Bhutan Events


FESTIVALS OF BHUTAN

PUNAKHA DRUBCHEN        

Punakha A brief history on the construction of Punakha Dzong is showcased to the general public. The internal conflict and external invasion during the construction of the fortress by the Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1637, and sacred mask dances and folk dances are performed by the Central Monastic Body, as well as the public of Punakha district. The drubchen is organised by the Culture Section under the Dzongkhag Administration of Punakha.

12 – 14 February

Venue: Punakha Dzong

Punakha Tsechu

The Tsechu is one of the most interesting and beautiful festivals in Bhutan showcasing the defeat of Tibetan invasions in the 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The defending the Punakha Dzong is enacted by the Chief Abbot of Bhutan on the first day. Thongdrel (unfurling of large scroll painting) depicting the painting of Guru Rinpoche is the main attraction on last day of the festival.

Festival date: 15 – 17 February

Venue: Punakha Dzong

Paro Tsechu

Paro Tsechu is a famous festival in the country where people come all around the country to witness. This is a chance even for tourists to have a glance when in Paro. The mask dances would be held inside the Dzong on first day and the then outside from next day onwards.

Date: 17th March – 21st March

Venue: Dzong

BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS MAJESTY JIGME KHESAR NAMGYEL WANGCHUCK

His Majesty the 5th King of Bhutan was born on 21st February, 1980 and to mark this important day, people in every Dzongkhag observes the day with various cultural programs.

21 – 23 February

Venue: Changlimithang Ground, Thimphu

PELDEN LHAMOI DRUPCHEN

The Pelden Lhamoi Drupchen is a festival dedicated to the dominant female protective deity of Bhutan, Pelden Lhamo (Mahakali). The festival was first introduced in Thimphu Dzong in 1710 by Kuenga Gyeltshen, who is recognised as the reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, son of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel.  According to legend, Pelden Lhamo appeared in Kuenga Gyeltshen’s dream and showed him some tantric teachings through dances. In 1988, the festival was introduced in Trongsa Dzong by His Majesty the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the 68th Je Khenpo His Holiness Tenzin Dendup. Different dances are performed during the festival, including a Nangcham (secret performance) that is performed exclusively in the shrine with dancers circumabulating the mandala. Other dances are showcased to the public.

10 – 12 February

Venue: Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa

TRASHIYANGTSE ANNUAL TSHECHU

Tokaphu Lhakhang Annual Tshechu in Tongzhang, Trashiyangtse is happening this September. Various mask dances and local cultural programs will be displayed to the public.

13 – 15 September

Venue: Tokaphu Lhakhang, Tongzhang, Trashiyangtse

PHURBA DUBCHEN                                                         

This festival is observed in Trashiyangtse, located in the far eastern part of Bhutan. “Drubchen” means “great accomplishment” in Tibetan and is one of the most elaborate forms of Vajrayana Buddhist practice. Apart from watching the mask dances and cultural programmes, sincere participation in a drubchen is said to generate merit and potential realisation equal to one year of retreat.

12 – 19 February

Venue: Doedel Pemacholing Lhakhang, Ramjar, Trashiyangtse

LICHIBI TSHECHU

During this festival, mask dances are performed and prayers recited during the day, while cultural dances and songs are performed towards the evening.

15 February

Venue: Li Chi Bi, Goshing, Zhemgang

NAKTSHANG TSHECHU

Naktshang is believed to be the seat of Guru Chowang.  A five-day festival is celebrated in Naktshang, where local mask dancers perform.

15 – 18 February

Venue: Nyalamdung  Naktshang, Khoma, Lhuentse

LHAMOIZINGKHA TSHECHU

The three-day Drungkhag Tshechu is conducted at the border area of Lhamoizingkha.

16 – 18 February

Venue: Lhamoizingkha, Drungkhag Administration

NGANGLAM TSHECHU

Nganglam Tshechu  is held in Nganglam Lhakhang in Zobel, Pemagatshel. Several sacred mask dances are displayed to the public. The local folk dances are also showcased to the public.

17 – 19 February

Venue: Nganglam Lhakhang, Zobel, Pemagatshel

TANGSIBI MANI

Tangsibi Mani is a religious ritual celebrated in Ura Gewog under Bumthang Dzongkhag.  The Chams/ dances include all the Terchams composed by the great saint Terton Pema Lingpa and other dances as well.

18 – 22 February

Venue: Tangsibi Lhakhang, Ura, Bumthang

THARPALING THONGDREL

Tharpaling Thongdrel is a one-day festival and is mainly a display of a giant thangka or Thongdrel (applique silk work with Buddhist images) of Jowo Jampa and Kuenkhen Longchen Rabjam, and is preceeded by prayers and. No Chams (dances) are performed during the entire festival.

19 February

Venue: Tharpaling Lhakhang, Chumey, Bumthang

CHENGA KORA

This festival is very popular in Bhutan. It is held at Chorten Kora in Trashiyangtse. It is also known as the Tse-Chenga Kora, and is a celebration on the 15th day of the first month of the Bhutanese calendar. This festival is so significant that the devotees from Tawang in the Indian state of Arunachal Pradesh join the local Bhutanese in this grand event.

19 February

Venue: Chorten Kora, Trashiyangtse

BIRD FESTIVAL

Different artwork and local foods of all eight Gewogs within Zhemgang will be showcased. For nature lovers or bird photography enthusiasts, birding and photography tours are also organized, so that you can catch a glimpse of the vast varieties of bird species within Bhutan.

