Bhumchu festival is a Buddhist festival that is observed on the 14th and 15th day of the first month of the Tibetan lunar calendar. On a Gregorian calendar, it falls on either February or March. Bhum means pot and Chum means water. The Bhum is considered a very sacred vase and is made up of myriads of sacred soil, precious jewels, and water. These constituents are collected from various auspicious places in India, Zahor, and Odiyana. This 2-day festival in Sikkim provides a deep insight into Buddhism and its rituals and beliefs. It is celebrated at Tashiding Monastery in Sikkim.
It is believed that people started celebrating the Bhumchu festival in Tibet sometime between 755 and 804 CE. During that era, King Trisong Deutsonin used to reign the area. There are considered three Dharma Kings who have played a major role in introducing and spreading Buddhism to the region. King Trisong Deutsonin is considered one of the three.
During his reign, Guru Padmasambhava was invited to the kingdom in order to perform a holy sadhana. He also consecrated the lands with sacred water from his vase. This vase was later hidden as a treasure and wasn’t found until the 17th century. It is said that it was rediscovered by a reincarnation of Padmasambhava only. Since then, the Bhumchu festival began to be celebrated with great splendor.
On the very first day of the Bhumchu festival, the sacred vase kept at Tashiding Monastery is opened. By seeing the water level in it, the lamas make predictions for the coming year for Sikkim. If the water level is found to be up to the brim, it indicates revolutions and turmoil. If the water level is low, it signifies droughts and famines. However, if the water is just half-filled, it marks the coming of the prosperous and peaceful year ahead.
The water from the pot is considered very auspicious. It is believed to bring prosperity and good luck to its consumers. However, only a very small amount of water is distributed. So the devotees start lining up in queues from midnight itself.
The closure ceremony is conducted on the second day of the festival. The pot is again filled with water from nearby sacred rivers and then sealed while several prayers are chanted in the background. The pot is kept closed until the next year and then opened again at the Bhumchu festival next year.
Sikkim is a north-eastern city in India. Despite being amply beautiful and serene, it is still a largely unexplored and a very less visited gem in India. Sikkim is located at a distance of 1,582, 2,678, 2,425, 706 km from Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kolkata respectively. Here is how you can reach Sikkim.
By Air. As such, there’s no airport in Sikkim but you can opt for Bagdogra Airport, situated in West Bengal. It is the nearest airport to Sikkim. In the year 2018-19, it served a total of 2.8 million passengers. It is considered the 17th busiest airport in India.
By Train. There is no railway station in Sikkim that receives direct trains from major cities. However, you can deboard at New Jalpaiguri Junction Railway Station in West Bengal which is nearest to Sikkim. Opened in 1960, it handles 1.5 lakh passengers per day.
By Road. If you live nearby Sikkim, then you can travel by road to reach the Tashiding Monastery for the Bhumchu festival. There are no direct buses to Sikkim. It’s best to hire a taxi or drive your own vehicle to the place. Here is how you can reach Sikkim from the following places.