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 2022

DATE FESTIVAL PLACE
9th -11th March Punakha Drubchen Punakha Dzong, Punakha
12th -14th March Punakha Tshechu Punakha Dzong, Punakha
18th March Tharpaling Thongdrol Tharpaling Lhakhang, Chumi, Bumthang
9th -11th April Gomphukora Gom Kora Lhakhang, Trashigang
9th -11th April Talo Tshechu Talo Gonpa, Punakha
9th -11th April Gasa Tshechu Gasa Dzong, Gasa
9th -11th April Zhemgang Tshechu Zhemgang Dzong, Zhemgang
12th -16th April Paro Tshechu Rinpung Dzong, Paro
30th April Chhorten Kora Chorten Kora, Trashiyangtshe
15th – 17st April Rhododendron Festival Lamperi Botanical Garden, Dochula, Thimphu
11th -13th May Domkhar Tshechu Domkhar, Chumni, Bumthang
13th – 17th May Ura Yakchoe Ura Lhakhang, Bumthang
7th -9th July Nimalung Tshechu Nimalung Dratshang, Chumni, Bumthang
9th July Kurjey Tshechu Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
9th -10th July Haa Summer Festival Haa
15th & 16th Aug Mushroom Festival Genekha, Thimphu.
3rd Sept Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race) Bumthang to Thimphu
1st Oct Thimphu Drubchen Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu
3rd – 5th Oct Wangdue Tshechu Tencholing Army Ground, Wangduephodrang
5th -7th Oct Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Tamshing lhakhang, Bumthang
5th -7th Oct Thimphu Tshechu Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu
7th -9th Oct Gangtey Tshechu Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha,Wangduephodrang (Thongdral on last day)
8th -10th Oct Thangbi Mani Tangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, Bumthang
14th & 15th Oct Jhomolhari Mountain Festival Dangochong, Thimphu
1st -3rd Nov Chhukha Tshechu Chhukha Dzong, Chhukha
1st -3rd Nov Jakar Tshechu Jakar Dzong, Choekhor, Bumthang
8th -12th Nov Jambay Lhakhang Drup Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
9th -11th Nov Prakhar Duchhoed Prakar Khakhang, Chumni, Bumthang
3rd Nov Dechenphu Tshechu Dechenphu Lhakhang, Thimphu
11th Nov Black Necked Crane Festival Tingtibi, Zhemgang
1st -3rd Dec Mongar Tshechu Mongar Dzong, Mongar
1st -3rd Dec Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang Dzong, Trashigang
7th Dec Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
1st -3rd Dec Pemagatshel Tshechu Pemagatshel Dzong, Pemagatshel
8th -10th Dec Nalakhar Tshechu Ngaa Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
13th Dec Druk Wangyel Tshechu Douchula , Thimphu
30th Dec – 1st Jan 2023 Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa
30th Dec – 1st Jan 2023 Lhuentse Tshechu Lhuentse Dzong, Lhuentse
6th-7th Jan 2023 Nabji Lhakhang Drup Nabji Lhakhang, Nabji, Trongsa

Tentative Festival Dates For Year 2023

DATE FESTIVAL PLACE
26th – 28th Feb Punakha Drubchen Punakha Dzong, Punakha
1st – 3rd March Punakha Tshechu Punakha Dzong, Punakha
7th March Tharpaling Thongdrol Tharpaling Lhakhang, Chumi, Bumthang
29th – 31st March Gomphukora Gom Kora Lhakhang, Trashigang
29th – 31st March Talo Tshechu Talo Gonpa, Punakha
29th – 31st March Gasa Tshechu Gasa Dzong, Gasa
29th – 31st March Zhemgang Tshechu Zhemgang Dzong, Zhemgang
1st – 5th April Paro Tshechu Rinpung Dzong, Paro
5th April & 20th April Chhorten Kora Chorten Kora, Trashiyangtshe
14th – 16th April Rhododendron Festival Lamperi Botanical Garden, Dochula, Thimphu
30th April – 2nd May Domkhar Tshechu Domkhar, Chumni, Bumthang
2nd – 6th May Ura Yakchoe Ura Lhakhang, Bumthang
26th – 28th June Nimalung Tshechu Nimalung Dratshang, Chumni, Bumthang
28th June Kurjey Tshechu Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
8th – 9th July Haa Summer Festival Haa
15th – 16th August Mushroom Festival Genekha, Thimphu.
2nd September Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race) Bumthang to Thimphu
21st September Thimphu Drubchen Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu
22nd – 24th September Wangdue Tshechu Tencholing Army Ground, Wangduephodrang
24th – 26th September Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Tamshing lhakhang, Bumthang
24th – 26th September Thimphu Tshechu Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu
27th – 29th September Gangtey Tshechu Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha,Wangduephodrang (Thongdral on last day)
24th – 30th September Thangbi Mani Tangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, Bumthang
14th – 15th October Jhomolhari Mountain Festival Dangochong, Thimphu
22nd – 24th October Chhukha Tshechu Chhukha Dzong, Chhukha
22nd – 24th October Jakar Tshechu Jakar Dzong, Choekhor, Bumthang
28th October – 1st November Jambay Lhakhang Drup Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
29th – 31st October Prakhar Duchhoed Prakar Khakhang, Chumni, Bumthang
24th October Dechenphu Tshechu Dechenphu Lhakhang, Thimphu
11th Nov Black Necked Crane Festival Tingtibi, Zhemgang
19th – 22nd November Mongar Tshechu Mongar Dzong, Mongar
20th – 23rd November Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang Dzong, Trashigang
27th November Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
20th – 23rd November Pemagatshel Tshechu Pemagatshel Dzong, Pemagatshel
27th – 29th November Nalakhar Tshechu Ngaa Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang
13th Dec Druk Wangyel Tshechu Douchula , Thimphu
20th – 22nd December Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa
20th – 22nd December Lhuentse Tshechu Lhuentse Dzong, Lhuentse
26th – 27th December Nabji Lhakhang Drup Nabji Lhakhang, Nabji, Trongsa