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
Rhododendrone Festival Thimphu ( Lam Peri) April 20, 2018 April 22, 2018
Ura Yakchoed Ura, Bumthang April 26, 2018 April 29, 2018
Nimalung Tshechu Bumthang June 21, 2018 June 23, 2018
Kurjey Tshechu Bumthang June 23, 2018
Haa Summer Festival Haa July 14, 2018 July 15, 2018
Annual Mushroom Festival Genekha, Thimphu August 15, 2018 August 16, 2018
Masutaki Festival Bumthang August 23, 2018 August 24, 2018
Kurjey Tshechu Bumthang July 3, 2017
Tour of the Dragon Bumthang – Thimphu Sep 01, 2018
Thimphu Dromche Thimphu Sep 15, 2018
Wangdue Tsechu Wangdue Sep 17, 2018 Sep 19, 2018
Thimphu Tshechu Thimphu Sep 19, 2018 Sep 21, 2018
Jakar Tshechu Bumthang Oct 17, 2018 Oct 20, 2018
Royal Highland Festival laya, Gasa Oct 23, 2018 Oct 24, 2018
Jambay Lhakhang Drup Bumthang Oct 24, 2018 Oct 27, 2018
Black necked Crane Festival Phobjikha, Wangdue Nov 11, 2018
Druk Wangyel Tshechu Dochula, Thimphu Dec 13, 2018
Bhutan Birds Festival Zhemgang Dec 15, 2018 Dec 16, 2018
Namji Lhakhang Drup Trongsa Dec 22, 2018
Dagapela Tshechu Dagana Dec 29, 2018 Dec 31, 2018
Name Town Start Date End Date
Punakha Drubchen Punakha Feb 12, 2019 Feb 14, 2019
Punakha Tshechu Punakha Feb 15, 2019 Feb 17, 2019
Gompukora Bumthang Feb 19, 2019
Paro Tshechu Paro March 17, 2019 Mar 21, 2019
Chhorten Kora Trashi Yangtshe April 21, 2019
Rhodrodendrone Festival Lam peri, Thimphu April 19, 2019 April 21, 2019
Ura Yakchoe Bumthang April 16, 2019 April 20, 2019
Nimalung Tshechu Bumthang July 10, 2019 July 11, 2019
Kurjey Tshechu Bumthang July 11, 2019
Haa Summer Festival Haa July 13, 2019 July 14, 2019
Masutaki Festival Ura, Bumthang Aug 23, 2019 Aug 24, 2019
Tour of the Dragon Bumthang – Thimphu Sep 07, 2019
Thimphu Drobchen Thimphu Oct 03, 2019
Wangdue Tshechu Wangdue Oct 05, 2019 Oct 07, 2019
Thimphu Tshechu Thimphu Oct 07, 2019 Oct 09, 2019
Tangbi Mani Bumthang Oct 10, 2019 Oct 13, 2019
Jomolhari Mountain Festival Thimphu Oct 14, 2019 Oct 15, 2019
Black Necked Crane Festival Phobjikha, Wangdue Nov 11, 2019
Druk Wangyel Tshechu Dochula, Thimphu Dec 13, 2019