Lama Dances at the end of the 7-day Vajrakilaya Gutor Puja
The highlight of the Gutor Puja is the all-day Lama Dancing, or cham (Tib). The dance, which includes 25 or more costumed Black Hat lama dancers takes place in the monastery’s upper and lower courtyards. Every year, a large crowd of spectators fill the courtyards to enjoy the monastery’s popular annual Lama Dance.
Shortly before sunset, the grand finale of the costumed dance performance features the ceremonial burning of an effigy in a haystack erected in the lower front courtyard. This incineration symbolizes turning one’s back on one’s own destructive habitual patterns and the resulting harmful circumstances. At one point, the monks, high Lamas, and many lay spectators, in unison, literally turn their backs on the flaming haystack for a full minute!