MONPA DANCES

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» East India
» Arunachal Pradesh
Location: Tawang District, Arunachal Pradesh
Famous Dances: Aji Lhamu Dance, Yak Dance, Lion & Peacock Dances



Besides the Monastic dances performed for three days during Torgya festivals, many other dances are performed on different occasions by the people of Tawang district. Some of the important and popular dances of the area are- Aji Lhamu dance, Yak Dance and lion & peacock dances etc.

AJI LHAMU DANCE
This is one of the prominent folk dances, popular amongst the Monpas of Tawang and Sherdukpens of West Kameng District of Arunachal Pradesh. Through this dance-drama the Tibetan version of "Ramayana" is depicted. There are five characters in this dance each having a mythological origin. They are 'Gyeli', 'Nyapa', the Chief protagonist, 'Nyaro' the antagonist and two other female characters 'Lhamu' and 'Lhum'.

'Lhamu' was the fairy from heaven who later became the Queen of Gyali. The dance also depicts the marriage ceremony of Lhamu with King Chhoegay Norzang presented by Gyali. This dance is performed during the LOSSAR Festival, the celebration of New Year.

YAK DANCE
The Yak dance is one of the most famous dances of the Buddhist Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh. The masked dancer represent the members of a family who are said to have discovered the Yak with the help of a magical bird many hundreds of years ago. The discovery of the Yak resolved the family's internal property disputes and provided a permanent source of wealth and property to the entire community.

LION AND PEACOCK DANCE
A Legend
There was a renowned saint named "Tenteling". He went on top of a mountain called ''Gangrikarpo " somewhere in the Himalayas for meditation. He meditated there without food and drink for three years. On the ridges of the same mountain there dwelt two snow lions. The snow lions were very much surprised to see a saint meditating continuously for three years, completely isolated from the other world.

The Lions visited the saint and offered their milk for his survival and became intimate friends. The people heard about this unique relationship between human and animal and they went see him. Every one was very much impressed by the service rendered by the animal to this godly human being. After the completion of meditation, they all in happiness danced together and the almighty showered all the prosperity in the area thereafter.

Traditionally the lion dance signifies the fact that prosperity comes to this world when there is complete harmony and co-operation among all living things on this earth. Therefore the people of Tawang area in Arunachal Pradesh continue to practice this dance on all-important occasions and are keeping their Cultural and Religious heritage intact today.



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