Top 5 festivals of Bhutan
By Jay Kajaria on Apr 25, 2023 in Asia, Bhutan, Events, Regions, Travel Miscellany
Bhutan is regarded as the sole remainder of the Himalayan Kingdom with deeply rooted culture and tradition. The Kingdom famed for its lush natural beauty, rich culture and historical attractions is the guardian of some of the most sacred and pristine places in the world. When visiting Bhutan, travelers embark on a multifaceted adventure.
As the last Vajrayana Buddhist in the world, travelers can witness an array of festivals of Bhutan that showcases its cultural tapestry and beliefs.
Here are the top 5 festivals of Bhutan that would be a shame to miss.
Thimphu Tshechu Festival
The Thimphu Tshechu is one of the Tshechu festivals dedicated to Padmasambhava, a central figure in the transmission of Buddhism throughout the Himalayas. It is an example prime festivals in Bhutan and is witnessed by thousands during the three days of festivities which take place in the capital city.
Believers regard the Tsechu as a religious festival and their attendances would reward them with merit. As an event with huge religious significance, the festival also functions as an annual social gathering with displays of fine and vibrant garments among locals. Thimphu Tshechu also incorporates Tantric teaching through a religious dance performed by monks.
Paro Tshechu Festival
The annual Paro Tshechu usually takes place in February or March where the blossom trees and magnolias in Bhutan are flowering. Like all Tshechu festivals, it honors the enlightened Guru Rinpoche, also known as Padmasambhava.
Believers from all corners of Bhutan flock to receive blessings from an enormous scroll painting depicting a sacred image of Guru Rinpoche. The festival’s liveliness persists for 5 consecutive days with religious dance, rituals, folk songs and music.
Held annually in Punakha Dzong, the festival commemorates the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche. It is a colourful and exciting affair with an array of exotic masked dance performances performed by monks. More interestingly, when the religious dance turns tedious, a group of atsaras or specialty clowns will lighten up the crowd with their indispensable antics.
Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu Festival
This festival takes place during autumn in Wangdue Phodrang and is observed for three days. It celebrates the completion of Wangdur Phodrang (district) which is now one of the largest in the country. A spectacular event that the festival is known for is the Raksha Mangcham or the dance of the Ox.
Thousands of people gather to witness the district’s biggest cultural festival dressed in their best traditional outfits.
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The Takin Festival provides the golden opportunity for visitors and locals alike to witness the Takin (Budorcas taxicolor), Bhutan’s national animal in their summer grazing grounds. Despite their thriving nature in the kingdom, the species is considered rare and endangered around the world.
Takin Festival takes place in Gaza Dzongkhag within Jigme Dorji National Park which provides travelers with the access to some of the finest trekking adventures of their lifetime. Travelers can also opt to melt their stress away in hot-spring baths, purchase local handicrafts or watch local cultural demonstrations.
Bhutan: An experience of a lifetime
A planned visit to Bhutan by itself is already an escapade to a world that seemingly only exists in myth in the current modernized society. However, when paired with an immersive experience of its distinct cultural and religious festival, the trip will undeniably be like no other.
Jay Kajaria is Founder of Bespoke India Holidays. Bespoke India Holidays is an award-winning company that specialises in creating luxury trips to India and the subcontinent.
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