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The Jomo Dangling Soelkha, a cherished feast offering festival, continues to be celebrated in Trashigang’s Khaling Gewog in honor of the revered local deities Ama Jomo and Meme Dangling. This long standing tradition, which is believed to have originated around 1,200 years ago, aims to secure protection for the community, despite the absence of written records. The festivity occurs biannually.

Members of the Khaling community convene at Jadrung Lhakang to retrieve the sacred attire, jewelry, and weapons of Ama Jomo and Meme Dangling from the Goenkhang, handled solely by the designated local shaman.

The procession then advances to Jomo Dogsa, a site esteemed as a temporary abode for Ama Jomo and Meme Dangling during their return from their winter sojourn in the southern foothills, where the deities are believed to spend the colder months.

The soelkha is observed on the 14th day of the fourth and tenth months of the Bhutanese calendar, marking the seasonal migrations of the deities. Community members gather to honor the deities’ journeys to and from their summer residence at Jomo Dogsa, where they prepare the deities’ masks, attire, and weapons. A sacred stone used by the deities is also safeguarded here.

Dorji, an 89-year-old shaman, leads the offerings, distributing brewed wine in a ceremonial plea for the community’s safeguarding. “I began participating in the offerings as a young helper to my father, the caretaker of this Lhakhang. Now, Tenzin will carry forward this tradition, which I’ve been preparing him for over the past year,” he shares.

Jambay, a local resident, adds, “We’ve consistently held the Soelkha since my childhood, never missing a year. Even those unable to attend send contributions, and in return, we share blessings and wine with them.”

“Our elders have warned that failing to perform the Soelkha on the designated 14th day of the fourth month could lead to calamities, including harmful weather and crop damage, as well as other misfortunes,” explains Lama Pema, Khaling Gonpa.

Upon the ceremonies conclusion, locals and students gather to receive blessings, then solemnly return to the Lhakhang.

While traditionally organized by the local community, this year marks the second collaboration with Khaling Samdrup Goenpung Lhakhang in conducting the soeklha.

Ama Jomo and Meme Dangling remain the most venerated guardian deities of Khaling Gewog.