Pawan Chamling attends Mahakala Gurdak Cham

Report by: 
DEEPAK SHARMA
PHODONG
26 Nov 2018

Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Chamling on Sunday attended the annual Mahakala  Gurdak Cham organized at Labrang Palden Phuntshol Gumpa, Upper Tumlong, in North Sikkim.
The seven-day puja by 108 monks which started on November 20 and the Gurdak Mask Dance are annual features held every year to welcome the harvest. They have religious significance too.
The ceremony had the presence of Korchen Rimpoche who bestowed all present with long life and empowerment. The programme was attended by Deputy Speaker of Sikkim Assembly Sonam Gyatso Lepcha, Forest Minister and MLA, Lachen-Mangan T.W Lepcha,  MLA of the area Ugen Nedup Bhutia, senior monks of different monasteries, officers, panchayat members and local people. 
Ugen Nedup Bhutia accorded a formal welcome to the Chief Minister and other guests and informed that the Gumpa was one of the oldest monasteries of Sikkim. Almost 178 years old it had been constructed as a royal chapel by the eighth Choygal of Sikkim when the capital was shifted from Rabdentse to Tumlong  in 1814.
During the earthquake of September 2011 the structure was badly affected and the Chief Minister had granted a fund of Rs 1crore for retrofitting and thus the task of renovation was accomplished.
The Labrang Gumpa Committee/Duchi felicitated the Chief Minister and offered sincere thanks for his concern for the development and uplift of the monastery. The Chief Minister also distributed cheques to Labrang, Phensong, Kabi and Tanek Gumpa Duchis. In his address, Pawan Chamling expressed happiness on being able to come and witness the ‘cham’ and receive the blessings of the Rimpoche and lamas. The Chief Minister announced supplementary grants of Rs 75 lakh for further development of the Labrang  Palden Phuntshol Gumpa, a fund of Rs 2 crore for tourism infrastructure projects in the area within the next financial year, a sanctiuon of Rs 10 lakh within December for the construction of Kalsang Manilakhang and a sanction for the  construction of Vajrapani statue at the location where earlier the venerable Lachen Gomchen Rimpoche was said to have mediated.
Besides, within December appointment orders would be issued for job to one person in each jobless family. These appointments would be regularized within five years. He also said 80 laptop computers would be given to students of JNV School Phodong.
The Chief Minister also announced the construction of statues of three venerable monks Lha-tsun Namkha Jigme, Kathog Kuntu Zangpo and Nga-Dag Sempa Phuntsok Rinzing who coronated the first King of Sikkim Chogyal  Phuntsok Namgyal in 1641 at Yuksom. Because of the contributions of the three lamas Sikkim became a country and later a State and they should not be lost in oblivion. He said that it was an effort of the present government to preserve the rich History of Sikkim.
The Chief Minister stated that his vision of turning Sikkim into a ‘Singhkham’ was a reality today. With the inauguration of the statue of Cherinzig in Sangacholing inWest Sikkim, the installation of the trinity of Buddha, Guru Rimpochee and Cherinzig  in Sikkim had been completed. “It has made Sikkim pure like a Chosum or the place of worship of the Buddhists.”
He informed that a sky walk has also been constructed and was a major tourist attraction in the vicinity of the statue and construction of ropeway is on the pipeline. He said that however the mindset and hearts of the people living in this pure land should also be pure and referred to it as” Sempa Dzangpo”. All should live in harmony and free of hatred.
He said that till date Sikkim has been able to maintain peace and security and is free of insurgency. All sections of people were able to carry their activity without fear of any illegal taxes by insurgents. He reiterated that the government has safeguarded the rights of the natives by all means. “We all have a big responsibility and sense of ownership towards our land and it should not go into the wrong hands and wrong governance.”
He said that the present government had always worked towards protecting the special status of Sikkim and the Revenue Order No1. He said that all rights and privileges accorded by the Chogyal had been protected by the present government.
The Chief Minister stated that Sikkim had undergone tremendous development during the last two decades of his government. The quality of life of the Sikkimese people has improved and people have prospered in the State.
Speaking on the Organic branding of the State, he said that the youths of North Sikkim should explore the possibilities in organic farming and market organic produce like dairy, meat worldwide  by  making  value addition.
The organic philosophy was in consonance to the Buddhist philosophy of non-violence and monks should endorse the organic revolution. He said that in Sikkim a Buddhists University had also been established by the present government   so that the monks could pursue higher education and also   Sowa Rigpa Amji Medicine.
Later in the day he also interacted with the public personally and heard their problems. He then proceeded to Phodong Gonpa and there he inaugurated a new chosum built in honour of the late Karma Thupten Tashi, head Lama of the Gonpa and lighted the chime in his reverence.