SIKKIM NEWS: Drukpa Tsetse celebrations in Lhaser Valley of North Sikkim – Dokpas a fast vanishing human species ?!!
From The Telegraph
Text: Bijoy Gurung
Pictures: Prabin Khaling
A Dokpa takes part in a yak race during Drukpa Tsetse celebrations in Lhaser Valley of North Sikkim while a member of the tribe prepares dinner with dried yak meat at a house in the valley and dressed in their traditional attire the Dokpas, along with the Lachengpas, gather in front of a Buddhist monastery in the valley to offer prayers on Drukpa Tsetse.
The festival is celebrated on July 15 every year to mark the day when Lord Buddha had first turned the Wheel of Dharma and preached the four Noble Truths to his first five disciples at a deer park in Sarnath.
The Dokpas also organise their annual yak race on this day. The animals are decorated with a saddle of Tibetan carpets and silk scarves around their necks before participating in the event.
Dokpas, whose numbers are dwindling fast, have a nomadic lifestyle. Before 1961, the tribe used to roam in the Tso Lhamu Plateau, part of which lies in Tibet now. Some of the tribe members stayed on the other side of the Tibetan Plateau after the border was sealed in 1961.
Even though the tribe does not have a fixed settlement here, they are mainly concentrated in the Lashar Valley, at an altitude of 16,000ft, Tso Lhamu and Lhonak Valley in North Sikkim.
The nomads raise yaks which they sell and also eat. The members of the tribe are known to look after the wildlife and medicinal plants found in the remote regions where they live.
The Dokpas, however, celebrate the Buddhist festival along with the rest of the hill state. On this day devotees gather to offer prayers and light butter lamps in all the Buddhist monasteries across the Sikkim. The day is an official holiday in the state.