Thongdrel

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Thongdrel unfolded at the Gomkora Tsechu 2013

A Thongdrel (alt. throngdrel) is a large tapestry unveiled during tsechus (religious festivals) in Bhutan. They are equivalent to Tibetan thangka paintings. Thongdrels typically depict a seated Guru Rinpoche surrounded by holy beings.

Thongdrels are composed of two silk layers, the painting itself and a yellow drape that covers and protects it. Thongdrels are displayed once a year as the highlight of the tsechu festival of a district or dzongkhag (although not every district has a thongdrel). The painting is not allowed to be struck by the direct rays of the sun, thus it is unfurled at around 3:00 in the morning and rolled back up by 7:30 AM.

The mere viewing of the unfurled thongdrel is said to cleanse the viewer of sin.

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