Cham in the Lepcha Village of Lingthem


2007 / 52 minutes

Directed by
Dawa Tsering Lepcha
Country of production

Every winter, over a period of six days, the lamas of Lingthem's village monastery hold their annual cham. These dramatic ritual masked dances impart elementary Buddhist teachings while providing entertainment to villagers. Their main purpose is to remove obstacles and ward off misfortune for the village, its inhabitants and the monastery. However, for lamas and more serious Buddhist practitioners, these cham and their rituals hold deep philosophical meanings. The dances were beautifully filmed by Dawa Tsering Lepcha in his own village monastery in the Lepcha reserve of Dzongu, North Sikkim. In the course of this village event, the deities who emerge in the period between death and rebirth make their rhythmic appearances followed by the Lord of Death who judges one's good and bad deeds in the after life. This film is the second produced by the Namgyal Institute of Tibetology as part of its visual anthropology project. This training program for indigenous filmmakers aims to produce a documented video record of Sikkim's vanishing indigenous and Buddhist cultures. Its primary purpose is to record and preserve the meaning and proper performance of Sikkim's rituals within their social and economic context.

Language and subtitles
Lepcha with English Subtitles
South Asia
Ritual Dance / Theatre / Performance Religion / Belief / Faith