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Ney Pai Chha

The Chha dance of Ney


Ney Pai Chha being performed by the local artists in traditional costumes at the National Stadium.

It is believed that two daughters of Lord Brahma went to two different villages where each one of them introduced the unique dance form known as Chha. The dance is considered very sacred and is highly revered by the community of Krutoe or Lhuntse district.

Reasons for selection

This is one of the unique dance forms. Its songs are in the vernacular and one of the longest dance forms, if performed in strict accordance with the tradition, takes perhaps one whole day. The choreography, lyrics line, formation and customs are totally different from the other dance forms prevailing in Bhutan. Hence, it is a must that this unique art should be promoted and preserved for our posterity.

Area where performed

Lord Brahma was invoked by a mystical bird to descend to the world in order to subdue an evil scourge on earth. Tradition has it that the lord descended to the world in many different forms. It is a unique dance form of Neyuel village under Lhuntse district, situated in due north-east of Bhutan.

Essential elements of the performing art

Dance, Music, Theatre

Detailed explanation

Ney Pai Chha is traditionally performed during the local festival of Krutoe Lhuentse district. During the festival, Chha is the main item of entertainment.

The Characteristics
The Chha dance is performed by both male and female artists. Among the artists, five of them put on white shorts and shirts with red stripes on them. They put rings made of cloth on their heads. The leader blows a huge horn ornamented with five coloured silk cloths.

It is said that the costumes of Chha, if taken away from the village, cause havoc to the whole community in the form of cyclones, disease and famine etc. If the dance is performed in other areas a new set of costumes is required to be made, for the original costume is strictly used only during the local festival. Because of its uniqueness, Chha has invariably become an important intangible cultural heritage that should not escape documentation.

Tradition has it that a mystical bird approached Lord Brahma to invoke him to descend to the human world to subjugate the evil scourge on the earth. Lord Brahma commanded that before he descended to the world, sanctity should be ensured. The bird pledged to abide by the will of the lord. Having done so, the lord descended in the forms of his two daughters, a white horse, white bird and white man. For once, the mystical bird pretended not to know them and, instead asked questions that annoyed the lord who tried to return to the heaven leaving his mission unfulfilled. Understanding this, the bird made fire in a huge bowl and burnt sweet incense. Then they finally landed at Neyuel. Of his two daughters, after contemplating for a while, the elder sister turned to the east and Chha was introduced in Shawa village of Kurtoe. The younger sister turned to the west and Chha was introduced in the village Neyuel.

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