19 – 21 February

Venue: Berti/Trong Gewog, Zhemgang

GOMKORA TSHECHU

Gomphu Kora lies in the heart of the agrarian belt of eastern Bhutan. It is 23km from Trashigang Dzong, the headquarters of Bhutan’s most populous district in the eastern Bhutan. 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. The biggest attraction of Gomphu Kora is the circumambulation. “Go around Gomphu Kora today for tomorrow may be too late”, advises a local song that entices devotees to visit Gomphu Kora. The place comes alive once every year when people all over eastern Bhutan descend upon the narrow valley, dressed in their finery, to partake in the festivity, to worship and to reaffirm their connection with the past. The sanctity of the three-day religious festival even draws the Dakpa tribe from neighboring Arunachael Pradesh (India). They endure days of travel on foot through rugged environs with entire families in tow.

14 – 16 March

Venue: Gomphu Kora, Trashiyangtse

ZHURI DUECHOED

Zhuri Duechoed is observed in Zhuri Lhakhang in Chumey, Bumthang. Bumthang is considered as country’s most sacred place being blessed by numerous great saints in olden days.

1 – 2 March

Venue: Zhuri Lhakhang, Chumey, Bumthang

GAYDEN CHOEDPA

This festival takes place in the sacred Gayden Lhakhang in Ura, Bumthang. It is a small festival for the temple.

4 – 6 March

Venue: Gayden Lhakhang, Ura, Bumthang

NAMGANG KORA

Namgang Kora is one of oldest religious festivals of eastern Bhutan, which is held annually at the Chorten Kora, Trashiyangtse. This festival involves circumambulating the famous Chorten Kora on the last day of the auspicious first month of the Bhutanese calendar. It is preceded by Chenga Kora. Local devotees and devotees from Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh state of India, come together annually during this festival.

6 March

Venue: Chorten Kora, Trashiyangtse

GASA TSHECHU

The Gasa Tshechu is the biggest festival in the small district of Gasa in northwest Bhutan, which is home to highlander communities. Many mask dances are performed and the local folk dances are very unique and distinct, adding to the festive mood of the celebration.

13 – 16 March

Venue: Gasa Dzong, Gasa

ZHEMGANG TSHECHU

Different mask dances are performed for three days with the unfurling of a huge Thongdrel (large tapestry) of Guru Rinpoche on the fourth day.

13 – 16 March

Venue: Zhemgang Dzong, Zhemgang

TSIRANG TSHECHU

The annual tshechu is the biggest festival in the southern town of Tsirang. The festival attracts people from all over the region. Several different kinds of mask dances are performed. Local and traditional dances and music add colour to the festive mood. The Thongdrel (large tapestry) of Guru Rimpoche is unfurled on the last day of the tshechu.

14 – 16 March

Venue: Ragbey Dratshang, Tsirang

PREWCHOED

No mask dances are performed and the public is offered only with potatoes during this event.

16 March

Venue: Buli, Zhemgang

DZONGDRA TSHECHU

It is believed that the Paro Tshechu Chhenmo started from Dzongdrakha and ends at Dzongdrakha.

16 – 22 March

Venue: Dzongdrakha Lhakhang, Luni, Paro

PARO TSHECHU CHHENMO

Paro Tshechu is one of the biggest festivals in the country and is held over five days. On the first day, all mask dances are held inside the courtyard of the dzong. On the subsequent days, the festival will then be held at the courtyard outside the dzong. A Thongdrel (large tapestry) will be unfurled on the last day of the festival.

17 – 21 March

Venue: Ringpung Deyangkha, Paro

PANTANG TSHECHU

The mask dances are similar to Pe-ling Cham of the Gangtey Goenpa and are performed for three days.

19 March

Venue: Dzongdrakha Lhakhang, Luni, Paro

BHUTAN SPORTS FESTIVAL

Bhutan Sports Festival is an international trail running and mountain biking event, scheduled for the first Saturday of every April, with the inaugural year being 2019 (April 6th) at Phobjikha, Gangtey. The proposed two tiers of the ultra-race comprises of a full race with a distance of 50km and a half-race of 25km, run and bike event.

6 April

Venue: Phobjikha, Gantey, Wangdue

DUNGKHAR TSHECHU

The three–day festival showcases sacred dances such as the Black Hat Dance, the three Ging, and the drummers of Drametse. A small Thongdrel ((large tapestry), representing the future Buddha Maitreya (Jampa), is unfurled for the public to receive blessings and it is the highlight of the festival. A distinction of Dungkhar Tshechu is that people are given the blessings of the lake. During this festival, the local deity of Khar village, Nalu Thoepa, is propitiated and offerings are made to him. It is believed that the local deity would not protect the community if he is not given his due reverence and those natural calamities like heavy rainfall and storms would bring havoc to the community.

13 – 15 April

Venue: Dungkhar Lhakhang, Khar, Pemagatshel

RAWABI TSHECHU

Rawabi Tshechu is celebrated with mask dance performances, with a display of Guru Tshengay on the last day.

13 – 15 April

Venue: Rawabi Goenpa, Maenbi, Lhuentse

DOLAY DRUPCHEN

This festival is held every year. Monks from Nephu Monastery participate in the festival as mask dance performers.

14 April

Venue: Neyphu Goenpa, Shaba, Paro

URA YAKCHOED

Ura Lhakhang is situated in the middle of Ura village in Bumthang, and the temple is about the size of the National Library at Kawajangsa, Thimphu. It was built in the 1980s. Inside the temple is a huge statue of Guru Rinpoche and beautiful paintings. The main statue in the temple is that of Guru Nangsay Zilnoen. Highlight of the event is invoking and escorting of the deity Yidam Chhana Dorjee from Gaythen to Ura.

16 – 20 April

Venue: Ura Lhakhang, Bumthang

DOMKHAR TSHECHU

Domkhar Lhakhang was built by Serkhong Truelku during the 18th century and it is said that the Lhakhang is the residence for the Trulku. Domkhar Tshechu is a three-day festival, which includes Chams and dances that are performed by the local people of Domkhar village. The Chams include mainly the Peling Chams (composition of Terton Pema Lingpa). The Lhakhang would display large Thongdrel (large tapestries) to bless the people of Domkhar village on the last day of the festival.

