Once a year a Dzong or an important village may hold a religious festival called a Tsechu. Villagers from the nearby villagest come for several days of religious observances and socializing while contributing auspicious offerings to the monastery of the festival.
The central activity is a fixed set of religious mask dances, or Cham, held in a large courtyard. Each individual dance takes up to several hours to complete and the entire set may last 2 to 4 days. Observation of the dances directly blesses the audience and also serves to transmit principles of Tantric Buddhism to the viewers. A number of the dances can be traced directly back to Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal himself, the founder of Bhutan, and have been passed down essentially unchanged since the mid-1600s.
Prior to dawn on the final day of the tsechu a huge tapestry, or Thongdrel, is unfurled in the courtyard of the dzong for several hours. The mere sight of it is believed to bring spiritual liberation. The Thongdrel is rolled up before the rays of the morning sun can strike it.
Festival dates for 2011
- Please note that the dates are tentative. Please consult with your tour operator for confirmation.
- Some dates may be missing – we will update the dates as and when we get more info.
|Punakha Dromche||Punakha||10 – 12 February|
|Punakha Tshechu||Punakha||13 – 15 February|
|Chorten Kora||Trashiyangtse||18 February – 4 March|
|Gomkora||Trashigang||13 – 15 March|
|Paro Tshechu||Paro||15 – 19 March|
|Chhukha Tshechu||Chhukha||17 – 19 March|
|Ura Yakchoe||Bumthang||14 – 17 May|
|Nimalung Tshechu||Bumthang||8 – 10 July|
|Kurjey Tshechu||Bumthang||10 July|
|Wangdue Tshechu||Wangdue Phodrang||4 – 6 October|
|Tamshingphala Choepa||Bumthang||6 – 8 October|
|Thimphu Drupchen||Thimphu||1 – 5 October|
|Thimphu Tshechu||Thimphu||6 – 8 October|
|Thangbi Mani||Bumthang||10 – 12 October|
|Shingkhar Rabney||Ura, Bumthang||1 – 5 November|
|Jakar Tshechu||Jakar Dzong, Bumthang||3 – 6 November|
|Jambay Lhakhang Drup||Bumthang||10 – 14 November|
|Prakhar Duchhoed||Bumthang||11 – 13 November|
|Mongar Tshechu||Mongar||2 – 5 December|
|Trashigang Tshechu||Trashigang||2 – 5 December|
|Nalakhar Tshechu||Bumthang||10 – 12 December|
|Trongsa Tshechu||Trongsa||2 – 4 January, 2012|
|Lhuntse Tshechu||Lhuntse||2 – 4 January, 2012|
|Nabji Lhakhang Drup||Nabji, Trongsa||9 – 13 January, 2012|
|Shingkhar Metochodpa||Ura, Bumthang||9 January, 2012|