Tuesday, September 20, 2011
The Skeleton Dancer of Enchey
Enchey monastery is located on a hilltop above the capital of Sikkim, Gangtok. I was standing on the first floor balcony of the monastery looking down at the courtyard. There was an interlude between the dances. A lama wearing a clown mask was trying his best to terrorize the children in the front rows who ran away from him at full speed screaming with merriment! In the field behind the courtyard, momos were being sold and eaten with rapid speed by the local population! Two stag dancers went around trying their best to collect a monastery donation from the crowd. It was late afternoon and the festivities were almost at a close. On the opposite hill the sun glinted off the roof of Rumtek, the premier monastery of the Kagyupa sect of Buddhism and home of the Karmapa. Suddenly, I spotted a skeleton dancer entering the arena with tremendous speed. He ran, galloped, and jumped with amazing dexterity. The crowd stared with amazement as he pirouetted around the courtyard a number of times. Jolted out of my reverie, I shot a few photographs before he vanished as suddenly as he had come into the monastery!