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Anecdotes from Dzongu

Author: TG Contributor
Date: 2020-01-04

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Anecdotes from Dzongu

  • Subendong - A cave near the village of Pentong, is believed to have the remains of all the ancestors of Lepchas, including mighty chiefs, expert hunters and artisans. It is said that once he world ends and all life finishes with it in the cycle of regeneration of earth, Lepchas will be reborn from the remains of ancestors buried in the cave. Hence, all the seeds, tools, implements were also buried with chiefs and famous artisans in the olden days.
  • There is a flat ground near the village of Sakyong called the Tarbong Narib Pentong, this is the place where the first traditional marriage between a Lepcha man and woman took place. The term for this ceremony is Zamyang Lungchok, where, Tarbong means Man, Narib means woman and Pentang means ground.
  • Lepchas here practice very unique agricultural methods of jhum cultivation for dry land rice cultivation. The land is cleared off by controlled fire then the seeds are sown this is done by a man (tuckman zo) who using bamboo sticks makes a small indent in the ground and the women folk follow him sowing the seeds. No fertilizers or watering is done, the entire crop is dependent upon rains.
  • Gorkho Fam – is a huge stone was put up which commemorates the victory of Local Lepcha Chiefs over the Nepalese army.
  • Lakes have always been sacred to the Lepchas as they believe that some of the clans originated from the lakes. Keushong lake is believed to be the route to heaven
  • The villages of Pentong & Sakyong have two hillocks which offer great viewpoints. Its believed that they are the guardians of the protective deity Mount Khangchendzongna. As per the legend they are called Tarbi and Tarbot by the locals Lepchas. Tarbi is considered as a local deity, the benevolent one while Tarbot is a demon. Both are powerful and compete against each other by fighting and hurling stones at one another, which affects the local villagers so to keep them satisfied and calm the villagers give them offerings.
  • Old-style Lepcha bridges are made from long sections bamboo. When a place is selected, an expert archer will attach a thin thread made of bamboo to an arrow and shoot it to the other side of the bridge. Along this, two parallel canes are then pulled over the river and attached on both sides, loops are hung in between them and bamboo canes are laid down for the flooring. Nowadays, parts of the bamboo construction are usually replaced with thick metal cords to make the bridges more durable and easier to maintain. Those kind of bridges can be seen at quite a few places in Dzongu.
  • Thinggockmu, a monkey like God lived in a place called Tungprumrul. He and his priest friend named Lickku Mzergen met at Gyathang, because they came to know of a goddess called Nyu Kyongbu in the Tung Kyong duh (the holy lake). After reaching Gyathang they uncovered her from the earth in the lake. The goddess was extremely flustered by this act as she was woken from her sleep. The priest advised monkey like God to marry the goddess. To win over the Goddess, the god decided to win over Nyu Kyongbu. When she challenged him to an exhibition of power, he threw a plate shaped rock up the hill. The rock landed in Gockmukung, a place above which now is the Hee Gyathang monastery. This rock still exists and the place is revered. When Thinggockmu asked Nyu Kyongbu to demonstrate her powers, she let loose her hair and dropped lice into the lake which later became fish called Dengnuelick. Their children and the succeeding generations are called the Heemo, a Lepcha clan which resides the village. The Heemos have faith that if the silver fish in the lake becomes extinct, all the people from their clan will die and thus the lake is extremely sacred to them. Secondly they even have an annual prediction based on the population of the fish in the lake.

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