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Namkha Tinmey Dhangwa

The Cloudless Sky


Namkha Tinmey Dhangwa being performed by the artists of the Academy.

This classical song celebrates the cloudless clear sky as a happy and auspicious event and likens it to a throne covered with a parasol shining in the sun or sky at night filled with stars.

Reasons for selection

As more and more of the younger generation are keen on picking up the more recent modern songs and dances, old ones, such as these are on the verge of being forgotten. The values of the culture in the song is overlooked. Therefore, this dance with external, internal and esoteric values echoed in the form of a simple song, needs to be popularized among the youth. For this, it must be preserved and promoted so that we could hand down this rich masterpiece for the future citizens of this country.

Area where performed

This is a Zhungdra classical dance and is very popular among the older generations. It is an offering of the vocal music. There is no particular geographical area to which its performance is limited.

Essential elements of the performing art

Dance, Music

Detailed explanation

Namkha Tinmey Dhangwa, one of the oldest classical songs is very popular among older people. It is very much appreciated for its spiritual quest and melody.

The Characteristics
This Zhungdra is normally performed by women. There should be seven dancers at least, and at the most fifteen, all in odd numbers. The leader usually stands in the middle of the single line formed facing the audience. All the dancers hold each other lightly with their little fingers, while gently swaying the hips. The numbers of dancers are odd numbers as these are masculine and represent varying degrees of knowledge. Even numbers are feminine and symbolize varying shades of feelings. So odd numbers are numbers of thab or skillful means whereas the even numbers are numbers of shrab or wisdom.

According to oral tradition, this song was composed by Ja Tulku, who had established a monastery in the late 19th century. From his childhood, Ja Tulku showed signs of supremacy in religious activities. With age, he developed an irresistible zest for dharma and he was forced to travel to Tibet the Land of Snow.

In Tibet he took spiritual lessons from many learned saints and scholars and soon his own spiritual attainment reached the peak. Having fulfilled his wish, returned to Bhutan whereupon the monastery was established.

The song externally describes the religious places in Tibet and Bhutan where he had meditated. Internally, he expresses his own longing to meet his spiritual masters who were the source of his well-being and success in the path of enlightenment. Esoterically, it is the spontaneous outflow of his attainment of the at-one-ment the quintessential experiences beyond expression.

The mind is likened to sky and the delusion born out of ignorance is likened to clouds. In the vast measureless sky of the mind, the clouds of delusions are formed and disappear effortlessly. The performance is not limited to one geographical area alone, just as the sky covers everything, this song pervades all over Bhutan, but it is more popular in central and western Bhutan.

Publication and textual documentation

not yet available

Audio documentation

not yet available

Visual documentation

not yet available

Institution/organisation involved in preservation and promotion

no information at present

Data provider

Phuntsho Gyeltshen
Royal Academy of Performing Arts
Address: (Special Commission of Performing Arts)Post Box #493 Chubachu, Thimphu, Bhutan