IAS Gyan

Daily News Analysis


15th March, 2023 Culture

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Context:  Bumchu, the Tashiding holy water vase ritual, is a unique and important occasion that draws travellers from all over the world.


  • Annual performances of this ancient ceremony are held at the Tashiding Monastery, located in the western part of Sikkim.
  • The Tashiding Monastery is one of the most sacred Buddhist pilgrimage sites, located on a hilltop overlooking the Rangeet River in Sikkim.

Historical Background:

  • Legend has it that during his journey to Sikkim in the eighth century, Guru Padmasambhava, better known as Guru Rinpoche, the great Buddhist guru who brought Buddhism to Tibet, blessed the location of the monastery.
  • A Nyingma teacher named Ngadak Sempa Chempo Phunshok Rigzing later founded the monastery in the 17th century.
  • The Bumchu festival commemorates a supernatural occurrence that took place in the 18th century under Chogyal Chakdor Namgyal.
    • A legend says that a Lama was told by a deity to visit a nearby spring and gather water in a vase.
    • The Lama followed the instructions and found that no matter how much water was used, the water level in the vase never dropped.
    • The Lama understood that the vase was scary and that its water had healing properties.
    • The vase was delivered to the Tashiding Monastery, where it was revered as a holy object and served as the centrepiece of the Bumchu festival.

What is Bumchu:

  • Bumchu means “pot of sacred water” in Tibetan.
  • The vase is opened during the event, and the water inside is shared among the worshippers.
  • The water is thought to have healing qualities and to grant luck and riches to those who drink it.

The festival:

  • The celebration takes place on the 14th and 15th of the first lunar month, which often falls in February or March.
  • In Sikkim, the Bumchu festival is a time of intense delight and celebration.
  • At the event, pilgrims travel to Tashiding from all around India as well as from close by nations like Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.
  • The celebrations feature complex rituals, colourful processions, and traditional music and dance displays
  • Sacred rituals are carried out by monks and nuns, who also recite prayers and offer gifts to the gods.


Q) Which of the following statements is/are correct with reference to Bumchu Festival?

a.  It is annual festival of Manipur.

b. The celebration takes place on the 14th and 15th of the first lunar month.

  1. Only a
  2. Only b
  3. Both a and b
  4. Neither a nor b

Answer: Option 2