A famed tourism festival in the Punakha region, Rhododendron Festival is a must-see in Bhutan. Held in the Lamperi Botanical Garden, this festival is about exhibiting 29 out of 46 species of rhododendron that grow in Bhutan. At this three-day festival in the month of May, rhododendron garden walk and exhibition, traditional games, local culture and cuisines, cultural programmes, and arts and crafts are the major attractions.
Tshechus are the annual religious festival celebrated on the tenth day of a month of the lunar Tibetan calendar in all the 20 districts or dzongkhags of Bhutan.
Tshechu is a religious event to honour and celebrate the birthday of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. However, the exact month of the Tshechu might vary from place to place.
The two most popular Tshechus in Bhutan are Paro Tshechu and Thimphu Tshechu. The former one is held each spring, from late March to April. However, the latter is annually held in autumn, from late September or early October.
One of the biggest religious festivals in Bhutan, Thimphu Tshechu is held for three days, beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of Bhutanese calendar (late September or early October) to celebrate the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche. The festival takes place in the courtyard of Tashichho Dzong. What adds colour and variation to the festival is Cham or mask dance like Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru) and Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) performed by the lay monks. In a nutshell, it is an occasion to receive blessings and pray for health and happiness.
An annual event, Paro Tsechu is held for three days in the spring season between late March and April in Rinpung Dzong to commemorate the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. During Paro Tshechu, mask dances are performed inside the courtyard of the dzong. The festival concludes the unfurling of the world’s biggest silk Thangka or Thongdrel.
A lively masked and costumed dance, Cham or Mask Dance associated with some sects of Tibetan Buddhism and Buddhist festivals. The religious dance festival is mostly performed when celebrating the Bhutanese festival (Tshechus) and is accompanied by music played by monks using traditional Tibetan musical instruments. The unique dance form is performed with the belief that it will cleanse all the evil forces and will be a greater good for all including the people, society and the country.
Being an integral part of the Bhutanese festival (Tshechus), Atsaras are red-faced characters who are more than entertainment offering some teachings. It combines the spirit of the holy and the profane, wisdom and wit, responsibility and humour. With their pranks, they remind the people not to forget their worries and problems but nudge them to overcome their sense of self-importance.
You can plan a trip to Bhutan in the month of April to cover the maximum tourism festivals.
It is always better to take permission before indulging in photography or videography when attending Bhutan Festivals. There are certain monasteries and temples where photography and videography are strictly prohibited. However, our tour guide can assist you with getting permission for the places where you can indulge in taking pictures and shooting videos of the festivals.
Bhutan doesn’t have one best dance festival, there are multiple. Of all, the important ones include Paro Tshechu, Thimphu Tshechu and Tamzing Phala Choepa (Bumthang).
Matsutake Festival celebrated in Ura Valley is the food festival in Bhutan. Attending this festival, one can try out a variety of delicious food items made of mushrooms.