The 3 festivals must see in Bhutan
The festival is a Buddhist religion celebration that begins on the 10th day of the Bhutanese calendar. The festival is locally known as Tshechu. During the festival, monks and laymen perform mask dances over a stretch of 3 days to 5 days in a monastery or temple. It is also perform in all 20 district in Bhutan besides many local festivals. In the each district have the huge towering building call Dzong where the festival take place. The Dzong is like castle in Europe, which served as fortress in 16th century. Now all dzongs are administrative center and house of monastic body.
The festival are performed to commemorate the life of Guru Padmasambhava (the saint who bring Buddhism in Bhutan in 8th century) and other great Buddhist masters.
Paro Festival Highlight the unfurling of a Thongdrel (large scroll painting of Guru Padmasambhava) in court yard from the building top. It starts early morning at 2am, all people go to get blessing and pay respect. One have to be prepare for early morning wake up to join the local to get blessing from Thongdrel and best opportunity mingle with local. Don’t miss to attend the last day of Paro festival.
Thimphu festival also have the same Thongdrel but large scroll painting of Buddha. The festival is an occasion for people to wear their best finery out fit, socialize and make merry. More importantly, people attend tshechus to gain merit.
Jampa Lhakhang drup in Bumthang in center Bhutan. Bumthang is very beautiful valley with many beautiful oldest temples with interesting legend of temples and places. The tsechu is very interesting but there are many which entertain besides the religious dances and songs, atsaras like clown are the major attraction. Atsaras usually don hilarious looking masks with large protruding nose and often with phallus dangling form the mask head or carrying in hand. Buddhist that they signify enlightened wisdom and their acts are intended to cleans to collective sin the people gathered to witness to the religious dances.
Don’t miss to take an opportunity to attend one of the Bhutan festival and you can try in local costume Gho for man and Kira for woman while attending festival. Check festival dates. Enjoy Bhutan festival!