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Losar Celebrations at Tawang


Losar Celebrations at Tawang

Continuing with the close association with the local Monpa Tribe of Tawang, the Indian Army participated in the week long festivities of Losar festival.  The Monpa Tribe which have their distinct ritual and traditions in the area of Tawang and West Kameng celebrate the Losar festival with great enthusiasm.  Losar is a one of its kind festival in which the complete locality of Monpa Villages come together to celebrate.  

Losar celebrated with much fanfare and enthusiasm signals the start of spring and begins on the first day of the Lunar calendar. The festival commences a week before the dates with residents cleaning their houses and community preparation of various delicacies most importantly the Khow Suey.  The Metho ceremony during the festivities is very conspicuous to Tawang. During this ritual sacred chants along with burning of sacred fire torch to cleanse the evil spirit and paving way for the holy spirit in the area. The Monpas have called Tawang their home since 500 BC and are devout followers of Himalayan Buddhism. 

The Indian Army in Tawang which has been part and parcel of the local tribe was not left behind.  The Army personal were hosted by the various village community to participate in the religious rituals, witness various competition especially the indigenous sport of Archery and traditional extravagant feast accompanied with locally prepared barley beer. 

The locals made a warm gesture by reaching out to the Indian Army troops even at their duty locations in Zimithang, Kereteng and various other locations to celebrate with them. This heart warming gesture touched the troops with 'a home away from home' feeling. 

The Indian Army in its secular fabric has adopted the rituals of the Monpa Tribe and assisted the various sho (villages) in arranging these events.  

The Tawang area has witnessed large scale infrastructure development and implementations of various schemes of Government specific to the developement of the border areas. This has provided the Monpas opportunities and avenues towards greater economic prosperity.  The Losar Festival interweaves people and drench them in the colour of festivities.  Riots of colour in terms of religious flags and decorations creates such an aura of irresistible charm. 

The enthusiastic participation of Army in the local traditional Losar has been well received by the locals and highlights the bonhomie and the mutual trust between army and the local population. 

Lt Col Mahendra Rawat PRO DEFENCE GUWAHATI


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