Bhutan, the Himalayan Kingdom is a land of unique culture, rich traditions, and vibrant festival celebrations. Bhutan chiefly has innumerable temples and monasteries. Hence, the religious rituals and festivals have become an important allurement for the tourists. Tshechu in Bhutan, is an annual festival which is most royally celebrated on every tenth day of the month. It is widely anticipated and considered auspicious as it correlates with religious rituals and significant events. So if you are waiting to try different cultures, cuisines, and festivals, then involve in Tshechu and earn merit, get bestowed with immense luck and have your wishes come true. So here are 21 best festival celebrations of Bhutan that you should definitely attend:
1. Chorten Kora Festival:
In 1740, Lama Ngawang Lodro created a notable stupa to subdue a demon which used to live in the place where at present the Chorten is based. This festival is famous for its religious rituals. According to the legends here, the stupa took about 12 years to complete and after its construction the villagers lived peacefully. One can be familiar with many age-old traditions of Bhutan during this festival.
2. Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival:
Established in the year 2011 in memory of His Majesty the fourth Druk, it is celebrated at Druk Wangyal Lhakhang Festival Ground, near Dochula Pass. This festival renders the rich tradition, custom, and culture of the Bhutanese people. The main attraction is the alluring backdrop of the Himalayan Range and work of art describing important events of the country on the temple walls. This festival honors the service of the courageous and spirited king who actively participated in the Armed forces of the country.
3. Gomphu Kora Festival:
Gomphu means Meditation cave. According to the locals, the name came into existence from a cave made of rock where there is also a temple which is established to pay tribute to this place. It is a three days religious festival which is popular not only to the local tribes but also among the Dakpa tribe of the neighboring Arunachal Pradesh. The place comes alive during the festival celebrations and blessing at this time is considered extremely pious.
4. Haa Summer Festival:
This is a joyous occasion and main festival of Bhutan, which conducts the celebration of the living culture of the exclusive lifestyle, traditions, the religious performances, heritage, customs sports and certainly native Bhutanese home cooked cuisine. This festival is celebrated in extremely enchanting Haa Valley where the mind gets rejuvenated by taking a walk on the mountain slopes. This festival is grandly celebrated with traditional dances and with Ara, the local wine.
5. Jomolhari Mountain Festival:
This festival is celebrated at the base of Mt. Jomlhari for two days. During the celebration, snow leopard show is organized for making people aware of the declining number of the snow leopards. Traditional folk dance and folk songs are part of the celebration.
6. Merak Tshechu:
Indulge yourself in the remarkable culture and tradition of the Brokpas of Trashigang District of eastern Bhutan. The Merek Tshechu is celebrated for continuous three days, long enough to segregate oneself from the happenings of the outside world. It is celebrated in November. The most exceptional beauty of the festival is Yak Dance Performance.
7. Matsutake Festival:
The celebration takes place in the month Of August in Ura Valley. So attend the festival to enjoy the mushroom picking excursion and the panoramic forests and hilly areas, and enjoy the mouth melting Bhutanese cuisine and get a peek inside the lifestyle of the village life.
8. Monggar Tshechu:
The most exquisite and unforgettable among many festivals, this event is the true essence of Bhutan in every way. The most incredible thing about this event is the number of traditional dance performances. If you are in Bhutan visit Mongar, especially during Tshechu, the three-day annual event which is held every year in November.
9. Rhododendron Festival:
Spring in Bhutan is the time to immerse in the enchanting allure and witness the varieties of wild Rhododendron in its full glory. The three-day Rhododendron Festival at the Royal Botanical Park in Lamperi is truly an exquisite experience for the nature lovers to indulge in the beauty of the wild rhododendron that grows in abundance. During this festival, traditional Boedra and Zhungdra relating to nature are presented by locals. This festival integrates the ecological and cultural ideas through entertainment.
