Himalayan Art Resources

Bhutan: Paro Thongdrol (A. Maki Archive)

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Paro Thongdrol (name: Thongdrel of Paro Tsechu; location: Paro Valley) The Paro Thongdrol (mthong grol) is a large applique thangka displayed to the public during the annual Paro festival (tsechu). A thongdrol, which means 'liberation on sight,' is revealed in order to confer blessings on those assembled. The Paro Thongdrol is brought out of Rinpung Dzong at approximately 3 am in a chibdrel (ceremonial procession) on the last day of the Paro festival, the 15th day of the second Bhutanese lunar month. The main image is of Guru Rinpoche, flanked by his two consorts Mandarava and Yeshe Tsogyal. On the far left and right are the Guru's eight primary manifestations, and the top center is occupied by the three long life deities, Buddha Amitabha, Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara) and Namgyalma (Ushnishavijaya). Below the consorts are the figures of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (zhabs drung ngag dbang rnam rgyal, 1594-1651), the founder of modern Bhutan, and the Fourth Druk Desi Tenzin Rabgye ('brug sde srid 04 bstan 'dzin rab rgyas, 1638-1696, r. 1680-1695).

Ariana Maki 3-2012