After driving a fairly short distance further, we arrived at the Thak Thok Gompa, founded in the 16th century, with quite a bit of time to spare before the festival started. With seats already reserved – & second row at that – we were well placed to get some great shots of the goings on there. When I asked about the reason behind the festival, one of the organisers said it was a celebration of the birthday of a tantric deity – I didn’t realise deities had birthdays.
Before the festival commenced, I wandered around taking photos of people busy preparing. Due to kick off at 11am, it actually started at 10:45am, with trumpets (the Tibetan version of) sounding & a dressed figure dancing – looked very much like the wrathful Tantric deity Makhala. For the next couple of hours, we were witness to much festivity & dancing, amidst a very crowded courtyard. Two young boys dressed in cheeky costumes hassled people for donations, standing there clapping at the person if the amount didn’t equal their expectation. Some folks didn’t respond at all well to their demands.
There was also this cute boy monk (around 7 y.o.) who must have been a reincarnated lama as he sat on the 2nd highest throne, surrounded by other older monks, looking at times intrigued & other times overwhelmed.
After the festival, & after eating our little packed lunch, we headed off on the bumpiest road so far to Changla Pass…..