14 – 16 April

Venue: Domkhar Lhakhang, Chumey, Bumthang

RHODODENDRON FESTIVAL

The festival celebrates the rhododendron flower, which blossoms abundantly in Bhutan. It features the rhododendron garden walk and exhibition, local culture and cuisines, arts and crafts, traditional games, cultural programmes, guided walks and activities. The festival displays different species that are in full bloom in their natural habitat.

19 – 21 April

Venue: Lamperi Botanical Garden, Dochula, Thimphu

DUMATI TSHECHU

People gather to witness different types of mask dances and cultural items. It is also a time for people to come together to meet each other.

29 April

Venue: Dumati, Lichibi, Zhemgang

PREW KHOWCHUNG

Khowchung in Gangzur, Lhuentse is the residence of the famous Terton (treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa. The stone bathtub and a footprint of the horse that used to belong to him can still be found here. The festival held here at Khowchung is when the public can receive blessings from relics.

12 June

Venue: Gangzur, Lhuentse

PREW

Prew is celebrated yearly to offer prayers to Guru Rinpoche to protect from any misfortune and to have bountiful production in the year. Some say Prew is to observe the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche.

12 – 14 June | Venue: Jasabi, Kurtoe, Lhuentse

ZOBEL TSHECHU

Zobel Gewog under Pemagatshel Dzongkhag is known for its many sacred religious monuments: it has about 13 temples and 50 chortens.  The popular Zobel Tshechu is held in the Zobel Lhakhang in Zobel Gewog under Pemagatshel Dzongkhag.

15 – 17 June

Venue: Zobel Lhakhang, Zobel, Pemagatshel

BONCHOED

People from the community offer offerings (Tshog) to the god and pray for wellbeing and happiness for another year. Religious dances and local folk songs are also performed during the event.

16 June

Venue: Trong/Dangkhar, Zhemgang

THE HAA SUMMER FESTIVAL

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. It showcases a lively traditional living culture, nomadic lifestyles, and demonstration of local cuisines, brewing of local Ara, traditional sports, religious performances, dances, songs, artifacts and natural alpine flowers. Tourists can also experience the night at one of the many village home stays and enjoy the hospitality of the local people of Haa Valley.

2nd weekend of July

Venue: Dzongkhag Ground, Upper market, Haa 

DECHENLING TSHECHU

This festival is held in the Lhakhang of Dechenling Gewog under Pemagatshel Dzongkhag. Mask dances, along with different varieties of cultural items, make up the main highlights and entertainment of the festival. There is another Dechenling Tshechu taking place in Decemeber, so if you miss this one, it’s still possible to attend it later in the year.

10 – 12 July

Venue: Dechenling Lhakhang, Dechenling, Pemagatshel 

DER-CHOED

Different types of mask dances are performed on this day to entertain and bless the locals.

9 – 11 July

Venue: Bjoka Trong, Zhemgang

TENDRA TSHECHU

The Geokar Teldha Tshechu is held in Geokar Lhakhang in Yalang, Trashiyangtse.

11 July

Venue: Geokar Lhakhang, Yalang, Trashiyangtse 

NIMALUNG TSHECHU

Nimalung Tshechu is a three-day festival. It starts with the usual Chams and dances performed in other Dzongkhags but on the final day, people are blessed with the display of Guru Tshengye Thongdrel (large tapestry) in the morning. On the final day of the festival, the Guru Tshengye cham and Drametse Nga cham are performed by the monks of Nimalung Dratshang.

10 – 12 July

Venue: Nimalung Dratshang, Bumthang 

KHAMDANG TENDRA TSHECH

The annual tshechu is performed on the 10th day of the second month as per the Bhutanese calendar which is considered a female month for the year.

11 July

Venue: Shaksinggoenpa, Khamdang,   Trashiyangtse 

KURJEY TSHECHU

Kurjey Tshechu is celebrated in the popular Kurjey Lakhang in Bumthang. People of Jakar and Kurjey villages attend the tshechu to pay obeisance to Guru Rinpoche who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. It is a one-day festival and the Chams/dances include the Guru Tshengye and Shinjay cham performed by the monks of Kurjey Lhakhang.  The festival closes with the unfurling of a giant Buddha/Guru thangka painting known as Thongdrel. The festival is fully supported and funded by the government of Bhutan.

11 July

Venue: Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 

HA FESTIVAL

Ha festival is part of the Bon tradition, which has unique and special chAracteristics. All villages under Jarey Gewog take part in the Ha festival.

11 – 15 July

Venue: All Chiwogs in Jarey, Ha

KHANGMA TSHECHU

Khangma Tshechu takes place in Khangma Lhakhang in Yurung, Pemagatshel. Various mask dances and traditional cultural programmes are performed during the festival.

11 – 13 July

Venue: Khangma Lhakhang, Yurung, Pemagatshel

DUNGSINGMA TSHECHU

Dungsingma Tshechu is a festival held in Dungsingma village in Yurung, Pemagatshel. People gather during the festival to witness mask dances and receive blessings.

11 July

Venue: Dungsingma, Yurung, Pemagatshel

HUNGLA CHOKHOR

Hungla Chokhor festival takes place in Tokaphu Lhakhang in Tongzhang, Trashiyangtse.

28 – 30 August

Venue: Tokaphu Lhakhang, Tongzhang, Trashiyangtse

LHAMOI DOEY-PHANG

Lhamoi Doey-Phang is performed annually by the Ringpung Rabdey monks as rituals to their local deity and protector.

