Fairs and Festivals in Bhutan

A land of happiness and prosperity, Bhutan is a country full of pristine beauty and fascinating heritage. 

Be it the monasteries, the Himalayan mountain range, the deep valleys and meadows or the popular fairs and festivals of Bhutan, this state has everything for tourists. Every aspect of the nation is equally fascinating. 

In recent times high spirited religious festivals have become crowd pullers. Because since its existence, Bhutanese people have done everything to keep their culture and tradition intact. 

Popularly known as Tshechus, one cannot miss witnessing a very spectacular festival that takes place in Bhutan.

punakha drubchen

One of the district’s oldest festivals, the Punakaha Drubchen is a detailed dramatization of a Bhutanese militia tricking and defeating an invading Tibetan army and forcing them to retreat. 

A brief history of Punakha Dzong’s architecture is also shown to the general public. This festival gives you a good glimpse of ancient Bhutanese history as well as culture and traditions.

 It is held at Punkaha Dzong and as it sits at the confluence of two rivers, the atmosphere only adds to the grand festivities.

Duration:  3-4 days

When it  happens: In the month of February or March

Where it happens:  Punakha Dzong, Punakha, Bhutan

Paro Tshechu

By far the most popular spectacle, Paro Tshechu is the biggest festival celebrated in Bhutan.

 As part of the ritual, the world’s largest thangka or Thongdrel is hoisted. A mask dance is performed in the courtyard of the zong which invokes the gods of the Tantric teachings. 

It is believed to ward off bad luck by destroying all evil spirits. This is your best chance to witness a spectacular display of age-old traditions, colors and Tantric Buddhist rituals.

Duration:  5 days

When it  happens: In the month of March or April

Where it was:  Ringpung Deyangkha, Paro Valley, Bhutan

Thimphu Tshechu

One of the largest of the Tshechus in terms of audience and participation, Thimphu Tshechu is celebrated as a tribute to Guru Rinpoche. It is a festival of colors with a joyful blend of the changing nature of Bhutanese culture. 

It showcases ethnic folk dances in traditionally designed colorful masks. It concludes with the hoisting of Thongdrol by Guru Rinpoche.

Duration:  3 days

When Happens:  In the month of October

Where it takes place:  Tashicho Dzong, Thimphu, Bhutan

Gomfu Kora Festival

This festival with religious significance is associated with a famous folk tale from the 8th century AD. Guru Rinpoche slayed an evil dragon here and the festival, celebrated over a period of three days, symbolizes the victory of good over evil.

 There are many ruins inside the two storied temple. Inscriptions and murals also date from the period of their original construction.

 Pilgrims worship it as a place of sacred power and walk all the way around the meditation cave.

Duration:  3 days

When it  happens: In the month of February or March

Where it happens:  Gomphu Kora, Trashi Yangtse, Bhutan

Jambe Lakhang Drup

There are many offers that make Bhutan an attractive tourist destination. And this festival is one of them. 

The Jambe Lakhang Drupa commemorates the creation of the Jambe Lakhang Temple in the 7th century, one of 108 temples built in a single day by King Songtsen Gampo of Tibet. The festival features unique dance forms like mid night teracham or naked dance. 

However, locals and tourists are not allowed to witness but can enjoy other masked dances and local food at the festival.

Duration:  5 days

When Happens:  In the month of November

Where it was:  Jambe Lakhang, Chokhor, Bumthang Valley, Bhutan

saktang festival

The Sakteng festival is where local people come together to worship with spiritual influence. It also serves as an occasion for fun making and social gatherings. 

Each person is dressed in period costumes. This festival allows you to get close to nature in this untouched wilderness. 

The rare yak dance is the highlight of the festival and is different from the usual masked dances seen in other parts of the state.

Duration:  3 days

When it happens:  In the month of June

Where it takes place:  Sakten Lakhang, Bhutan

This summer festival

Imagine being part of a grand festival in a valley nestled between ancient lakes and high alpines.

 This summer festival is an uplifting and lively celebration of traditional lifestyle-culture, unique Bhutanese cuisine, nomadic lifestyle, traditional sports and religious events. A must experience is an overnight stay at one of the many homestays in the village. 

This is an opportunity to enjoy the warm hospitality of the locals of Ha Valley. It provides an unparalleled insight into the traditions and lives of Bhutanese nomadic animals.

Duration:  2 days

When is it:  Second weekend of July

Where:  Dzongkhag Plain, Upper Bazar, Ha Valley, Bhutan

Merk Tshechu

Murak Valley in Bhutan is a pristine place that boasts of unparalleled natural beauty. The Brokpas are an indigenous people who are exceptionally rooted in their traditions.

 They are completely detached from all the happenings of the outside world. Merak Tshechu is a break from the monotonous life of herding cattle for the locals. 

AcheLhamo is a famous dance performance that can be enjoyed during this festival. The costume is also unique as people wear clothes woven from sheep wool and yak hair.

Duration:  3 days

When Happens:  In the month of November

Where they take place:  Tencholing Army Ground, Wangdue Phodrang

Wangdu Fodrang Tshechu

Wangduefodrang Tshechu is a festival celebrated every year after the completion of the Jong. Huge crowds gather to watch the bull dance known as Raksha Mangacham. 

It is celebrated with great pomp and you can learn about the unique traditions and culture of Bhutan. 

The festival concludes with a performance by Guru Tshengye Thongdrol in which each viewer receives blessings and washes away their sins.

Duration:  3 days

When is October? 

Where it occurs:  Merak Lhakhang, Trashigang Dzongkhag District, Bhutan

Matsutake Festival

The festival is held to celebrate the harvest of wild mushrooms. It is a major source of income for the people of Bhutan. 

Matsutake and chanterelle are the most popular of all mushrooms and are known for their juicy and aromatic flavor. 

A highlight of the festival is engaging in mushroom picking activities and eating matsutake mushroom soup. Cultural programs are also included in the festival.

Duration:  3 days

When it happens:  In the month of August

Where it happens:  Janekha, between Thimphu-Paro highway, Bhutan

Leave a Comment