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Representative Image (Credit: UNESCO)
Representative Image (Credit: UNESCO)

Bhutan: the vibrant dance of Drametse Ngacham

ANI | Updated: Nov 24, 2023 15:05 IST

Drametse [Bhutan], November 24 (ANI): In the small eastern Bhutan village of Drametse, twice a year, the Drametse Ngacham masked dance is performed in honour of Padmasambhava, an 8th-century Buddhist master, Bhutan Live reported.
The vibrant festival is organized by the Ogyen Tegchok Namdroel Choeling, captivating audiences for centuries with its powerful energy, intricate symbolism, and profound spiritual significance.
"Drametse Ngacham" aptly translates to "mask dance of the drums from Drametse." A skilled ensemble of musicians creates a melodic beating of the drums, driving the heartbeat to interconnect with the dance, whilst dancers adorned in elaborate costumes and intricate masks representing various deities move to the rhythmic drumming, Bhutan Live reported.
The masks, meticulously crafted from wood and painted with vibrant colours, play a pivotal role in Drametse Ngacham. Each mask represents a specific deity, imbuing the dancer with the essence of that divine being, and creating a sense of spiritual transformation.

The emotive dance can be traced back to the 17th century as a way to invoke blessings upon the community. The dance has evolved over the centuries, incorporating elements from various regional traditions and becoming a cornerstone of Bhutanese cultural identity.
The dance is believed to possess the power to dispel evil spirits, promote healing, and bestow blessings upon those who witness it. As the dancers twirl and leap, their movements embody the transformative power of Buddhist teachings, reminding us of the impermanence of worldly concerns and the ultimate path to enlightenment.
The dance uses the tempo of the dance and the drums to divide itself into two distinct sections. The first represents peaceful deities, through its slow, graceful movements, whilst the second section embodies wrathful deities, with its vigorous and animated movements.
Drametse Ngacham is a living testament to the cultural heritage of Bhutan and was recognised on UNESCO's Intangible Cultural Heritage List, a recognition of its profound significance not only for Bhutan but for the world at large.
The dance acts as a reminder of the interconnectedness of all beings and its ability to link different cultures into an idea of shared humanity, unity and peace, Bhutan Live reported. (ANI)