Villagers unite in ancient ritual to tackle water crisis

While the world moves forward with advancements in technology, some residents in the country are still holding on to ancient traditions to combat their daily struggles. In the capital Thimphu, people of three villages gathered yesterday to appease the local gods as part of their effort to confront a water crisis.

In the era of AI and modern technology, villagers of Tshalu Maphey, Bab Gochhukha and Bap Lhakha villages have resorted to local practices to help solve their water issue.

They are also joined by local leaders and a few monks to perform the Reu Sang Chhoe ritual. This sacred ceremony is a plea to the local deity Thangkarjin, appealing to the much-needed April shower.

“This year, we didn’t have snowfall. If there is snowfall, the water doesn’t dry up. As there was no snowfall and half of Thimphu Thromde and Half the people of Gewog use water from this source we decided to conduct the rain ritual. The main reason is to bring the rain from this ritual. No matter how much water the Thromde supplies, the water is never enough,” said Tshering Dorji, a resident.

“The main reason we are gathered here is because this year the water has been drying up and the water has not been sufficient for us. As the number of people keeps on increasing water has been scarce for us. So, we want to pray for rainfall,” said Bola, another resident.

The rain ritual is usually conducted every year at the Talakha Goenpa, but this time they decided to do it at the water source which they say is drying up.

Meanwhile, officials from Thimphu Thromde say there is a shortage because there are too many households but that they are trying their best to provide enough water to everyone.

“When the water is big, we supply the water efficiently. When the water is small, the water tank doesn’t get filled and we have a hard time supplying it. In the main water source too, there are many users and different pipelines for use. Hence, the water is scarce,” said Nidup Lhamo, the technical plan operator of Thimphu Thromde.

And as the villagers wait for their prayers to be answered, what we have witnessed here is the resilience and unity of Bhutanese communities, embracing the wisdom of the ancestors in a rapidly changing world.

Sonam Yuden

Edited by Yeshi Gyaltshen

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