Palden Lhamo Festival དཔལ་ལྷའི་རི་ཁྲོད་
Palden Lhamo festival is celebrated only in Lhasa. People from other parts of the Tibet would call it Lhasa’s Palden Lhamo festival. The festival falls on the 15th days of the 10th month of Tibetan Calander. This is the celebration to honor the female deity called Palden Lhamo. In Lhasa, it is also considered as the Women’s Day.
Who is Palden Lhamo
Palden Lhamo is the wrathful female protector deity of Tibetan Buddhism. She is the official deity of Lhasa and Jokhang temple. When Songtsen Gampo finish building the Jokhang temple. he appoints Palden Lhamo as the protector deity for the New Temple and his empire. Later the Palden Lhamo became a very important deity in Tibetan Buddhism and she became a protector for Successive Dalia Lamas and Panchen Lamas. Hence she is one of the most important deities of Tibet.
The history behind the Celebration of Palden Lhamo Festival
There are two stories we have been hearing since our childhood. The first story about the festival is that it is to commemorate the completion of the Jokhang temple. When the king was building the Jokhang temple, local demons obstructing the work for the temple. He then assigned the Palden Lhamo as the chief protector of the temple, Which lead to smooth construction work. The celebration of the Palden Lhamo festival is to thank the deity for the help in smooth construction of the temple and to mark the completion of the temple.
Another story tells as the Palden Lhamo was a very mischievous and disobedient young girl. As her mother became tired of tending her, she put a curse on her daughter to grow up into an ugly woman and would only meet her lover once in a year. The curse later came true and she grew into a frog-faced and would only meet her lover once a year. The day when they would meet is marked as Palden Lhasa Festival.
She later grew up into a frog-faced woman and only got to meet her lover (protector deity of Drip, the village on the northern side of Kyichu River) once a year, the day of their union was later marked as Pal-Lhamo festival.
The celebration of Palden Lhamo festival
In Lhasa, Tibetan women tend to celebrate the festival with more enthusiasm. They would dress in traditional clothes and would bring an offering to Palden Lhamo to the Jokhang temple. The celebration marked by going to have an audience of the Frog face Palden Lhamo. Her face is displayed only once in a year, otherwise, her face would be covered with cloth as other deities.
In Jokhang temple, Statue of Palden Lhamo and the Songtsen Gampo will be put into a display for pilgrims. People would go there in the early morning to be in a mile long queue to the Jokhang temple.
After the Audience at the temple, we would go to the other temples and monasteries as it is the only day in a year. Some of the most popular monasteries to go are Muru Monastery, Ramoche temple, Gyuto monastery, and Sera Monastery,
After visiting some monasteries, we will head back to have a special lunch for the day the Shamdey, The Tibetan Curry dishes. We will also give money to the Elderly, Ladies and children in the family for the occasion.
The Palden Lhamo festival is a simple and spiritual festival celebrate in the Lhasa region of Tibet.
I-Tibet travel and Tours is fully committed to responsible and Sustainable tourism practice in Tibet. Our privilege to be able to host you in Tibet also makes our responsibility in protecting nature and contributing back communities.
As a Local Tibetan travel agency in Lhasa. Our staffs are 100% local Tibetan tourism professionals. Additionally, We only use local Tibetan guides, other tours crews, and local business. 100% of the travel money goes to locals. Besides, We use 3% of the net profit into Environmental and social initiatives.
Being Tibetan, We know how vital the Tibetan environment is for the entire world. Mountains, glacier, and rivers are all cherished in our culture. We do our best to reduce the environmental impact of your tours in Tibet.
Following are Our ways:
a) No Small plastic bottles in the tour
All the drinking water are provided in the bigger container. So all visitors are asked to bring his/her own water bottle. In this way, we reduce hundreds and thousands of small plastic bottles. All the bigger containers are provided back to the manufacturer for reuse.
b) Incentives for practice
Incentives are given to guide and drivers. Who follow our strict directories on ethical practice towards sustainable and responsible tourism practice.
c) Staff Training every winter
Winter is a low season in Tibet tourism. We provide skill training required for the practice of Responsible and Sustainable tourism practice, first Aids and emergency first responder training. One of our managers is certified Humanity Supply Chain management by fritz institute. We work closely with individuals from institute like Tibet Eco Travel initiatives and Local Tibet Red Cross society and other NGOs.
d) Tree Plantation
Some portion of the tour money are save for our 1000 Tree plantation project. We will plant trees when we will have enough funds.
e) Smaller group size
All our tours are a small group to reduce environmental Impact. Since traveling in a smaller group has less impact on committed in an area than a big group. Therefore all our tour groups are small.
f) Trekking tours and environmental care in the wilderness of Tibet
During your trekking Tours, you will be walking across a very fragile ecosystem. We do take extra care in our trekking tours preventing environmental effects. Following are how are take care of our environment our trekking tours.
1: We nothing leave mother behind.
We make sure we take all our rubbish and leave nothing behind.
2: We protect the grassland
A little destruction of Tibet’s fragile environment is irreversible. So, in the trekking tours, we will not make drainage surrounding your tent. Instead, we will provide trekkers with a better tent with bathtub style floors which prevent water from getting into the tent. We don’t put a small tent toilet. Even if we try to put the grass back, it is not the same. So when you are answering your nature called please enjoy the view.
3: Collecting the garbage along the way.
We have a saying in Tibet, “if you can’t help, don’t harm.” Here is our helping part. We always have extra yaks carrying the Garbages, our yak men will be collecting while waiting for the clients at the campsite. Yak man walks faster than all, and they have free time at the camp. While cook prepares for meals and drinks, We pay yaks men’s incentives in collecting the rubbish around the camp.
I-Tibet travel and tours, identify its self as a social enterprise. For this, we dedicate 3% of our annual net profit to Social and environmental projects. Every winter we buy winter clothes for small children and donate to schools. In this way, besides donating winter cloth, we are also encouraging them to go to school.
It is important to make our guest understand Local Culture, Beliefs, and Ethics. Hence it will make it more comfortable during Our special tour arrangements. Like, your home visit, culture programs, and our others.