Janggola Dralha Solkha གྱང་གོ་ལའི་དགྲ་ལྷ་གསོལ་ཁ།


Festivals that resemble Janggola Dralha Solkha are celebrated all over central and eastern Bhutan, in various forms and under different names. Janggola Dralha Solkha, however, is unique to Taktse village in Dragteng gewog, Trongsa dzongkhag. The name “Janggola” comes from an ancient place located approximately three kms above Taktse village, where the ritual was previously celebrated. Villagers were obliged to shift the ritual to its present location – Ato Phai – however, when the water source at Janggola dried up.

There seem to be no texts regarding the origin of Mangde Ashang Solkha festival, which is celebrated every year in the third month of the Bhutanese calendar. It is a festival of the offering of prayers (གསོལ་ཁ་) derived from the Bon tradition, in which villagers offer feast substances (ཚོགས) to the local deity Dramze Yoezer Dorji. Dramze Yoezer Dorji is the deity of birth (Kyelha སྐྱེ་ལྷ་), who is honored by Taktse, Yuesa, and Tashi Dingkha villagers. This ritual to the local deity falls in the white offering (དཀར་མཆོད་) category, which suggests that he is a friendly, protective deity.

The local priest, called the phajo, performs the ritual for one day. Local villagers believe that by conducting this ritual the local deity will grace them by ensuring that no disasters or epidemics will befall them, and there will be no frost or hail on the wheat or buckwheat fields. Moreover, they will be blessed with many domestic animals, bountiful crops, and abundant wealth.

Janggola Dralha Solkha is held at Ato Phai, located in a forested plateau three kilometers above Taktse village. This is not Dramze’s abode, which is a big rock called Phola Dzong located six kms above Taktse village, but the ritual is held there.

Description of Activities

Earlier, Taktse and Yuesa collaboratively sponsored this solkha, but when they divided into two different communities in 2008, Taktse villagers unanimously agreed to sponsor their own festival; neighbouring Yuesa sponsors a different solkha in their village.

In the morning on festival day, the head of Taktse community (chipon སྤྱི་དཔོན་) collects the necessary provisions (གཉེར་ཚང་): 2 phuel of rice, (phuel ཕུལ་ – 1 measure is around 200 gm); half liter of milk and beverages; 1 kg of meat (this can be replaced with 1 piece of local cheese (དར་ཚིལ་) or 2 eggs); a small amount of butter or oil, sugar, salt, tea leaves, and chili; 1 phuel of wheat flour; 1 bje of unhulled rice (རེད); plus 20 Nu from each Taktse household. (A bje is a bre in Tibetan. The quantity is not standardized, but varies according to the area, valley etc. Usually 1 bje is equal to roughly one half kg.) The chipon and participating villagers bring these provisions on foot to Ato Phai.

At about 11 am, the villagers gather at Ato Phai and arrange the food for the feast for Dramze Yoezer Dorji, as well as a meal for the phajo; they prepare their own meal while the phajo is busy readying the required ritual items.

At about 12:30 pm, the phajo, wearing a large white scarf with red stripes, starts the service by first reciting a prayer, after which he reads the text of the Dramtse prayer, which is 29 pages long. This is followed by a tea break at around 1:30 pm, during which the phajo prepares the feast substances in three vessels filled with rice, meat, and eggs. The ritual resumes at 2:30 pm and ends around 3:30 pm. The phajo is then paid a stipend, and he and the villagers are served a meal. With this meal, Janggola Dralha Solkha comes to an end.


Phajo Pema Gyaltsen, Tashi Dingkha
Agye Konchok Tashi, 92, Taktse
Am Kelzang, Taktse

Researcher and Photographer

Tenzin Dorji, Lecturer, Institute of Language and Culture Studies, Royal University of Bhutan, 2015

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