English | Dzongkha Friday, September 25, 2020

The pilgrim’s progress

Dec 31, 2011

The Phuentsholing town is struggling to deal with a huge influx of people.

The border town attracts thousands of visitors in the winter, among them pilgrims on their way to religious sites in India, itinerant businessmen, students on vacation, government employees taking a break from work and farmers coming to sell goods wholesale at the auction yard.

This year the crowd is even bigger with an estimated fifty thousand people descending in Phuentsholing to attend a rare three month long prayer ceremony presided over by the Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche.

And now thousands of pilgrims are congregating in Phuentsholing. They are on their way to Bodh Gaya, India, to attend the Dungkar Wangchen or the annual world peace prayers.

For many pious Bhutanese attending this ceremony at least once in their lifetime is a must. Many have made this journey several times.

The hotels are all packed and finding accommodation is next to impossible. The pilgrims are living in tents while they wait for transportation to Bodh Gaya.

According to residents, a small colony of tents has sprung up overnight in the Zangtopelri Park and the bus terminal.

The vehicular traffic has also grown ominously. Commuters said it is difficult and risky to drive around town.

Many of the pilgrims have come well prepared, equipped with kerosene stoves, pots and pans, and ration to last the duration of their stay.

Busloads of pilgrims are arriving every day and the situation is not likely to ease any sooner.

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