Events & Festivals

Events & Festivals

Tshechu is a religious festival meaning “tenth day” held annually in various temples, monasteries and dzongs throughout the country.

The Tshechu is a religious event celebrated on tenth day of a month of the lunar calendar corresponding to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). However the exact month of the Tshechu varies from place to place and temple to temple.

Tshechus are grand events where entire communities come together to witness religious mask dances, receive blessings and socialize. . In addition to the mask dances tshechus also include colorful Bhutanese dances and other forms of entertainment.

It is believed that everyone must attend a Tshechu and witness the mask dances at least once to in order to receive blessings and wash away their sins. Every mask dance performed during a Tshechu has a special meaning or a story behind it and many are based on stories and incidents from as long ago as the 8th century, during the life of Guru Padmasambhava.

In monasteries the mask dances are performed by monks and in remote villages they are performed jointly by monks and village men.Two of the most popular Tshechus in the country are the Paro and Thimphu Tshechus in terms of participation and audience. Besides the locals many tourists from across the world are attracted to these unique, colorful and exciting displays of traditional culture.

Jomolhari Mountain Festival Jomolhari Mountain Festival

Jomolhari Mountain Festival is an exquisitely themed two-day event celebrated at the base of Mt. Jomolhari, by communities located along one of the most scenic trekking routes in Bhutan.

The festival celebrates the culture of the communities living together with the natural wonders that surround them: one in particular, the elusive, yet elegant, snow leopard! This endangered cat thrives in the region; several camera trap photos and definite signs have established the region as one of the best snow leopard habitats in Bhutan.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Monggar TshechuMonggar Tshechu

Monggar in eastern Bhutan is largely known as the “Bastion of the Zhongarps,” after the illustrious Dzongpons of Zhongar that played significant role in the history of Bhutan. The main inhabitants of this region are the Tshanglas and the Kurtoeps. They speak distinct languages known as Tshanglakha and Kurtoepaikha. This region is famous for its exquisite wood carvings.

 
 
 

Nimalung Festival Nimalung Festival

Nimalung Lhakhang is located in Chumey in Bumthang. It is approximately a 15 minute drive from the road that branches off from the village of Chumey. The main relic of the two-storied temple is a magnificent statue of Guru Rimpoche. The monastery is decorated with murals of the Nyingmapa and Drukpa traditions. There are also paintings of Guru Rimpoche and his disciples, the lineage of Terton Pema Lingpa, and several Buddhist masters affiliated with the monastery.

 
 
 
 

Nomad Festival  Nomad Festival(February)

The Nomad festival is held in Bumthang Dzongkhag (district) in central Bhutan the spiritual heartland of the country. Bumthang is approximately an 8 hour drive from the capital city of Thimphu. The festival will give you the opportunity to witness the grand pageantry of the Chipdrel, a ceremonial procession usually reserved for royalty.

 
 
 
 

Paro TshechuParo Tshechu(March)

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.

 
 
 

Pema Gatshel TshechuPema Gatshel Tshechu

Pema Gatshel Dzongkhag is situated in Eastern Bhutan. Its major inhabitants are the Tshanglas who are found living on agriculture and animal husbandry.
The district is known for its numerous festivals and folk songs. The most notable folk song is the Ausa, a song that is sung during the departure of family members, friends and relatives. Since the construction of the dzong in the early 1980’s, they have also celebrated the annual Tshechu over a three day period.

 
 
 
 

Punakha Tshechu and DrubchenPunakha Tshechu and Drubchen(February)

Punakha is located in the western part of Bhutan is the winter home of the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot of Bhutan. Punakha has been of critical importance since the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 17th century.
Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal is known as the unifier of Bhutan as a nation state and he was the one who gave Bhutan and its people the distinct cultural identity that identified Bhutan from the rest of the world.

 
 
 
 

Sakteng FestivalSakteng Festival

The Sakten Tshechu is held for three days each year at the Sakten Lhakhang situated just next to the village. In addition to its religious function the Tshechu provides the Brokpas with an occasion for revelry and merry making. Like all Tshechus in Bhutan, the festival is a time when the entire community can come together for celebrate and engage in worship.

 
 
 
 

Takin FestivalTakin Festival

The Takin Festival is your once in a lifetime opportunity to get an up close look at Bhutan’s national animal, the Takin (Budorcas taxicolor) in their native summer grazing grounds. Despite being a rare and endangered species around the world, there are still thriving populations of this majestic animal in Bhutan. You won’t want to miss this chance to admire their unique physique and natural agility.

 
 
 
 

Thimphu TshechuThimphu Tshechu

One of the biggest festivals in the country is the Thimphu Tshechu. This festival is held in the capital city for three days beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar. This Tshechu is witnessed by thousands of people many of which travel from neighboring Dzongkhags (districts) to attend the festivities. The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.

 
 
 
 

Trongsa TshechuTrongsa Tshechu

Trongsa, the sacred and temporal heart of the country is a two day journey from Thimphu. Situated in central Bhutan, it was once the seat of power over central and eastern regions. Both the first and second kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat and it is customary for the crown prince to serve as the Trongsa Penlop (“governor”) prior to ascending the throne.

