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By Hugh Richardson

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Thrones have been prepared there for the Yaso who are offered chang by the maids of honour and then are showered with scarves and presents by the general public who seek in this way to share in the Torgya. The Yaso then lead their troops to the south-west corner of the Barkor where they dismount and walk with their attendants to the forecourt of the Jokhang where they prostrate themselves to the Dalai Lama after which they walk back, mount their horses and lead the cavalry slowly past the Jokhang and on round the Barkor to the south-east comer again.

At other times I visited him in his country estate in the Tolung valley where he and his monks relaxed in a pleasant park, wearing holiday dress and enjoying archery at which the Oracle was expert. In return he came frequently to Dekyilingka often at short notice. In 1937 he invited me to attend a ceremony at Kundeling monastery where he went in the second month of each year to prophesy to Taktsa Rinpoche. We were taken into a rather dark hall at the end of which stood a tall gilded chair for the Oracle.

Only one brawny well-muscled fellow swaggers about challenging all comers; but no one takes him on. Later I heard that the duty is unpopular and the participants feel shame because it is deemed improper to appear naked or nearly so in front of one's superiors. Alongside the wrestlers other men struggle to carry a heavy stone round a mark. All the contestants eventually get a scarf and some money. While this is going on, the principal events — a series of races by riderless horses, foot runners and mounted men — have got under way.

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