CROSS-BORDER TOURISM: Bhutan stamp on Sikkim CD – Teachers promote Buddhist culture through songs

CROSS-BORDER TOURISM: Bhutan stamp on Sikkim CD – Teachers promote Buddhist culture through songs – the Shangrila exchange ?!!

Phurba Tshering Bhutia and Nima Lhamu Bhutia with the stamps in Gangtok on Sunday - promoting healthy cross border cultural tourism ?!! (Photo by Prabin Khaling)

FROM THE TELEGRAPH CORRESPONDENT

Gangtok, July 25: A music album by two teachers in Sikkim to promote Yuksom and Tashiding has paid rich dividends with the Bhutan government releasing two postal stamps recognising the duo’s efforts to showcase Buddhist culture and heritage.

The songs in the video album, made to promote Yuksom and Tashiding as pilgrimage centres, were recorded in Bhutan capital Thimpu.

While one stamp features the cover of the album, the other shows the coronation site of the first monarch of Sikkim at Norbugang in Yuksom. The two stamps were released by the Bhutan Postal Corporation Ltd in the second week of June. Nima Lhamu Bhutia and Phurba Tshering Bhutia, the two behind the CD, Yuksam Drayang (Melody from Yuksom), could not initially believe that their creation had won recognition in Bhutan.

The envelope with the two stamps sent to Nima - Heaven blessed, wonderful & thrilling surprise ?!! (Photo by Prabin Khaling)

“Then, we received a letter on July 20 posted by a friend in Thimpu containing the two stamps. We were told that the stamps had been released in the second week of June,” Phurba Tshering told journalists here today.

The 28-year-old Phurba Tshering is an assistant professor of political science at Namchi Government College, while Nima Lhamu, 32, is a teacher at Yuksom Secondary School in West Sikkim.

The stamps are available in Bhutan currency Ngultrum (Nu) 15, Nu 10 and Nu 5 each.

The first stamp contains the cover of the CD which shows Phurba Tshering and Nima Lhamu between an image of the Eight Lucky Signs of Buddhism.

Yuksam Drayang has five songs in Bhutia language on the historical and cultural legacy of Yuksom and Tashiding. The album has also a six-minute narration on the two places with English subtitles.

A row of stamps featuring the album’s cover - fantastic for International promotion ?!! (Photo by Prabin Khaling)

The second stamp shows Yuksom, the coronation site of the first monarch of Sikkim. The place is the first capital of ancient Sikkim and is known as “throne of Norbugang” too.

In a certificate from the Bhutan Postal Corporation Ltd faxed to the duo here, the government said the album had been well appreciated by all the Bhutanese people in terms of its contents and quality.

“Such a product has brought in tremendous effect on cultural unity among the peoples of Bhutan and Sikkim. The CD is distributed to schools, community centres and even foreign tourist as the contents purely portray cultural aspects of Sikkim,” said Tseten Geltsen, the managing director-cum chief executive officer of the postal corporation, in the certificate.

While Nima Lhamu has written the lyrics and produced the album at a cost of Rs 3 lakh, the CD was directed by Phurba Tshering. The album was shot extensively at Yuksom and Tashiding and the CD was released on December 9.

Highlighting the importance of Yuksom in the history of Sikkim, the duo said the place was not only the first capital of Sikkim in the 17th Century but was also a holy place as it had been blessed by Guru Rimpoche in the 8th Century. “We have also focused on Tashiding, a holy place and a centre of Buddhist pilgrimage,” said Phurba Tshering.

He said the album had done well in Bhutan and a lot of people from the country had started coming to Yuksom and Tashiding. “The album has promoted the pilgrimage potential of Yuksom and Tashiding.”

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