Pang Lhabsol in Sikkim in 2024

Pang Lhabsol in Sikkim in 2024
Rumtek monastery, the seat of the Karmapa located in Gangtok, Sikkim, India. Image via 123RF
  How long until Pang Lhabsol?
Pang Lhabsol
  Dates of Pang Lhabsol in Sikkim
2024 Wed, Sep 18Regional Holiday
2023 Thu, Aug 31Regional Holiday

This is the main festival of the Hindu Nepalese community of Sikkim celebrated usually in the month of September.

When is Pang-Lhabsol?

Celebrated to offer respect to Mount Kanchenjunga, the third-highest mountain in the world, Pang Lhabsol is a colourful festival that draws visitors from far and wide to the quaint and beautiful state of Sikkim. 

The festival is celebrated on the 15th day of the 7th month of the Tibetan calendar, corresponding to late August/early September.

Traditions of Pang-Lhabsol

This festival is unique to Sikkim and commemorates the consecration of Mount Khangchendzonga as the guardian deity of Sikkim. It is believed that the mountain god played an active role in introducing Buddhism into this former kingdom.

According to a handwritten biography by Lhatsun Chenpo, the chief propagator of Buddhism in Sikkim, it was divine visions sent by the mountain god which guided him to Demajong (the hidden valley of rice, as the Bhutias refer to Sikkim).

Pang means ‘to witness’, and on this day the mountain god is invoked and prayed upon at Pang Lhabsol to continue protecting Sikkim. 

The ‘chaams’ which are part of this festival are unique and the spectacular Pangtoed or warrior dance was choreographed by the third Chogyal Chador Namgyal, who is said to have appeared to him in a vision.

The festival also marks the commemoration of blood brotherhood sworn between the Lepchas and the Bhutias at Kabi in the 15th century.

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