Toedtsho Gewog in Trashi Yangtse, Tawang residents trekked for roughly four hours while carrying all of their belongings on their backs.
They then hired cabs to take them to Gomphu Kora from there. And in these improvised huts, they resided. All of them are present to see the Gomphu Kora Tshechu.
The eighth day of the second month of the Bhutanese calendar is when the three-day Tshechu officially begins each year.
The Gomphu Kora Tshechu is claimed to have been founded by Trashigang Lam Neten Singye Rinchen roughly thirty years ago.
Public displays of Guru Tshengye Thongdrel and holy artefacts also took place during the Tshechu.
People from Tawang claim that they have been going to Gomphu Kora for years to see the celebration and receive blessings.
“I’ve been there seven times, but the covid epidemic prevented us from going in the past three years. Nonetheless, I travelled here with my buddies this year. We are having fun,” said Tawang resident Dorji Wangchuk.
“I am overjoyed because this is my first visit to the place. My parents would always tell me as a child to go to Gomphu Kora. And I’m thrilled because it was my goal to go to Bhutan,” said Pelden Tshering, a Tawang native.
Also, these visitors are exempt from the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF), which is required by the Department of Immigration for pilgrims to Gomphukora and Hindus visiting a temple close to Phuentshogling.
The SDF waiver, according to the department, is only valid if the pilgrims remain in Trashi Yangtse and the pilgrimage site throughout the festival.
The business community and the taxi drivers in Trashi Yangtse have been given a chance to earn some extra money as a result of the large number of Tawang residents visiting the Tshechu.
“In the past, we made around Nu 5,000 each day. But these days, we make about 15,000 Nu. Furthermore, since they are purchasing items from here, businesspeople also gain,” according to cab driver Choni Dorji. People from Tawang also travelled to nearby holy sites, including Chorten Kora and Dechen Phodrang Ney in Trashi Yangtse, in addition to Gomphu Kora.