 
 
 

Ura YakchoeUra Yakchoe

Ura valley in Bumthang is known for the famous dance known as the Ura Yakchoe. The dance is performed during a festival that is held every May. During the festival a sacred and important relic is put on display so that the people can receive blessings from it.

 
 
 
 

Wangduephodrang TshechuWangduephodrang Tshechu

Wangduephodrang in central Bhutan is famous for Lozeys or Ornamental Speeches. Two notable lozeys are the tragic song of Gaylong Sumdar Tashi that of Pema Tshewang Tashi who served as an official at the Dzong. The Dzong served as the administrative centre and was built in 1639 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel at the confluence of Puna Tsang Chu.

 
 
 
 

Dochula Druk Wangyel FestivalDochula Druk Wangyel Festival

Druk Wangyel Festival is an annual festival held on December 13th at the Druk Wangyal Lhakhang Festival Ground located at Dochula Pass around 22km from the capital city Thimphu. Dochula Pass is one of the most scenic locations in the entire kingdom, offering a stunning panoramic view of the Himalayan mountain range.

 
 
 
 

Trashigang TshechuTrashigang Tshechu

Trashigang Dzongkhag is the largest district in the country. Its aboriginal inhabitants are known as the Tshanglas. Trashigang dzong sits majestically on a high ridge overlooking the Dangmechu and the Gamrichu.

 
 
 
 

The Annual Black-necked Crane Festival -11th NovemberThe Annual Black-necked Crane Festival -11th November

The Annual Black-necked Crane festival is celebrated in the courtyard of Gangtey Gonpa, in Phobjikha valley. The festival is an occasion for the locals to rejoice and celebrate the arrival of this endangered and majestic bird which becomes an inseparable part their daily lives during the winter months.

 
 
 
 

Chorten Kora FestivalChorten Kora Festival(February)

The Chorten Kora Festival is set in Trashiyangtse, the easternmost district of Bhutan. To arrive in Trashiyangtse you must drive for two hours from Trashigang following the banks of Dangmechu and Kholungchu rivers. Dakpa Kora is held on the 15th day of the 3rd month corresponding to 28th February and Drukpa Kora (circumbulation by the Bhutanese) is held on the 30th day corresponding to 15th March every year (Check with your tour operator to confirm these dates).

 
 
 
 
 
 

Gomphu Kora FestivalGomphu Kora Festival(March)

Gomphu Kora lies in the heart of the agrarian belt of eastern Bhutan. It is 23 kilometres from Trashigang Dzong, the headquarters of Bhutan’s most populous district, and two kilometers from Duksum, a quaint hamlet consisting of a few shops. Gomphu means “Meditation Cave” and Kora means “Circumambulation”. The name is derived from a cave formed out of a rock-face next to a temple that has been built as a tribute to this sacred site.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Haa Summer FestivalHaa Summer Festival

Set among pristine lakes and high alpine valleys, the Haa summer festival is a lively and uplifting celebration of traditional living-culture, nomadic lifestyles, unique Bhutanese cuisine, traditional sports and religious performances. It provides unparalleled insight into the lives and traditions of Bhutan’s nomadic herders. Immerse yourself in this one of a kind experience by playing the local sports, sampling the delicious home-cooked cuisine and enjoying traditional songs and dances all while imbibing the heady local liquor (Ara).

 
 
 
 

Jambay Lhakhang FestivalJambay Lhakhang Festival

Jambay lhakhang is located in Bumthang and is situated on the way to the Kurjie Lhakhang. It’s a ten minutes drive to the temple from the Chamkhar town. Jambay Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in the kingdom. It was founded by, Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King in the 7th century AD. The king was destined to build 108 temples known as Thadhul- Yangdhul (temples on and across the border) in a day to subdue the demoness that was residing in the Himalayas.

 
 
 
 

Kurjey TshechuKurjey Tshechu

The festival takes place at Kurjey Temple, located at Kurjey in the Chokhor valley in Bumthang district. It is a 15 minute drive from Chamkhar town to arrive at the temple grounds. The Kurjey festival is an important occasion not only for the local people of Bumthang but for all Bhutanese. The festival brings together tourists and Bhutanese from all over as it presents the perfect occasion to not only receive blessings by witnessing age-old mask dances but also to enjoy this unique culture whilst basking in the natural beauty of Bhutan’s spiritual heartland.

 
 
 
 

Lhuntse TshechuLhuntse Tshechu

Lhuenste is one of the easternmost districts in Bhutan and borders the autonomous region of Tibet. As the ancestral home of our Kings it hosts a number of important and sacred monuments. The most important amongst these is Lhuntse Dzong, a majestic fortress that sits upon a high ridge overlooking the Kurichu River.

 
 
 
 

Matsutake FestivalMatsutake Festival

Celebrate the start of another mushroom season alongside the people of Ura. The season brings with it the opportunity to not only to sample some truly delicious meals but to cultivate a deeper insight into the rhythms of Bhutanese village life. 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.

 
 
 
 

Merak TshechuMerak Tshechu

Merak valley is located in eastern Bhutan within the Trashigang Dzongkhag (district). It is a unique valley inhabited by a semi-nomadic people known as the Brokpas. Situated at a height of 3000 meters, the valley remains untouched by the influence of the outside world. The Merak Tshechu is an annual three day event at the Merak Lhakhang and provides the Brokpas with some much needed respite from their daily cattle herding routine.