Bhutanese festival are called Tsechus which are held at Dzongs (Administrative Fortress) and monasteries throughout the year at different districts and time. One of the kind is celebrated in Thimphu.
Out of all this festivals the ones which are held at the capital Thimphu paro and Bumthang are the main attractions for the tourist which visit Bhutan. In this festivals people from all around the country leave behind their daily works, get dressed in their best attire and jewelry and visit the dzongs and monasteries to witness the mask dances which are performed by the monks wearing wide varieties of mask and colorful cloths and traditional dances which are performed by professional dancers.
Most of these dances were performed in the medieval periods and are very ancient with spiritual importance coinciding with the Buddhist way of life and death.
The Paro Tshechu is held every spring and is one of the most colorful and significant events in Paro Dzongkhag (district).
The Tsehchu is considered a major attraction and people travel from neighboring districts to participate in the festivity. Early in the morning on the last day of the celebration the monks display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting) , the Guru Throngdel, inside the dzong. Thongdrols are especially impressive examples of Buddhist art and never fail to amaze viewers. They are considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrol is said to cleanse the viewer of sin.
(7th –11th April)
When it was initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867 the Tshechu consisted of only a few dances being performed strictly by monks. These were the Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground), and the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities).
The Thimphu Tshechu underwent a change in the 1950s, when the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks). These additions added colour and variation to the festival without compromising its spiritual significance. Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) are enjoyed because they are similar to stage-theater.
(30th September – 2nd October)
The Punakha Drubchen is a unique festival because it hosts a dramatic recreation of the scene from the 17th century battle with Tibetan army.
The ‘pazaps’ or local militia men, dress in traditional battle gear and reenact the ancient battle scene. This reenactment harkens back to the time when in the absence of a standing army, men from the eight Tshogchens or great village blocks of Thimphu came forward and managed to expel the invading forces from the country. Their victory ushered in a period of new-found internal peace and stability.
Drupchen (4th – 6th March)
Punakha Tshechu (7th – 9th March)
Dress like a Bhutanese highlander and try on an entire costume spun from yak hair, including the Brokpa black hat with five long fringes down the front or the conical bamboo Layap headgear.
Ladies can wear the wide, beautiful hand-woven aprons decorated with colorful motifs of flowers and animals traditionally worn by women. They can even have their hair plaited and decorated with colorful ribbons in the traditional style of the region.
The festival is held in Wangduephodrang and is observed for three days in the autumn season. The Tshechu is well known for the Raksha Mangcham or the dance of the Ox. Many different kinds of mask dances are performed during the festival. It concludes with the unfurling of the Guru Tshengye Thongdrol.
(28th – 30th September)
Raktsha Mang Cham ( The Dance of the Ox )
The Festival is celebrated with over 46 species of Rhododendron Flowers. The festival is performed in Lamperi ( A place between Punakha & Thimphu )
(Get to watch over different species of Rhododendron Flowers)
This festival is scheduled during the 4th weekend of August and takes place in beautiful Ura valley. Ura is renowned for being one of the most picturesque valleys in the entire kingdom. Its inhabitants, the Uraps are a cheerful, hospitable people. Ura provides one of the most authentic experiences of traditional rural Bhutanese life available.
At the festival, visitors will be learn to identify these fabled mushrooms as they embark on mushroom picking excursions around the pristine forests and hills. They’ll be able to sample delicious Matsutake recipes, engage in songs and dances together with the locals, hike through the stunning Himalayan landscape and even relax in traditional open-air mineral baths.
(Identifying and Harvesting Different Species of Mushrooms in Ura, Bumthang)
The annual black-necked crane festival is organized to generate awareness and understanding on the importance of conserving the endangered Black‐necked cranes; to strengthen the linkages between conservation, economic welfare and sustainable livelihoods of the community; provide an avenue for the local community to renew their commitment to conservation of the black-necked cranes, and to showcase their cultural heritage and skills.
(Get to watch the endangered bird-Black Naked Crane)
11th of Nov
The Chorten (Stupa) was built by Lama Ngawang Loday in 1740on the site where a demon was subdued. The chorten was dedicated to the memory of his late uncle, Jungshu Pesan. It is believed to be a replica of the Boudhnath stupa in Nepal and was consecrated by the 13th chief Abbot of Bhutan Je Sherub Wangchuk. Today, it is considered one of the most important historical Buddhist structures.
This is the place where the Tshechu is held.
(12th March & 28th March)
- Trongsa Tshechu
- Gangtey Tshechu
- Jambay Lhakhang Drobchen
- Kurjey Lhakhang
- Nimalung Tshechu
- Ura Yakchoe
- Domkhar Tshechu
- Mongar Festival
- Lhuentse Tshechu
- T/gang Tshechu
- Gomphu Kora Tshechu
- Takin Festival
- Haa Summer Festival
- Talo Tshechu
- Punakha Dromchoe