29 August

Venue: Ringpung Dzong, Paro

TOUR OF THE DRAGON (Mountain Bike Race)

Tour of the Dragon is not a road bike race or a classic mountain bike race, nor is it a gravel grinder, because it doesn’t fit into any of the categories defined by the UCI. Since the distance of the race is 200+ km, we would categorise it as an ultra-mArathon mountain bike race on roads that happen to be extremely challenging. Tour of the Dragon starts in Bumthang and travels 268km over four mountain passes before finishing in Thimphu. It’s one of the toughest one-day mountain bike races in the world.

7 September

Venue: Bumthang to Thimphu

MATSUTAKE MUSHROOM FESTIVAL

During the festival, the native mushroom and other local products, mushroom hunting, and cultural programmes by the school and local community will be showcased. The objective of the festival is to create awareness on the sustainable harvesting of the local mushroom and enjoy the organic natural flavors of nature.

3 – 4 September

Venue: Genekha, Thimphu

A-HOI BONCHOED

This is an ancient Bon tradition, which is observed to appease the god, in order to ensure good health and wealth in the coming year.

2 September

Venue: Bjoka Trong, Zhemgang

DONGDORLA DUECHOED

This is a popular festival observed in Bjoka Gewog in Zhemgang.

5 – 8 September

Venue: Bjoka Trong, Zhemgang

KESIBI CHAA

The main event of the festival is the mask dance and offerings.

16 – 18 September

Venue: Kesibi Lhakhang, Maenbi, Lhuentse

TAKILA CHHAM

Takila is one of the most sacred historical and religious places in Lhuentse. Many important festivals of nearby communities take place at Takila. This is where the country’s largest statue of Guru Rimpoche is located. The popular festival of Kurtoe region called “Chha” also takes place here.

11 – 13 September

Venue: Takila Lhakhang, Lhuentse

CHUKOR 

Chukor festival is most popular in eastern Dzongkhags. Trashiyangtse, which is located in the far-eastern part of Bhutan, is particularly famous for this festival. Visitors will have a nice time attending this festival and interacting with the local people of Trashiyangtse.

27 – 29 September

Venue: Shaksinggoenpa, Khamdang, Trashiyangtse

CHHA FESTIVAL

Chha is celebrated every year by the people of Phagidoong, Tagmochhu, Kamdhar, Kusumphel, Khaashaling and Takila for four days. Chha is an offering made to the local deities and originated from the bonism religion. During the festival, people from the six villages gather to make offerings to local deities such as Wokhor Zhelngo, Kharshong Zhelngo, Chhami, Gyem and Lham.

30 Sept – 02 October

Venue: Kurtoe, Lhuentse

CHHA

Chha is celebrated to welcome Byul Lha and to protect any misfortune from happening in the year.

30 Sept – 02 October

Venue: Kurtoe, Lhuentse

THIMPHU DROMCHOE

Thimphu Dromchoe proceeds the popular three-day Thimphu Tshechu. The Dromchoe showcases the sacred dances dedicated to the protecting deity of Bhutan, Palden Lhamo.

4 October

Venue: Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu

BUM TASHI FESTIVAL

The Bum Tashi Festival of Gasa has been named after the region’s protecting deity Tashi Thongoen. It basically involves making offerings and prayers to this protecting deity.

5 October

Venue: Gasa Dzong, Gasa 

DROMCHE

Sacred mask dances are performed during the Dromche. During this one-day event, all regional offices, private sectors, and government institutions are closed for the public to witness the dromche.

5 October

Venue: Rinpung Dzong, Paro

WANGDUE TSHECHU

The festival is held in Wangduephodrang and is observed for three days in the autumn season. The tshechu is well known for the Raksha Mangcham or the Dance of the Ox. Many different kinds of mask dances are performed during the festival. It concludes with the unfurling of the Guru Tshengye Thongdrel (large tapestry).

6 – 8 October

Venue: Tencholing Army Ground, Wangduephodrang

KOTHAKPA TSHECHU

Kothakpa Tshechu takes place in Shumar, Khothakpa, in Pemagatshel. This is where the country’s largest gypsum mine is located.

6 – 8 October

Venue: Shumar/Kothakpa, Pemagatshel

GOENPUNG TSHECHU

This festival is observed in Shumar, Goenpung under Pemagatshel Dzongkhag.

6 – 8 October

Venue: Shumar/Goenpun, Pemagatshel 

TERCHEN DRUPCHEN

The annual Terchen Drupchen is performed under the patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck.

6 – 18 October

Venue: Kichu Lhakhang, Paro

GELING GOENPA TSHECHU 

It was said that during the olden days, the tshechu was performed to subdue the demons obstructing the construction of the Goempa. All the Chams/dances are the usual ones performed in other Dzongkhags and the festival is celebrated annually.

7 – 8 October

Venue: Geyling Goenpa, Chhukha

SHAKSING GOENPA TSHECHU

Shakshing goenpa is located in Khamdang, Trashityangtse. You will also go through this monastery if you happen to trek to the popular Omba Ney, which is dubbed as the Taktshang of the East.

7 – 9 October

Venue: Shaksinggoenpa, Khamdang, Trashiyangtse

DORJITSE KUCHOED

Dorjitse Kuchoed takes place in Dorji Goenpa in Tang, Bumthang.

7 – 10 October

Venue: Dorji  Gompa, Tang, Bumthang

JANGCHUBLING WANG

This occasion marks the discovery of a treasure or Terton, Tsepamey (Buddha Amitayus) and has been held every year since. During this event, one can see relics, such as the nabza (dress), leather boots and cap from the 16th Karmapa, a cup and rosary of the former Situ Rinpoche, among others. One can also see the lama Ngawang Samten’s holy water.

8 October

Venue: Gangzur, Lhuentse

THIMPHU TSHECHU

One of the biggest festivals in the country is the Thimphu Tshechu. This festival is held in the capital city for three days. The Tshechu is witnessed by thousands of people, both local and tourists. The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods. Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) and many more are performed.

