Torgya Festival Monpa Tribe | Arunachal Pradesh
The colorful Torgya is an important festival of the Monpa tribe who reside in the western cultural sphere of Arunachal Pradesh. It is celebrated in monasteries for three days, from the 27th to 29th of the eleventh month of the lunar calendar. Torgya’s significance is to bring peace, good health and welfare of the people.
Materialistically, Torgya is a pyramidal structure made from flour about 10 feet high which monks use to initiate the festival, and is placed before the images of deities in the prayer hall. Wearing a warrior outfit known as Arpu, the Lamas recite religious texts of Torgya Chhaker. During the afternoon there is chanting to a fire made towards the southern gate of the monastery. The Torgya is eventually thrown into the fire by the Abbot and Lamas with prayers to end evils from affecting the people, prosperous life and completion of spiritual aspirations.
The festival is a vibrant affair where elaborate costumes are worn, masks decorate faces depicting animals and deities, and dances are performed to drums and cymbals. Appa Pat-Sum, the main folk dance, is beautifully enacted and synchronized.
It is worth noting that every third year the Torgya is called as Dungyur festival when the celebrations are grander. The blessing of Dalai Lama and his cooperation is seek by the monastery upon which the Dalai Lama sends Feb Jum, a holy item, which is to be used in rituals.
On the last day, the Abbot bestows blessings, sprinkles holy water and distributes holy thread to each person. This ritual is called Wang and the thread signifies good spirits, welfare, health and longevity.