festivalsAt different times of the year, the annual festivals known as “Tsechus” take place in different locations. These Tsechus are festivals extolling the great deeds of Guru Padmasambhava also known as Guru Rinpoche. Festivals are celebrated for several days averaging between three to five days and are the occasion for dances that are purely defined in religious content. The festivals in Bhutan have a reputation for being raucous, joyous affairs. The most popular for tourists are those held in Thimphu, Paro and Bumthang. They mark the busiest time of the year for the tourism industry. Air seats and hotel rooms are frequently difficult to come by.

The Dzongs come to life with colour, music and dancing as valley dwellers and towns folk dress in their finest clothes and join together to exorcise evil spirits and rejoice in a new harvest. Rare masked and sword dances and other rituals are performed in the Dzong’s courtyard and temples. Tourists are allowed into the Dzongs to watch the spectacle, but not the inner sanctuaries.

Thimphu and Paro festivals are the most popular for tourists as they are the most accessible. There are other regional Dromches and Tsechus around the year, taking place in different localities of the Kingdom, which are equally fascinating. The Tsechu at Bumthang is well known for taking place almost entirely during the evening and containing exciting fire dances. Most of the dances date back from beyond the middle ages and are only performed once or twice each year. Each dance has its own spiritual importance and can be performed by monks or lay village elders dressed in bright costumes. Certain festivals end with the unveiling and worship of huge religious appliqués or Throngdrels. Festival goers believe that simply by viewing this Thangkha, they can be delivered or liberated from the samsaric cycle of reincarnation which is the ultimate aim of all Buddhists.

For the Bhutanese people, religious festivals offer an opportunity to become immersed in the meaning of their religion and gain much merit.

Name Town Start Date End Date
Punakha Drubchen Punakha March 4, 2017 March 6, 2017
Punakha Tshechu Punakha March 7, 2017 March 9, 2017
Tharpaling Thongdrol Trashi Yangtse March 12, 2017
Chhorten Kora Trashi Yangtse April 11, 2017
Gomphukora Trashigang April 4, 2017 April 6, 2017
Paro Tshechu Paro April 7, 2017 April 11, 2017
Nimalung Tshechu Bumthang Julu 1, 2017 July 3, 2017
Kurjey Tshechu Bumthang July 3, 2017
Thimphu Drubchen Thimphu Sep 26, 2017  Sep 29, 2017
Wangdue Tshechu Wangdue Phodrang Sep 28, 2017 Sep 30, 2017
Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Bumthang Sep 29, 2017 Oct 1, 2017
Thimphu Tshechu Thimphu Sep 30, 2017 Oct 2, 2017
Jambay Lhakhang Drup Bumthang Nov 3, 2017 Nov 7, 2017
Prakhar Duchhoed Bumthang Nov 4, 2017 Nov 6, 2017
Pemagatshel Tshechu Pemagatshel Nov 26, 2017 Nov 28, 2017
Mongar Tshechu Mongar Nov 26, 2017 Nov 28, 2017
Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang Nov 27, 2017 Nov 29, 2017
Nalakhar Tshechu Trashigang Dec 3, 2017 Dec 5, 2017
Lhuentse Tshechu Lhuentse Dec 26, 2017 Dec 28, 2017
Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Dec 26, 2017 Dec 28, 2017
Name Town Start Date End Date
Takin Festival Gasa Feb 21, 2015
Nomad Festival Bumthang Feb 22, 2015
Punakha Drubchen Punakha Feb 23, 2015 Feb 27, 2015
Punakha Tshechu Punakha Feb 28, 2015 Mar 02, 2015
Tharpaling Thongdrol Bumthang Mar 05, 2015
Chhorten Kora Trashi Yangtse Mar 05, 2015 Mar 20, 2015
Gomphu Kora Trashigang Mar 27, 2015 Mar 29, 2015
Gasa Tshechu Gasa Mar 27, 2015 Mar 30, 2015
Talo Tshechu Punakha Mar 27, 2015 Mar 29, 2015
Zhemgang Tshechu Zhemgang Mar 27, 2015 Mar 30, 2015
Paro Tshechu Paro Mar 31, 2015 Apr 04, 2015
Rhododendron Festival Thimphu Apr 18, 2015 Apr 20, 2015
Domkhar Tshechu Bumthang Apr 28, 2015 Apr 30, 2015
Ura Yakchoe Bumthang Apr 30, 2015 May 04, 2015
Nimalung Tshechu Bumthang Jun 24, 2015 Jun 26, 2015
Kurjey Tshechu Bumthang Jun 26, 2015
Haa Summer Festival Haa Valley Jul 04, 2015 Jul 05, 2015
Hungla Dance Festival Trashi Yangtse Aug 12, 2015
Masutaki Mushroom Festival Bumthang Aug 22, 2015
Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race) Bumthang Sep 05, 2015
Thimphu Drubchen Thimphu Sep 18, 2015 Sep 22, 2015
Wangdue Tshechu Wangdue Phodrang Sep 21, 2015 Sep 23, 2015
Gangtey Tshechu Gangtey Sep 21, 2015 Sep 23, 2015
Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Bumthang Sep 23, 2015 Sep 25, 2015
Thimphu Tshechu Thimphu Sep 23, 2015 Sep 25, 2015
Jakar Tshechu Bumthang Oct 20, 2015 Oct 23, 2015
Pemagatshel Tshechu Pemagatshel Oct 20, 2015 Oct 23, 2015
Chhukha Tshechu Chukha Oct 20, 2015 Oct 22, 2015
Thangbi Mani Bumthang Oct 27, 2015 Oct 29, 2015
Jambay Lhakhang Drup Bumthang Oct 27, 2015 Oct 30, 2015
Prakhar Duchhoed Bumthang Oct 28, 2015 Oct 30, 2015
Black Necked Crane Festival Gangtey Nov 11, 2015
Mongar Tshechu Mongar Nov 18, 2015 Nov 21, 2015
Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang Nov 19, 2015 Nov 22, 2015
Nalakhar Tshechu Bumthang Nov 25, 2015 Nov 27, 2015
Jambay Lakhang Singye Cham Bumthang Nov 25, 2015
Druk Wangyel Tshechu Thimphu Dec 13, 2015
Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Dec 20, 2015 Dec 22, 2015
Lhuentse Tshechu Lhuentse Dec 20, 2015 Dec 22, 2015
Nabji Lhakhang Drup Trongsa Dec 25, 2015 Dec 27, 2015

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