The people of Haa are looking forward to an extraordinary Lomba this year, as the festival coincides with the National Day celebrations, which will be held at the bastion of Ap Chundu, Lhakhang Karpo.
They also have more reasons to celebrate because the grandeur of 120-year old lhakhang is being elevated after eight long years.
The dzongkhag, located in the extreme west, is now connected to Samtse by a 155km motorable road. Haa also harvested its first paddy recently.
As the first rehearsal for the National Day kicked off yesterday, Haa was already wearing a festive mood.
Penjor, 71, was among the hundreds who had come to witness the preparation. “This is an opportunity for me.”
He said he wouldn’t be able to attend the main event. “There would be a huge crowd and old people like us could be trodden.” After the rehearsal was over, he picked up his walking stick, said a few lines of prayer and left the courtyard.
Lhab Dorji, 55, is one of the dancers among the elderly citizens. As the senior citizens groove to the tune of a rigsar song, the crowd cheered them.
“Despite my hurting knee, I am giving my best,” Lhap Dorji said. “This is the first time such an event of national importance is celebrated in Haa.”
He said he is excited, as it is his first time performing in front of His Majesty The King.
People’s enthusiasm can be seen from the number of cultural items the gewog, schools and communities come up with, according to the dzongkhag officials. They had to form a committee to screen the programmes.
Haa Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji said that the preparation is in full swing and some cultural programmes are indigenous to Haa and have never been staged outside the locality. “This is an opportunity to revive disappearing local art.”
He said that songs like Bja Thangka Gyem, Haap’s Ausa, Haa Zhey and Chundu gongzhey are the highlight of the cultural programmes that people can look forward to.
The construction of Lhakhang Karpo was completed in October this year.
The construction got derailed because of the Anti-Corruption Commission investigation and change in drawings. In June 2009, an estimated fund of Nu 150M was allocated for the lhakhang. The final cost of the project after completion was Nu 153M.
Dzongdag Kinzang Dorji said that auditing has also been completed. “Several structures not included in the plan like the public toilet, additional wall and railing, were also constructed.”
Tshering Dorji | Haa