Dharamsala 4th January 2016 : The 21st Annual Shoton Festival, celebrating the age old tradition of Ache Lhamo (Tibetan Opera) will be held at Doegueling Tibetan Settlement, one of the largest Tibetan settlement in southern Indian state of Karnataka. The festival will see opera performances by some of the best troupes from various Tibetan settlements located in India and Nepal.
Shoton Festival is an annual opera festival which was started in mid 18th century at Drepung Monastery in Tibet. At the end of yearly “Yarne” (Summer retreat month), the monks and devotees of the Drepung monastery were treated with sumptuous offering of yoghurt and opera performances. This modest festivity later evolved in much larger and more comprehensive congregation.
By the turn of 19th century, Tibetan government started a parallel festival at Norbu Linka, where some of the best troupes were invited to be part of it. Four major troupes (Gyalkara, Chungpa, Shangpa, Kyormulung) and twelve minor troupes would come and perform at Norbu Linka, the summer palace of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
In exile, Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts took extra initiative in reviving this ancient festival. Since, 1993 various opera connoisseurs and artistes from various Tibetan settlements were invited to be part of the festival at Dharamsala. His holiness the Dalai Lama in a special message told the members of the institute to hold this festival in various settlements so that it can have a wider reach, specially among the youngsters.
Dhondeling Tibetan Opera troupes will be making their debut performance at the festival. The festival will also feature the newly adpated story “Toenpae Zenam”, Life of Buddha by the artistes of Tibetan Institute of Performing Arts. The festival will kick off on 1st March 2016 and will conclude on 9th March 2016.
Festival Schedule :