8 – 10 October

Venue: Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu

TAMSHING PHALA CHOEDPA

The festival of Tamzhing Lhakhang is held for three days. People from different parts of Bumthang and also from other parts of Bhutan gather to witness the dances of Terton (treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa (Peling Sung Cham), which are performed by the monks of Tamzhing Monastery. The Chams (dances) include the Phagchham (pig dance), which is performed on the first night and was composed by the great saint Mewang. The festival is concluded by Pholay Molay cham.

8 – 10 October

Venue: Tamshing Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang

HAA TSHECHU

The Haa Tshechu was introduced in 1990 and performed at the Lhakhang Karpo. The annual Haa Tshechu, which is held to honour Guru Rinpoche, is the biggest festival in the district and attracts people from all over western Bhutan. The three-day Haa Tshechu concludes with the unfurling of the Guru Thongdrel (large tapestry) on the last day.

10 October

Venue: Lhakhang karpo, Haa

DUNGSINGMA TSHECHU

Dungsingma Tshechu is observed in Dungsingma village in Yurung Gewog under Pemagatshel Dzongkhag. Different mask dances and traditional folk dances are showcased to the public.

11 – 13 October

Venue: Dungsingma, Yurung, Pemagatshel

DANKALA MANI (MANTRA) TSHECHU

Dankala Mani Tshechu is performed every year with Shingjay Yabyum Cham and followed by the display of some culture items.

13 October

Venue: Dankala Lhakhang, Shaba, Paro

KHOMSHAR KHARPHU

People gather to offer cash and kind or wine to their bon priest to receive blessings. It is believed that the Bonpo presides over the event.

13 October

Venue: Khomshar, Zhemgang

NANGKOR TSHECHU

This festival takes place in Shumar, Pemagatshel. The people from nearby communities gather to witness mask dances and enjoy the festival.

11 – 13 October

Venue: Shumar, Pemagatshel 

THANGBI MEWA

The four-day festival is a display of the rich tradition and celebrates the cultural heritage of the ancient Thangbi Lhakhang. The main highlight of the festival is the Mewang ceremony. Mewang ceremony (Fire Blessing) is performed in an open ground. The Gomchens performs purification rituals, while all the people and guests jump over the flames to get themselves purified from their sins and evil deeds. It is believed that if one is able to jump over the flame three times, he or she is protected from ill luck and misfortunes are removed for that entire year. That is why people from all walks of life attempt to jump across the flame three times to be blessed for the whole year. Then, mask dances and folk dances are performed as scheduled in the enclosed courtyard of the temple.

11 – 14 October

Venue: Thangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, Bumthang

KADAM TSHECHU

Kadam Tshechu takes place in Kadam Lhakhang in Khar Gewog of Pemagatshel.

12 – 14 October

Venue: Kadam Lhakhang, Khar, Pemagatshel

PHUENTSHOLING TSHECHU 

The three-day tshechu is performed at Pelden Tashichoelling Shedra, Phuentsholing. Badza Guru Dungdup recitation is one of the major events apart from the mask dance performances.

13 October

Venue: Pelden Tashichoelling Shedra, Phuentsholing

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 is 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.

14 – 15 October

Venue: Jangothang, Upper Paro

LAYA AULAY

The Laya Aulay, also spelled as Laya Aulay, is held in Laya Gewog of Gasa. Visitors can join this festival and experience the lifestyle of the country’s highland community.

15 – 16 October

Venue: Laya, Gasa  

ROYAL HIGHLANDER FESTIVAL

The Royal Highlander Festival will be organized in Laya this October. Driven by the underlying goal of making the highlands a vibrant and thriving economy, the festival aims to promote the sustainable livelihood of highlanders, showcase highlander’s innovation, and exhibit the highlands as a pride of Bhutan. The festival brings together highlanders from other parts of Bhutan to exchange values, knowledge, skills, and best practices related to highlands and yak farming. The festival is a landmark activity of Gasa Dzongkhag’s “Good to Great Gasa”, a vision inspired by His Majesty’s passion to make our country great.

23 – 24 October

Venue: Laya, Gasa

BIRTH ANNIVERSARY OF HIS MAJESTY JIGME SINGYE WANGCHUCK

His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck the 4th King of Bhutan was born on 11th November, 1955. To mark this occasion every Dzongkhag in Bhutan will observe the day with various cultural programmes and events participated in by people from all walks of life.

11 November

Venue: Changlimithang Ground, Thimphu

BHO-YAK

Bho-Yak is also popularly celebrated as ‘Ap Chundu’s’ birthday. The festival begins at Lhakhang Karpo, the residence of the local deity.  As early as 2.30am, the monastic body recites prayers to appease Ap Chundu until 5.30am. After that, Ap Chundu’s ride, a well-decorated horse, is brought to the Lhakhang from the new dzong area and a cleansing ceremony is performed. Led in a traditional ‘Chipdrel’ procession with sounds of drums, bells and singing of melodious traditional songs of praises and wellwishes for all sentient beings, Ap Chundu is then ushered to Janka-kha, the place where the actual event for the day is held. As the Chipdrel proceeds, it is compulsory that they stop at the old Haa dzong for the marchang ceremony.  Stopping at around six different places on the way for traditional ‘Marchang Ceremony’ (wine-offering ceremony), the procession takes around four hours and covers around 10km, making it the longest Chipdrel processions in the country. The procession is then greeted by a cheerful crowd dressed in their best colourful attire at Jankakha.

3 November

Venue: Janka-kha, Upper valley, Haa

SHINGKHAR RABNEY        

The Shingkhar Rabney is held at the historic temple, Shingkhar Dechenling Lhakhang, in Ura valley in Bumthang. Several mask dances are performed during the festival. The highlight of the festival is the role of an old man, locally called Chath Dorji, who wears a brown wrinkled mask and blesses women with a wooden phallus.