10. Nomad Festival:
Nomad Festival is held in Bumthang. This is one of the main festivals of Bhutan that is widely anticipated by everyone. During the celebration, the real nomadic people from North West and North East Himalayas dominate the festival with their presence. So, witness the memorable traditional performance and get to understand their culture, traditions, and way of life.
11. Paro Tshechu:
Held in March every year, Paro Tshechu is one of the most desired festivals and a major attraction in Bhutan. The festival continues for five days usually during spring time on the 2nd Bhutanese lunar month. On the last day of the festival, a gigantic thangka or embroidery painting is displayed. It is believed that looking at it cleanses sin. Come and enjoy the religious dance performed by monks and natives.
12. Pema Gatshel Tshechu:
Tshanglas, inhabitants of the eastern part of Bhutan, known for its religious involvement, traditions, and folk music started the celebration of Tshechu. Cham, a famous mask dance is performed during this celebration which describes the ways of Buddhism and protects from misfortune and harmful influences.
13. Punakha Tshechu and Drubchen:
This popular annual festival is celebrated in the month of May in Punakha, which located on the western side of Bhutan. This festival has a great historical importance. Religious customs are performed during the celebration and much entertainment is provided by folk dance performances.
14. Sakteng Festival:
Sakteng Tshechu festival is celebrated in the month of June for 3 days. The natives, who are semi-nomadic, come together in religious influence for worshipping. It is also an occasion for social gathering and merry making. The people remain decked in traditional clothes. Music, folk dance and Yak dance are the essential part of the celebration.
15. Takin Festival:
Any adventure enthusiast would love this festival. Its worth every penny to visit Bhutan during this festival. Takin Festival is celebrated in the month of February. It is held in Jigmi Dorji National Park of Gasa Dzongkhag. Being one of the most celebrated festivals of Bhutan this festival is a one time opportunity for every visitor to enjoy the sight of Takin, the national animal of Bhutan which is a rare and endangered species.
16. Thimpu Tshechu:
The oldest and the most popular festivals of Bhutan, this festival is usually celebrated in Tendrel Thang, in front of Tashichhoedzong. Masses of people, even the farmers take a break from their farming and perform rituals to beseech their gods. During the celebration, Cham dancers perform and provide great details about Buddhism.
17. Trongsa Tshechu:
Celebrated annually in the courtyard of Trongsa Dzong in Trongsa, the ancestral abode for the royal family, in central Bhutan, this is an ancient festival replete with a tradition of the country. This festival acts as a social gathering where people participate in merry making. Traditional mask dance is a common affair of this festival.
18. Ura Yakchoe:
One of the pious and religious festivals of Bhutan, Ura Yakchoe is a sacred dance performed along with other popular folk dance with a sacred relic so as to attain blessings from same. Many devotees visit the place to take part in worshipping the relic. According to history reference, a lama left this sacred relic behind and it has been passed from one generation to the other.
19. Wangduephopdrang Tshechu:
It is an annual 3-day festival celebrated in June, which is majorly attended by the natives of Thimpu and Punakha. This festival was introduced by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal after the Dzong was completed. The most anticipated activities on this festival are Raksha Mangcham or the Ox dance.the festival concludes with the display of Gur Tshengye Throngdrol where everyone fetches blessings to wash away their sins.
20. Trashigang Tshechu:
Celebrated in Trashigang Dzongkhag, the largest district of Bhutan it is the most attractive festivals and a one of the main festival in Bhutan. The three-day celebration consists of ceremonial washing, rehearsals, preparation and on the last day, it ends with the display of Thongdrol. It is celebrated in the month of December with a grand mask dance performance.
21. The Annual Black Necked Crane Festival:
This festival is celebrated with a purpose of passing a message to human races in order to protect and conserve the endangered black-necked cranes. It is celebrated in the Gangtey Gompa courtyard in Phobjikha Valley. During the celebration, the locals rejoice on the arrival of the majestic birds in their lives during the winter months.