Tendong Lho Rum Faat is one of the oldest and most important festivals celebrated in Sikkim especially by the Lepcha tribe.
This 3 day festival in Sikkim begins with prayers to Mount Tendong in Namchi in South Sikkim. As per the Lepcha mythology, it was believed that the entire tribe was saved from 40 days and 40 nights of great deluge caused by continuous rain which drowned the entire Mayel Lyang, the modern day Sikkim.
History of Tendong Lho Rum Faat Festival
The name of the Tendong hill is derived from the Lepcha dialect which literally translates to “the hill of the raised horn”. As per the Lepcha mythology, at the time of creation Tendong Hill had risen from the horns of a deity so that during the great flood, the Lepchas were saved.
The historical background of this festival is like this. During the time of creation, the Himalayan range was just forming. A great volcano eruption (it is believed that Tendong is a dormant volcano) destroyed and damaged Naho and Nather Pokh, the sources of Teesta and Rangeet rivers and continuous rain followed.
This destruction on embankment leading to water flowing down and the rain led to great deluge and the destruction of the Lepcha tribe was imminent. As the lower region started to flood causing loss of life and property, the horn rose miraculously and the tribesmen started to ascend the Tendong Hill which became their only chance for survival.
Lepcha tribe still celebrates this occasion to commemorate the almighty who saved their ancestors and to pay respect to the hill.
The Tendong Lho Rum Faat Celebrations
During the festivities, people make a model of the Mountain in facade of their homes and worship it. It is exclusively made of nine stones and the people dance and sing wearing mask to get the blessings of the almighty.
It is believed that the well wishes of the Lord are indispensable for keeping them wealthy and healthy.
A fiesta is celebrated all across Sikkim on a grand scale every year, usually in the month of August, to commemorate the ascension of the ancestors of Lepcha tribe and to pay reverence to the creator for saving them by creating “The Hill of the Raised Horn.”
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When is Tendong Lho Rum Faat Celebrated:
Celebrations observed over span of 3 days are usually held in the 3rd Lunar Month i.e. in July- August every year.
Where is Tendong Lho Rum Faat Celebrated:
The festival is celebrated all across Sikkim but the grand festivities are held at Tendong Hill in Namchi. Namchi is the administrative capital of South Sikkim.
Trek to Tendong Hill
Tendong Hill is located in Namchi, the capital of South Sikkim. Namchi is gaining the attention of trekkers and pilgrims due to the local legends and Buddhist centers that are located nearby.
Starting point of the trek to Tendong Hill is from Damthang located 13 kilometers away from Ravangla. The trekking route to the top of the hill is 6 kilometers stretch of dense forest replete with various species of birds. Mammals such as Red Panda, Himalayan Bears and Leopards also reside in these areas.
A small monastery and a watch tower located on the top of Tendong Hill hold great cultural significance for the Lepcha tribe.