Bhutan – Land of Thunder Dragon apart from various tourist spots to visit in Bhutan. There are various cultural festivals that are held during the entire year. The most prominent ones are Lhamoi Dromchoe, Zhemgang Tshechu, Punakha Tshechu, Haa Summer festival, Jambhay Lhakhang Drup, etc.
Visiting Bhutan during Jan-march gives you a chance to experience the various festivals held during this across the country.
Punakha Tshechu, as all Tshechu festivals, honors Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rimpoche, the precious yogi and saint who is credited with having introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas.
The Puntang Dewa Chhenbi Phodrang or “the palace of great Bliss” was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in unifier of Bhutan in 1637.
Punakha Dromchoe, the festival held within the walls of 17th century song dedicated to the deity Mahakala.
This festival is held annually in the first month of the lunar calendar coinciding in the month of February. In a tradition that has been kept alive since the 17th century.
While the festival was initially a celebration to commemorate the victory of the Bhutanese militia over Tibetan invaders.
It has now become an integral part of the local tradition and culture. The Punakha Tshechu begins immediately after the Dromchoe and though relatively new, the Tshechu is one of the more popular festivals, if only because the venue is within the walls of the most beautiful and auspicious fortress in the country.
The first King of Bhutan was crowned here and more recently the fifth King’s coronation and wedding ceremonies were held here as well.
A visit to Tshechu, is the best way to experience the pulse of the ancient culture of Bhutan. This is a visual treat as various dances and opera-like performances to depict the ancient rhythm of the Bhutanese culture.
Though the festivals in the different districts are similar each one is unique in that local songs & dances are incorporated into the program.
Over the centuries, the festival has come signify the well being of the local populace and is celebration of life.
This is the time to thank for past blessings and pray for successful year ahead.
While the festival is religious function it is also great social event, it is a time for meeting friends & family & forging new alliances.
Religious ceremonies & rituals are conducted days ahead of the actual dances and hence all who behold them are blessed.
These performances tell the stories of Victory of good over evil. And peaceful co-existence that we may live full and meaningful lives.
Great Masters compose these dances in honor of the guardian deities represented by their masks and this ancient choreography is also meant of imparting Dharma teachings to the people in a form that is both entertaining and meaningful
Monk & layman come together in the spirit of festivity and deep faith to witness these masked dances and partake in celebrations.
Some of these dances are so sacred and auspicious that the only highest-ranking monks and religious masters may perform them in order to convey their blessings upon the pious.
While these festivals provide an opportunity for payer and pilgrimage. They are also key to preserving Bhutan’s rich culture and traditions