Travellers are inspired to take a trip to Bhutan for many reasons. The country offers so much by way of sightseeing, from the monasteries to its spectacular natural beauty. Another reason to plan a Bhutan tour are its festivals, with Gomphu Kora being one of them.
The lyrics of a song associated with Gomphu Kora read, “Go around Gomphu Kora today for tomorrow may be too late”. These words perfectly capture the spirit of the festival of Gomphu Kora. Gomphu Kora, the place where this Bhutan festival is held, is located at a distance of about 23 km from Trashigang Dzong. There is an interesting tale associated with this place which must be narrated in order to understand why this festival is celebrated and the significance behind it.
According to a popular folk tale, this place traces its origins back to the 8th century AD. It is believed that an evil spirit called Myongkhapa escaped from Samye, located in Tibet. This was also the time when Guru Padmasambhava (a renowned Buddhist thinker, saint and philosopher, and believed by his devotees to be the second Buddha) was spreading the message of Dharma in various regions of the Himalayas. The evil spirit followed the path of the Kholongchhu stream and hid himself inside a rock. This is the same spot where Gomphu Kora stands today. The Guru, however, followed the evil spirit right inside the cave and meditated for three days. By the time he had completed his meditation, the evil spirit had been completely defeated.
The name Gomphu Kora is derived from two words, Gomphu and Kora. While the latter means “circumambulation”, the former stands for “meditation cave”. It gets its name from a cave which was formed out of a rock-face. This stood next to a temple which was built in honour of this site. This famous cultural event of Bhutan is celebrated every year in early spring and is visited by people from the eastern part of the country in large numbers. In fact, the traditions surrounding the festival is held in such high esteem that apart from the locals, members of a tribe called Drakpa from the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh in India also participate in it.
The devotees perform a circumambulation of the stupa while singing a song all the while. This ritual signifies the victory of good over evil. There is another interesting practice associated with this festival. It is believed that young people attend this festival looking for a bride and in several cases, succeed in doing so. This place is considered blessed by the people and that is also a reason why it is visited by the devotees in large numbers.
This popular festivals of Bhutan, is celebrated over a period of three days. The festival dates are mentioned below.
The Gomphu Kora Festival is celebrated at a place called Gomphu Kora which is situated at a distance of almost 23 km from Trashigang Dzong. It is one of the largest dzongs (fortress) and was built to protect the country from any foreign invasions in the future. If you are a citizen of India, Bangladesh or Maldives, you will not need to apply for a visa. However, if you are a foreign national and want to go on a Bhutan holidays, you will have to apply for a Bhutan visa.
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