2 – 6 November

Venue: Shingkhar Lhakhang, Ura, Bumthang

JAKAR TSHECHU 

The Jakar Dzong or “the Dzong of the White Bird” is perched on the hillock overlooking Chamkhar town and places surrounding it. The interesting thing about the Dzong is that there is a water tower four stairs down behind the Dzong, leading to a water reservoir used for drawing water during battle times in olden days. The three-day festival displays several sacred mask dances. The festival also hosts different types of folk songs and dances. People visit the festival dressed in their finest clothes and the festival is also popular among tourists.

3 – 7 November

Venue: Jakar Dzong, Bumthang

UGYENCHOLING KANGSEL

Ugyencholing Kangsel is held in Ugyencholing Dzong in Tang Gewog under Bumthang Dzongkhag. The popular Ugyencholing Dzong has played a vital role as a religious centre in the history of Bhutan. Today, it houses one of the most interesting museums of the country. It is a must-visit site for tourists.

4 – 6 November

Venue: Ugyencholing Dzong, Tang, Bumthang

CHHUKHA TSHECHU

The tshechu is performed annually as an offering to Guru Rinpoche. Different mask dances are performed during the festival, as well as traditional folk songs and dances. The highlight of the festival is the unfurling of the Thongdrel (large tapestry) of Guru Rinpoche.

4 – 6 November

Venue: Chhukha Ngedrubtse Dzong, Chhukha  

LANYIRI TSHECHU

The Lanyiri Tshechu takes place in Lanyiri Lhakhang in Dungmin, Pemagatshel.  People gather to witness mask dances and cultural programs.

4 – 6 November

Venue: Lanyiri Lhakhang, Dungmin, Pemagatshel

TSHEBAR TSHECHU 

Tshebar Tshechu is held in the Tshebar Lhakhang in Khar under Pemagatshel Dzongkhag. Different mask dances and cultural programmes are performed during the festival.

5 – 7 November

Venue: Tshebar Lhakhang, Khar, Pemagatshel

GOENKAR TSHECHU

This three-day festival is celebrated annually. Lama Choni Rangdol is the founder of this place. Local lay monks perform the dances.

6 – 8 November

Venue: Goenkar, Khoma, Lhuentse

PEMAGATSHEL TSHECHU

People from all over the district come to the district Dzong where the festival is held and all public offices remain closed for three days when the festival is in process. Different kinds of mask dances are performed together with many traditional and classical dances.

10 – 12 November

Venue: Pemagatshel Dzong, Pemagatshel

DUNGMED TSHECHU

Dungmed Tshechu takes place in Dungmed Lhakhang in Dungmin, Pemagatshel. Local people gather at the Lhakhang to enjoy the festival.

10 – 12 November

Venue: Dungmed Lhakhang, Dungmin, Pemagatshel

BLACK-NECKED CRANE FESTIVAL

The annual Black-Necked Crane festival is celebrated at the courtyard of Gangtey Goenpa in Phobjikha valley. The festival is an occasion for the locals to rejoice and celebrate the arrival of this vulnerable and majestic bird that has become an insepArable part in their daily lives during the winter months. The annual black-necked crane festival is organized to generate awareness and understanding on the importance of conserving the birds. The festival includes cultural programmes, such as folk songs and dances (some with black-necked crane themes), mask dances performed by the local people, crane dances and environmental conservation-themed dramas and songs by school children.

11 November

Venue: Gangtey Goenpa, Phobjikha, Wangdue Phodrang

TSHEPAMI THRONGDREL

The Tshepamey- Throngdrel (Life Long Throngdrel) is unfurled every year to the public.

12 November

Venue: Ringpung Deyangkha, Paro

BARDO KHARPHU

People gather to offer cash and kind or wine to their bon priest to receive blessings. It is believed that the Bonpo presides over the event.

12 November

Venue: Bardo, Zhemgang

JAMBAY LHAKANG DRUP

The 7th century Tibetan king Songsten Gampo is said to have built 108 temples in one day and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang is believed to be one of them. The Jambay Lhakhang Drup is one of the most interesting events held there. During this festival, the Chams (dances) include Terchham (Naked Dance), which was formerly initiated by Terton Dorje Lingpa, Mewang, Macham, Ging Tsholing, Dramtse Ngacham, Zhana Cham etc,. The dances are performed by the local villagers of Norgang, Changwa and Nangsiphel. The festival is a five-day programme

12 – 15 November

Venue: Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang

PRAKAR DUECHOED

Prakhar Tshechu is performed in Prakhar Lhakhang ever year. It is a three-day festival and the Chams (dances) performed during the tshechu are the usual Chams performed in other Dzongkhags. On the third night of the tshechu, the people are given the opportunity to get blessings from Thuktshe Dawa.

13 – 15 November

Venue: Prakar Lhakhang, Bumthang

PANBANG TSHECHU

Different mask dances are performed with the unfurling of a huge Thongdrel (large tapestry) of Guru Rinpoche.

17 – 19 November

Venue: Sonamthang Dratshang, Zhemgang

SERZHONG TSHECHU

Serzhong Tshechu is an annual event where mask dances are performed by the monks. It is a one-day tshechu that coincides with the Descending Day of Lord Buddha. The Guru Tsengye Thongdrel (large tapestry) is also displayed to the public for blessings. About 10 relics from the Lhakhang are also displayed.

