Festivals in Bhutan

At 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.

Tentative Festival Dates For Year 2020

2nd – 4th March Punakha Drubchen Punakha Dzong, Punakha
5th – 7th March Punakha Tshechu Punakha Dzong, Punakha
9th March Tharpaling Thongdrol Tharpaling Lhakhang, Chumi, Bumthang
1st – 3rd April Gomphukora Gom Kora Lhakhang, Trashigang
1st -3rd April Talo Tshechu Talo Gonpa, Punakha
1st -3rd April Gasa Tshechu Gasa Dzong, Gasa
1st -3rd April Zhemgang Tshechu Zhemgang Dzong, Zhemgang
4th – 8th April Paro Tshechu Rinpung Dzong, Paro
8th & 22nd April Chhorten Kora Chorten Kora, Trashiyangtshe
17th -19th April Rhododendron Festival Lamperi Botanical Garden, Dochula, Thimphu
2nd _4th  May Domkhar Tshechu Domkhar, Chumni, Bumthang
4th-8th May Ura Yakchoe Ura Lhakhang, Bumthang
28th -30th June Nimalung Tshechu Nimalung Dratshang, Chumni, Bumthang
30th June Kurjey Tshechu Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
11th -12 July Haa Summer Festival Haa
Yet To Decide Mushroom Festival Genekha, Thimphu.
15th -16th Aug Masutaki Mushroom Festival Ura, Bumthang
5th Sept Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race) Bumthang to Thimphu
22nd Sept Thimphu Drubchen Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu
24th – 26th Sept Wangdue Tshechu Tencholing Army Ground, Wangduephodrang
26th – 28th Sept Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Tamshing lhakhang, Bumthang
26th – 28th Sept Thimphu Tshechu Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu
29th Sept – 1st Oct Gangtey Tshechu Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha,Wangduephodrang (Thongdral on last day)
30th Sept -2nd Oct Thangbi Mani Tangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, Bumthang
23rd – 24th Oct Royal Highland Festival Laya,Gasa
14th – 15th Oct Jhomolhari Mountain Festival Dangochong, Thimphu
24th -26th Oct Chhukha Tshechu Chhukha Dzong, Chhukha
23rd – 27th Oct Jakar Tshechu Jakar Dzong, Choekhor, Bumthang
31st Oct – 3rd Nov Jambay Lhakhang Drup Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
1st – 3rd Nov Prakhar Duchhoed Prakar Khakhang, Chumni, Bumthang
26th Oct Dechenphu Tshechu Dechenphu Lhakhang, Thimphu
11th -13th Nov Bhutan Bird Festival Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha, Wangduephodrang
11th Nov Black Necked Crane Festival Tingtibi, Zhemgang
22nd – 24th Nov Mongar Tshechu Mongar Dzong, Mongar
22nd – 24th Nov Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang Dzong, Trashigang
30th Nov Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
21st – 24th Nov Pemagatshel Tshechu Pemagatshel Dzong, Pemagatshel
30th Nov – 2nd Dec Nalakhar Tshechu Ngaa Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
13th Dec Druk Wangyel Tshechu Douchula , Thimphu
23rd -25th Dec Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa
23rd -25th Dec Lhuentse Tshechu Lhuentse Dzong, Lhuentse
29th – 31st Dec Nabji Lhakhang Drup Nabji Lhakhang, Nabji, Trongsa