Tsechu Fair of Rewalsar,Mandi (H.P)


Located in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, India, is the small town of Rewalsar, also known as "Triveni" worldwide. The town is an important religious place for the people of Buddhism, Sikhism, and Hinduism. It is home to a Hindu temple, a gurdwara, and a monastery, where devotees come and perform puja as per their religious customs.

The Rewalsar/Tsechu Fair

Every year, on the 10th day of the new year according to the Tibetan calendar, a religious fair is celebrated in Rewalsar, Mandi. The fair is known as the Rewalsar fair, Chessu fair, or Tsechu fair, and it has great religious importance. The name Chheshu fair literally means "10th of Dawa Thangpo" which is the first month.Thousands of followers from all over the country and abroad participate in the festival, making it a wonderful example of religious harmony.

The festival of Tsechu occurs twice a year - Chhota Tsechu and Bara TsechuChhota Tsechu happens on Shukla Dashmi of the pausa month of the Bikrami era (December/January), while Bara Tsechu takes place on the Shukla Dashmi of the month of Phalguna (February/March).

The Legend of Guru Padma Sambhava

The fair commemorates the birth anniversary of Guru Padma Sambhava, a sage guru who meditated on the banks of Rewalsar Lake for many years. Padma Sambhava went to Tibet from India via Nepal and transmitted Vajrayana Buddhism to Bhutan, Tibet, and other neighboring countries in and around 747 AD. He is considered an emanation of Buddha Amitabha and traditionally adored as "a second Buddha."

One version of the legend states that King Arashadhar of Mandi had Padmasambhava burnt alive after rumors that the Guru had attempted to teach his daughter, Princess Manadarva, the Dharma, which was not accepted then. The pyre burned for a full week, with great clouds of black smoke arising from it. However, after a week, a lake appeared at the spot where he was burnt, and Padmasambhava manifested himself as a 16-year-old boy from within a lotus in the middle of the lake with Manadarva on his side. The king repented and performed the marriage of Padma Sambhava and Manadarva. From Rewalsar, Padma Sambhava went to Tibet to teach Tibetan Buddhism.

The Statue of Padmasambhava

On April 1, 2012, a monumental statue of Padmasambhava, 123 feet high, was consecrated, blessed, and inaugurated by the 14th Dalai Lamba. The imposing statue sits majestically atop a hill on one side of the lake. The project took nearly 10 years to complete, with the foundation alone taking 3 years to construct. Rewalsar is a sacred place for Tibetan Buddhists, and there are two Buddhist monasteries, the Drikung Kagyu Monastery and Tso-Pema Orgyen Heru-kai Nyingma Monastery. There are also sacred Buddhist caves just above Rewalsar.

Rituals and Customs

The fair commences with a grand "Puja" in the Gompa or Buddhist monastery, and both Neiysrapa and Kandgupa sects of Buddhism participate in the Puja. Hundreds of Lamas engage in meditation from the 7th day or "Satvin" until "puranmashi." Apart from Guru Padma Sambhav, homage is paid to other Tibetan deities, including Shardur Samdia and Nubnawathay. The flag is changed, and old flag pieces are collected.

During Chhota Tsechu, a limited number of Lamas participate in meditation, and 1,000 wicks of ghee (butter) are lit up. 

Tsog, a Tibetan preparation made of barley, ghee, and gur, is distributed, and five-colored buntings of cloth printed with Buddhist "mantras" are hung to purify the atmosphere. Various folk dances are performed in honor of Guru Padma Sambhav and other Buddhist deities.

The festival is a vibrant celebration that encompasses a range of activities. It includes colorful ceremonial processions, lively street events with music and dance performances, thrilling wrestling matches, and communal meals where people come together to share food and stories. The ancient monastery of Rewalsar, with its rich history and cultural significance, is also a focal point of the festival, adding to the overall grandeur of the event.


In conclusion, the Rewalsar/Tsechu Fair stands as a testament to the enduring spirit of religious harmony and cultural richness in the Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh, India. Rooted in the legend of Guru Padma Sambhava, whose teachings continue to inspire devotees across the globe, the fair serves as a vibrant celebration of tradition, faith, and community.

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