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SHA RADRAP OF WANGDUE


(Continuing on the history of local deities today is a brief history of Sha Radrap, guardian deity of Wangdue Valley.)

To many of those who hail  from Wangdue or has lived there, Radrap is a household name. His influence on the local people of Wangdue valley is far more outreaching than Buddha or Guru himself.  
He is feared as much as he is respected. His abode, Radra Neykhang, which is located in erstwhile Wangdue town is frequented by local people and people from across Bhutan to get blessings, seek protection or simply to make offering.
Local people believe that Radrap was actually a Tsan who had made vows to Guru Rinpoche to protect his treasures. Guru Rinpoche was quite pleased with his commitment and  also named him Genyen Chenpo. During the time of Lama Phajo Drugom Zhingpo, he placed his allegiance again and continued to be a protector of Buddhist doctrine.
That was in Tibet sometimes in 13th century. However, at a time that is not known clearly, it is being said that a Bhutanese trader from Wangdue valley who had gone to Tibet tricked the deity to come to Bhutan. The trader had offered him a huge mountain in his village as his abode. The trader even offered to make him Army General. He sounded pleased with the offering so they made journey to their promised abode. When they reached the promised mountain, the deity was disappointed with its size. It was not so big as the trader had described to the deity.  So he blurted out “it just has the height of a goat” (ra bzum chig rang embay). Since then the mountain came to be known as Radragang or “goat-like mountain” and the deity became Radrap. He then settled
on the peak and became the deity of the people in the locality. However, he is known to have shown his wrath many times. It is being said that the locals had to sacrifice a bull to appease him. Until recently, a festival called Bala Bongko in village Balakha  was conducted by people of Bjena Gewog to appease him by making bull sacrifice. Today, with Buddhist influence and also maybe because of meat readily available in the market, people no longer make sacrifice.
Radrap also is a Keylha for children born in Wangdue valley. It is common to hear individual names like Radrap, Rada or Rattu. They all have associations with deity Radrap.


Comments

Anonymous said…
How are you now Tshering?

Pashi
Tshering said…
Feeling better now. Missing u
PaSsu said…
Yes, My daughter's Keylha is also Ap Rada, we visit his Negkhang every month to thank him for our daughter's good health. Often when our daughter is not well we go to Rada Nekhang and she becomes very nice.

Thank you for the history, otherwise I was always associating Ap Rada with India, going by its name which sounds like an Indian Name. I also made connections between the Indian who were brought in by Zhabdrung during the constructions of Wangdue Dzong with the Origin of Ap Rada.
Sonam Dorji said…
Good piece... Keep writing!

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