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Bhutan Festival:

Here are some highlights of the Bhutan Festival:

Tshechus

Bhutan festival and Bhutanese culture have always included Tshechus. It draws many tourists and locals. Few know how and why these festivals began. Here’s the Tshechu’s origin story.

Padmasambhava, from the Nyingmapa school, visited Tibet and Bhutan in the 8th and 9th centuries. He converted opponents of the Dharma by reciting mantras, performing rites, and dancing to subdue local spirits.

His visit to Bhutan was to aid Sindhu Raja. Padmasambhava’s dances in Bumthang healed the king. Bhutan’s king helped him spread Buddhism. Padmasambhava organized the first Tshechu in Bumthang to showcase the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava being the human form). Chams depicted the glory of Buddhism and were composed to spread Buddha’s messages. Guru Rinpoche composed some Chams, while Tertoen Pema Lingpa, Zhabdrung, and other saints created others.

During mask dances, tantric deities are invoked to remove misfortunes. The dances are believed to suppress evil spirits and demons that prevent Chhoe’s spread.

Thimphu Drubchen & Tshechu

In September, the 11-day Lhamoi Drubchen is held. This is a ritual that is done to appease Pelden Lhamo (Mahakali), the god of protection. Pelden Lhamo is the only female Dharma protector common to all four Buddhist schools. She’s one of Bhutan’s three protectors.
The Thimphu Tshechu was started in 1670, but the Drubchen was started between 1705 and 1709 by Kuenga Gyaltshen. He was the first reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, who was the son of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. A story says that while he was meditating, Pelden Lhamo danced in front of him. Based on the dances, Kuenga Gyaltshen started the Drubchen.

Paro Tshechu

Bhutan Festival is the most well-known festival in Bhutan, and it is where the world’s largest Thangka is shown. Guru Rinpoche is honored with mask dances. Locals go because they want to.
To start the festival, monks in Paro Rinpung Dzong do the Shingje Yab Yum dance. After Durdag, Shanag and Drametse Ngacham dance the dance of the lords of the cremation grounds.

Punakha Drubchen & Tshechu

Zhabdrung made Punakha Drubchen to celebrate the victories of the Tibetan people. During the event, Pazaps or members of the local militia dress up in battle gear and act out a battle from the past. Tibetan soldiers were kicked out of Bhutan by people from the eight Tshogchens in Thimphu and the Punakha valley. Punakha Tshechu began with the 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra.
The Thongdrel is an important part of the festival. The appliqué on 6,000 meters of silk brocade took 51 skilled workers two years to make. It was 83 feet long and 93 feet wide. The 11 incarnations of Zhabdrung are shown on the top of the Thongdrel. The bottom half shows the spiritual leaders of Bhutan, such as Je Khenpo.

Trashigang Tshechu

Winter is Trashigang Tshechu season. Merak and Sakten nomads’ unusual outfits draw tourists to this celebration. The Kholong Tshechu in Trashigang, which begins in Yonphu at the end of November, also draws a large crowd due to its name. Kholong means “battle” in Sharchopkha. “The warring Tshechu” is an exact translation.

Chorten Kora & Namgang Kora

People from eastern Bhutan and India come to these Chorten circumambulations by the Dakpas (from Tawang District, Arunachal Pradesh, India) and the Drukpas (from Bhutan). They take place in the first lunar month.
When the stupa was built, a religious Dakini princess from Arunachal Pradesh buried herself as the Yeshe Semba to meditate for all beings. A festival called Namgang Kora is held every year at the Chorten Kora in Trashiyangtse Dzongkhag. Devotees from Tawang, Arunachal Pradesh, India, join their counterparts from Bhutan.

Trongsa Tshechu

Trongsa Tshechu is the oldest Tshechu in Bhutan. It is held in the huge Trongsa Dzong. People think that
Tshechus started to spread across Bhutan from Trongsa.

Bumthang Festival:

Jambay Lhakhang Drup

This event honors Guru Rinpoche, who introduced Tantric Buddhism to Bhutan, and the 7th-century Jambey Lhakhang (temple).
The Mewang fire ceremony and Tercham religious dance highlight this important holiday in Bhutan. The fire dance blesses infertile ladies so they can have children.

Domkhar Festival

A Dranang scholar in Tibet named Lam Kuenkhen Longchen Rabjam started the Domkhar festival in the Chumey valley of Bumthang in the 1600s. He helped Dzongpo Chenpo get more important and built eight monasteries. Every April, the Domkhar temple has a party to honor him.

Jakar Festival

This festival, which takes place in Jakar Dzong, is not very old. This is the Bhutan festival celebrated in mid-October, the ninth month of the Bhutanese lunar calendar, and also it lasts for five days.

Bhutan Festival Schedules for 2020

Sl.No  Bhutan Festival Place Date
1 Punakha Drubchen Punakha Dzong, Punakha 02-04 March
2 Punakha Tsechu Punakha Dzong, Punakha 05-07 March
3 Tharpaling Thongdrol Tharpaling Lhakhang, Chummi, Bumthang 09-March
4 Chorten Kora Chorten Kora Lhakhang, Trashiyangtshe 08 April & 22 April
5 Gomphu Kora Gom Kora Lhakhang, Trashigang 01-03 April
6 Talo Tsechu Talo Gonpa, Punakha 01-03 April
7 Gasa Tsechu Gasa Dzong, Gasa 01-03 April  
8 Paro Tsechu Rinpung Dzong, Paro 04-08 April 
9 Domkhar Tsechu Domkhar, Chummi, Bumthang 03-05 May
10 Ura Yakchoe Ura Lhakhang, Bumthang 04-08 May
11 Nimalung Tsechu Nimalung Dratshang, Chummi, Bumthang 30 June -01 July
12 Kurjey Tsechu Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 30-June
13 Masutaki Mushroom Festival Ura, Bumthang  
14 Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race) Bumthang to Thimphu 05-September
15 Thimphu Drubchen Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu 22-September
16 Wangdue Tsechu Tencholing Army Ground, Wangduephodrang 24-26 September
17 Gangtey Tsechu Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha, Wangduephodrang 28 September – 01 October
18 Tamshing Phala Chhoepa Tamshing Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 26-28 September
19 Thimphu Tsechu Tashi Chhodzong, Thimphu 26-28 September
20 Thangbi Mani Tangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, Bumthang 29September – 02 October
21 Chhukha Tsechu Chhukha Dzong, Chhukha 24- 26 October 
22 Jakar Tsechu Jakar Dzong, Choekhor, Bumthang 23-27 October
23 Jambay Lhakhang Drup Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 31October – 03 November
24 Prakar Duchhoed Prakar Lhakhang, Chummi, Bumthang 01-03 November
25 Black Necked Crane Festival Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha, Wangduephodrang 11-November
26 Mongar Tsechu Mongar Dzong, Mongar 21-24 November
27 Trashigang Tsechu Trashigang Dzong, Trashigang 22-25 November
28 Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 30-November
29 Nalakhar Tsechu Ngaa Lhakhang, Choekhor, Bumthang 30 November – 02 December
30 Druk Wangyel Tsechu Dochula, Thimphu 13th December
31 Trongsa Tsechu Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa 10-13 December
32 Lhuentse Tsechu Lhuentse Dzong, Lhuentse 21-24 December

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