Reason why people from Tawang travel to Tashi Yangtse at this time of the year
Laid below the pristine valley of Trashiyangtse town, alongside the Kulong Chu river, is the magnificent Stupa, popularly known as Chorten Kora. The stupa was said to have built by Lama Ngawang Lodro, in the 18th century, to subdue and banish evil spirits and demons who were believed to be residing in the vicinity and harming local people and travellers.
Lama Ngawang Lodro is the main figure behind the story of the stupa. Chorten Kora is said to have patterned from Boudha stupa of Nepal as an alternative for Bhutanese to ease their arduous trip to Nepal for pilgrims. During his visit to Nepal, he bought the model of Boudha Stupa craved in radish and somehow got distorted while returning home. That is why, the stupa, today, just resembles the architectural design. It took him exactly 12 years to complete the construction of the Chorten. Although, it is not exactly the copy of Boudha Stupa, a visit to Chorten Kora would help one gain merit just by walking around the chorten.
When Chorten was about to complete, it is believed that a Dakini, a princess, Ashi Cheten Zangmo, from the neighbouring region of Tawang, India, is said to have entombed herself in the stupa to appease the spirits and demons and to pay and mediate for the welfare of all sentient beings. That is why Chorten Kora tells the story of two regions, Tawang and Trashiyangtse, bonded for the spiritual wellbeing and sacrifice. Even today, Chorten Kora stands as a representation of friendship and a basis for the same interest in the pursuit of Buddhism.
Literally, ' Kora' means circumambulation of the stupa. In regard to celebrating the continued harmony and tranquillity after the subjugation of the evil spirits, the people in the valley held an annual festival on two different occasions; 18th and 30th day of the first lunar month of the year.
The first day is for the Dakpa community, the people of Tawang district of Arunachal Pradesh in India for the duration of three days. People from these regions walk days to attend the festival to pay tribute to their princess and to cherish the good deeds she has done for the people. The second kora (Drukpa Kora) is for the Bhutanese people in the eastern regions of Trashiyangtse, Mongar, Kurtoe and stretches as far as Merak and Sakteng districts. The festival is also one of the main tourist attractions Tashi Yangtse.
During the festival, which happens in the waxing moon night, people would circumambulate the chorten days and nights, teasing each other and trying to find their partners. Also, there are incidences shared by people who found their partner during the kora and got married. People believe that finding their partners and getting paired up during the festival to be considered as a gift from the Dakini, Ashi Cheten Zangmo, who was entombed in the chorten.
Note: If you are a tourist, you can book a flight to Yonphula Domestic Airport from Paro International Airport. From Yonphula, its 74kms drive to Chorten Kora. Meanwhile, you can stop over at Trashigang, experience the eastern culture or fly in country with Drukasia, The largest tour company in Bhutan.