19 November

Venue: Do-Ngag Kuenzangcholing Lhakhang, Serzhong, Sarpang

SUMTHRANG KANGSEL

This annual festival is held at the 13th century monastery of Sumthrang Lhakhang in Ura valley in Bumthang. This festival was initiated by the founder of the monastery, Nyoton Trulzhig Chojey, a great yogi and one of the sons of Nyo Gyelwa Lhanangpa, the founder of Sumthrang monastic establishment. The Sumthrang Taacham (horse dance) is one of main mask dances performed during the festival.

22 – 26 November

Venue: Sumthrang Lhakhang, Ura, Bumthang

KHOMSHAR KATAG

People gather to offer cash and kind to the Bonpo to receive blessings in return. People dances and sing to celebrate the day.

25 November

Venue: Khomshar, Zhemgang

YESHEY GOENPOI DRUPCHEN/ FESTIVAL OF MAHAKALA

This festival is dedicated to the dominant male protective deity of Bhutan, Yeshey Goenpo (Mahakala). It was first introduced by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in the 17th century in Punakha Dzong to commemorate the victory over Tibetan invasions. In 1988, Yeshey Goenpi Drupchen was introduced in Trongsa Dzong by His Majesty the 4th King and the 68th Je Khenpo His Holiness Tenzin Dendup.

1 – 3 December

Venue: Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa

DRUK WANGYEL TSHECHU

The Druk Wangyel Tshechu is a unique festival performed by the Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or lay people. It is a tribute to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country. This one-of-a-kind tshechu is performed at the festival round near Dochula Pass, against the backdrop of the magnificent Jigme Singye Wangchuck mountain range.

13 December

Venue: Dochula,Thimphu

TRASHIGANG TSHECHU

The annual Trashigang Tshechu is one of the biggest festivals in eastern Bhutan. People from all over eastern Bhutan come to the festival. The nomadic community of Merak and Sakteng, called the Brokpas, stand out from the crowd with their unique dress and appeArance. Different sacred mask dances are performed during the festival, as well as other traditional folk songs and dances. The highlight of the festival is the unfurling of the Thongdrel (large tapestry) of Guru Tshengyed (eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche). Another Thongdrel of Neten Chudrug (Sixteen Arhats) is also unfurled for the public.

3 – 5 December

Venue: Trashigang Dzong, Trashigang

MONGGAR TSHECHU  

People from all over the region as far as Trashigang and Lhuentse come to attend the festival. A lot of unique dances indigenous to the region are also performed.

3 – 6 December

Venue: Monggar Dzong, Monggar

DECHENLING TSHECHU

This is the second Dechenling Tshechu taking place in Dechenling Lhakhang in Pemagatshel.  Mask dances, along with different varieties of cultural items, make up the main highlights and entertainment of the festival. If you have missed the similar festival in July, you can still attend it this time round.

4 – 6 December

Venue: Dechenling Lhakhang, Dechenling, Pemagatshel

MENCHU PEMAPHUENDEY

This festival is held in Norbugang Gewog, Pemagatshel. Norbugang Gewog is a part of Nganglam Dungkhag and it has its own festival to celebrate.

4 – 6 December

Venue: Norbugang, Pemagatshel

THRICHU GOENPA TSHECHU

Thrichugoenpa Tshechu is a festival that takes place in the sacred Thrichu goenpa in Tongzhang, Trashiyangtse. Tongzhang is located on the Trashigang-Trashiyangtse highway, just before reaching the popular Gomphu Kora temple.

4 – 6 December

Venue: Thrichugoenpa, Tongzhang, Trashiyangtse

PEMA YOESELCHOLING GOENPA TSHECHU

The one-day tshechu is held at the Lhakhang. The mask dances are performed by the monks of the Lhakhang and women perform the folk dances.

5 – 7 December

Venue: Kencholing, Shompangkhag, Sarpang

TANG NAMKHAR RABNEY 

The Tang Namkhar Lhakhang Rabney is a three-day annual festival commemorating the founding of the Namkha Lhakhang by Lama Namkha Samdrup. It is also performed for the peace and prosperity of the community.

5 – 6 December

Venue: Tang Namkhar Lhakhang, Tang, Bumthang

GEOKAR LHAKHANG TSHECHU

This festival takes place in Geokar Lhakhang in Yalang, Trashiyangtse. Local people gather at the temple to attend the festival and receive blessings.

6 – 12 December

Venue: Geokar Lhakhang, Yalang, Trashiyangtse

GAMUNG TSHECHU

Gamung Tshechu takes place in Shumar in Gamung, Pemagatshel. People gather to celebrate the festival and get blessings.

10 – 12 December

Venue: Shumar/Gamung, Pemagatshel

GOSHING TSHECHU

During this festival, different forms of mask dances and cultural items are showcased to the public.

10 – 12 December

Venue: Goshing Trong, Zhemgang

BULI TSHECHU

Different types of mask dances are performed with the unfurling of a huge Thongdrel (large tapestry) of Guru Rinpoche on the last day of the event.

10 – 12 December

Venue: Buli, Zhemgang

SHINGKHAR TSHECHU

During the tshechu, different forms of mask dances along with cultural items are performed.

10 – 12 December

Venue: Shingkhar, Zhemgang

WAMLING TSHECHU

During the tshechu, different forms of mask dances along with cultural items are performed.

10 – 12 December

Venue: Wamling, Zhemgang

THRISA TSHECHU

During the tshechu, different forms of mask dances along with cultural items are performed.

10 – 12 December

Venue: Thrisa, Zhemgang

PHUMITHANG TSHECHU

During the tshechu, different forms of mask dances along with cultural items are performed.

10 – 12 December

Venue: Phumithang Dratshang, Zhemgang

GONGPHU TSHECHU

During the tshechu, different mask dances along with a variety of cultural items are performed.

10 – 12 December

Venue: Gongphu, Zhemgang

BJOKA TSHECHU

Different forms of mask dances and traditional songs are performed to entertain the public.

