Events and Festivals of Bhutan

There are many festivals held at different locations at different times of the year. The best known of the festivals are "Tshechus" which are celebrated in honour of Guru Padmasambhava commemorating his great deeds. Popularly known as "Guru Rimpoche". This Indian saint contributed enormously to the diffusion of Tantric Buddhism in the Himalayan region of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan around 800 AD.

Guru Padmasambhava is founder of the Nyingmapa, the old school of Lamaism, which still has numerous followers. The biography of Guru is highlighted by 12 episodes on the model of Buddha Shakyamuni's life.

"Tshechu" which has become the name of very popular festival commemorate each episode around the year on the 10th day of the month. The dates and the duration of festival vary from one place to another but they all take place on or around 10th day of the month according to Bhutanese calendar.

Tshechus are celebrated for several days, between three and five according to location, and are the occasion for dances that are clearly defined in religious content. Both monks as well as laymen take part in these dances which are performed in a similar manner at each of the Tshechus. Certain Tshechus end with the worship of a huge applique Thangkha representing Guru Rimpoche and his eight manifestations. It is called 'THONGDROEL' and is believed that simply by viewing it people can be delivered from the cycle of reincarnations. The Bhutanese people attach great importance to festivals, which allow them to become immersed in their religion and gain merit, and it is because of this importance that the festivals are so well preserved. These events are also a time for the local people to socialize, to laugh, to joke with their neighbors and acquaintances, to dress in their finest clothes and jewelry, to eat well and generally to have good time.


Festival Dates

01 PUNAKHA DRUBCHHEN Punakha Dzong, PUNAKHA 15th - 19th February
02 PUNAKHA TSHECHU Punakha Dzong, PUNAKHA 20th - 22nd February
03 CHHORTEN KORA Chorten Kora, TRASHI YANGTSE 25th February & 11th March
04 GOMPHUKORA Gom Kora Lhakhang, TRASHIGANG 20th - 22nd March
05 PARO TSHECHU Rinpung Dzong, PARO 23rd - 27th March
06 CHHUKHA TSHECHU Chhukha Dzong, CHHUKHA 25th - 27th March
07 URA YAKCHOE Ura Lhakhang, BUMTHANG 21st - 25th April
08 NIMALUNG TSHECHU Nimalung Dratshang, Chummi, BUMTHANG 16th - 18th June
09 KURJEY TSHECHU Kurjey Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG 18th June
10 THIMPHU DRUBCHEN Tashichho Dzong, THIMPHU 9th - 13th September
11 WANGDUE TSHECHU Wangdi Dzong, WANGDUEPHODRANG 12th - 14th September
12 TAMSHING PHALA CHHOEPA Tamshing Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG 13th - 15th September
13 THIMPHU TSHECHU Tashichho Dzong, THIMPHU 14th - 16th September
14 THANGBI MANI Tangbi Lhakhang, Choekor, BUMTHANG 18th - 20th September
15 JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG 18th - 22nd October
16 PRAKHAR DUCHHOED Prakar Lhakhang, Chummi, BUMTHANG 19th - 21st October
17 CRANE FESTIVAL Pemagatshel Dzong, PEMAGATSHEL 11th November
18 MONGAR TSHECHU Pemagatshel Dzong, PEMAGATSHEL 9th - 12th November
19 PEMAGATSHEL TSHECHU Pemagatshel Dzong, PEMAGATSHEL 9th - 12th November
20 TRASHIGANG TSHECHU Trashigang Dzong, TRSASHIGANG 10th - 13th November
21 NALAKHAR TSHECHU Nga Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG 17th - 19th November
22 TRONGSA TSHECHU Trongsa Dzong, TRONGSA 9th - 11th January 2014
23 LHUENTSE TSHECHU Lhuentse Dzong, LHUENTSE 9th - 11th January 2014

Source: Association of Bhutanese Tour Operators (ABTO)