Not a conventional diplomatic dialogue, but a unique inter-faith chanting event today marked the golden-jubilee anniversary of the establishment of the formal diplomatic relations between Indian and Bhutan here at the picturesque Kunesel Phodrang (Buddha Point).
The event, 'Thuendrel: Inter-Faith Chanting', which is a part of the year-long celebrations observing the 50 years of India-Bhutan friendship, saw artistes from both the countries performing Buddhist chanting, vedic-chanting and gurbani.
"Today we pay tribute to our common spiritual and religious tradition that from the time of our ancestors have given meaning to our temporal lives. In the region, that we call our own, different faiths have co-existed and flourished for thousands of years," Jaideep Sarkar, Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, said during the event.
He further added that the inter-faith dialogue was an "old concept" and referred to the Milinda Panha (Questions of Milinda), which was a Buddhist text that purportedly recorded the dialogue between the Buddhist saint Nagasena and the Indo-Greek king Menander I.
Organised by the Indian Embassy and the Royal government of Bhutan in association with Siyahi, a Jaipur-based literary consultancy firm, the event witnessed vedic chanting -- interspersed with devotional songs -- by Sawani Mudgal and group, soulful recital of gurbani by Ashupreet Kaur and sisters and the meditative Buddhist chanting by the Zhung Dratshang served the audience coming from varied nationalities with the perfect divine touch.
However, it was not chanting alone as the audience was treated with Bhutan's traditional rhythmic Zhanag Ngacham (Black hat dance) as well as Zhengshig Pem, an invocation of Guru Rinpoche, by the Zhung Dratshang.
"The black hat dance tells the story of the assassination of the devil Langdharma by a monk named Pekhil Dorji, while the Zhengshig is performed to invite Guru Rinpoche to subjugate all evil spirits and destructive forces," informed the host of the event.
Talking about the event, Khenpo Ugyen Namgyal from the Central Monastic Body said it shows how India and Bhutan share common threads of culture and beliefs.
"Thuendrel itself symbolizes the long lasting friendship and diplomatic relations between the two countries," he told PTI.
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