Esplanade Presents

Music | Dance

Gongkar Great Drum Dance

Gongkar Choede Monastery (India)

12 Apr 2024, Fri, 7.30pm

13 Apr 2024, Sat, 6.45pm & 8.15pm


(Intermission: None)

DBS Foundation Outdoor Theatre at Esplanade (12 Apr) and Esplanade Courtyard (13 Apr)

This event is over.


For the first time outside of Tibet and India, witness the grandeur of the Gongkar Choede Great Drum Dance, performed as part of A Tapestry of Sacred Music.  


With giant barrel drums strapped on their backs, Tibetan Buddhist monks skip and dance with sprightly steps, moving in a circle, whipping the drums behind them. Thunderous booms punctuate their footwork, amidst the clanking of ritual cymbals and blasts of giant horns. This dance is a rare sight to behold, as it is only performed once a year at the Great Prayer Gathering held at Gongkar Choede Monastery in Northern India. The only other time this dance is performed is at the Dalai Lama’s procession.  


Created by Dorjedenpa Kunga Namgyal (1432–1496), the Gongkar Choede Great Drum Dance (Nga Cham) was one of the many ritual dances associated with the Gongkar Choede Monastery, known as a major tantric study centre in Central Tibet. Following the total cultural transformation that took place with the exile of the Tibetan government in the mid-20th century, the monks eventually settled themselves in Uttarakhand, North India. There, the senior monks continued the ritual traditions that were in danger of fading away, passing them on to a new generation of Gongkar Choede monks.  


Today, this ritual dance remains an iconic display of Tibetan Buddhist culture, performed as an act of devotion to the Buddha. It carries the tantric intent of relieving the suffering of all beings, and grants spiritual protection. The practice was revived in the 1990s, thanks to oral instruction from a former practitioner. Physically fit monks are selected from the community to train for it, and it takes several years to master both the movements and music.  


Seats are available on a first-come, first-served basis at the DBS Foundation Outdoor Theatre at Esplanade.

Things to Note:
Accessibility Advisory: We provide a range of access services and relaxed performances for patrons with access needs. For wheelchair-accessible seats, please call Esplanade Customer Experience at 6828 8377 for assistance. Concessions for Persons With Disabilities (PWDs) and up to one accompanying companion are available. | View our accessibility guide
Artist Information

Gongkar Choede Monastery

Hailing from a Tibetan settlement in Northern India, the drum dance group from Gongkar Choede Monastery comprises eight performers, selected from the community of monks, who train for and perform this dance. For over 15 years, the group has been entertaining crowds at important events in Delhi and Himachal Pradesh. Three artists play Tibetan trumpets and cymbals, while others take on the physically challenging drum dance. The dedication, skill and vibrant energy at every performance have led to lively and exciting shows that leave a lasting impression wherever the group performs.  

Date & Time

12 Apr 2024, Fri


DBS Foundation Outdoor Theatre at Esplanade

13 Apr 2024, Sat


Esplanade Courtyard


Esplanade Courtyard

Become a member

Three membership cards depicting each membership tier, Discover, White and Black.

Great arts experiences begin with Esplanade&Me. Join this membership to enjoy ticket specials on shows at Esplanade, early bird specials, promotions at Esplanade Mall, unlimited access to Offstage and more.

Never miss a show again. Get on our mailing list.