11 – 14 December

Venue: Bjoka Trong, Zhemgang

CHOJAM RABNEY

The name ‘Chojam’ was originally derived when Yidam Khorlo Dompo (presently one of the most important relics of the Lhakhang) was brought down to the village. The local people noticed that the statue’s expression looked sad and got its name as Chojam Lhakhang. Chojam Rabney is celebrated for five days and is financially supported by the villagers of Tang, which includes four chiwogs (Chitsum, Nimlung, Gawjud and Sakarmed). The Tshogpa also seeks funds from any visitors in Tang for the Lhakhang.  The Chams/ dances includes the Yakcham, Lhamgyem (performed in two types), Tempa Phuensum (which is said to have originated from Tibet) and many other cham/dance varieties performed in other Dzongkhags, all of which are performed by the monks, the local villagers and students.

11 – 15 December

Venue: Chojam Lhakhang, Tang, Bumthang

LADRONG RABNEY

Ladrong Rabney is an annual festival held at Ladrong Lhakhang. Ladrong Lhakhang was built by Terton (treasure revealer) Drimed Lingpa. The main relic is the Jowo Jampa, the main statue of the Lhakhang. Upon completion of the lhalkhang, the consecration ceremony (Rabney) was held on the 18th day of the 10th month of the Bhutanese Calendar. Five days later, the tshechu was initiated by the late Aja Rinpoche. This festival is conducted to honour the Lhakhang.

11 – 15 December

Venue: Ladrong Lhakhang, Jarey, Lhuentse

NANGLA TSHECHU

During the tshechu, different forms of mask dances and cultural items are show cased to the public.

12 December

Venue: Nangla, Trong, Zhemgang

MAMUNG TSHECHU

The community of Mamung Trong marks the occasion by performing annual ritual with the dances of Pawo and Pamo.

12 December

Venue: Mamung Trong, Zhemgang

KHARPHU BONCHOED

This festival brings together people from different places like Shingkhar, Wamling, Thrisa, Nimshong and Radi to do rituals and make offerings to their local deity. This is mainly done to bring peace and good harvest in the year.

12 December

Venue: Shingkhar/Thrisa/ Wamling/Radi/Nimshong, Zhemgang

TASHIBI TSHECHU

No mask dances are performed but people gather annually and offer the SOL-KHA in the Lhakhang. The tshechu is presided by the Meshey Lam and local Gomchens.

12 December

Venue: Tashibi, Zhemgang

BONCHOED

People perform rituals and make offerings to their local deity on this day. This is mainly done to bring peace and good harvest in the coming year.

12 December | Venue: Buli/Tali/Kikhar/Nangkhor, Zhemgang

KHOMSHAR TSHECHU

During the tshechu, different forms of mask dances and cultural items are performed with unfurling of Thongdrel (large tapestry) to the public on last day.

12 December

Venue: Khomshar, Zhemgang

LANGDURBI BONCHOED

People perform rituals and make offerings to their local deity. This is mainly done to bring peace and good harvest in the year.

12 December

Venue: Langdurbi, Zhemgang

DEKIDLING TSHECHU

The one-day Dekidling annual tshechu is held at the Lhakhang. The mask dances are performed by the Dzongkhag mask dancers, while the folk dances are performed by a group of women.

21 December

Venue: Lungtok Tharchen Goenpa, Dekidling, Sarpang

JAMBAY LHAKANG SINGYE CHAM 

The Singye Cham (lion dance) is held at the Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang. The Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham is performed once a year.

12 December

Venue: Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang

NGA LHAKHANG ZHI

The festival is held at the Nga Lhakhang in Nalakhar village in Bumthang. The three-day festival is one of the popular festivals in the Choekhor valley and attracts people from all over Bumthang, dressed in their finest clothes. This festival is celebrated to bring happiness and prosperity to the village and the country as a whole. It is also a symbolic prayer for good harvest and for the wellbeing of everyone.

12 – 14 December

Venue: Nga Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang

PANGKHAR CHOEDPA  

The festival is held at Pangkhar monastery in Ura, Bumthang. Legend says that when the monastery was under construction, langurs helped at night while humans used to work during the day. Hence the name Prakar which literally translates to white monkey. This festival celebrates the origin of this temple.

21 – 26 December

Venue: Pangkhar Lhakhang, Ura, Bumthang

DOEDEL PEMACHOLING TSHECHU

The festival is very popular in Ramjar Gewog in Trashiyangtse. It takes place in Doedel Pemacholing Lhakhang in Ramjar Gewog.

28 Nov – 13 December

Venue: Doedel Pemacholing Lhakhang, Ramjar, Trashiyangtse

JANGCHUBLING TSHECHU

This festival takes place at the Jangchubling monastery in Gangzur, Lhuentse. The Jangchubling Monastery is an important religious seat and place worth visiting. It was founded in the 18th century by Pekar Gyatso and until recently was under the patronage of the 16th Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorji. The daughter of first King, Ashi Wangmo, lived here at the monastery as a nun. The monastery is easily accessible by a feeder road.

24 – 25 December

Venue: Gangzur, Lhuentse

LOMBA

Lomba is an important occasion for the people of Haa and Paro. In the olden days, they considered this day as New Year’s Day. It is also a time when all crops have been harvested and people get some free time before they begin their work again. During Lomba, families get together in their villages and treat themselves to a good meal. Haaps and Parops make their special dish called hoentey (buckwheat dumplings) and distribute them to friends and relatives.  Men also play archery matches and other traditional games. People sing a rhyme “Lolay Lolay”, thanking god for the good year they had and to make wishes for the New Year. During this festival, people greet each other “Lolay”, meaning “good new year”. They also perform a small ceremony at home to drive away evil and bring in good health, happiness and prosperity for the New Year.

25 – 26 December

Venue: Individual house, Haa and Paro 

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