Bhutan Festival Calendar

Religious festivals are important events throughout the Tibetan Buddhist world - commemorating the deeds of Buddha, or those of the great masters of the past associated with one Buddhist tradition or another. In Bhutan, in addition to the standard Buddhist festivals, there are yearly festivals celebrated with great fanfare in each district. The most renowned of these are the Tsechu (10th day) festivals, commemorating the deeds of Padmasambhava. Locally referred to as 'Guru Rimpoche' or, simply as 'Guru,' this eighth century master, introduced the Nyingma school of Buddhism into Tibet and Bhutan. Each 10th day of the lunar calendar is said to commemorate a special event in the life of Padmasambhava; and some of these are dramatized in the context of a religious festival. Most festival lasts from three to five days - one of which, usually, falls on the 10th day of the lunar calendar.

The regional Dzong and remote village communities hold their distinct annual Tsechu festival, providing the local populace with a wonderful occasion to dress up, gather together, and enjoy, in a convivial light-hearted atmosphere. It is also an occasion to renew their faith and receive blessings by watching the sacred dances, or receiving 'empowerment' from a lama or Buddhist monk. The dances, each aspect of which has a symbolic meaning, are performed by trained monks and laymen wearing ornate costumes, and, in some cases, impressive masks. At Paro, Wangdu, Mongar and Tashigang, among other places, a large 'thanka' scroll known as a Tongdrol is exhihited for a few hours, at day break of the final day of the festival, enabling the people to obtain its blessing, since such scrolls 'confer liberation by the mere sight of it' (tongdrol in Bhutanese).

Of these festivals the Paro Tsechu, in the spring, and the Wangue and Thimpu Tsechus, in the fall, are the most impressive. These festivals are very popular with western tourists. The festivals in Bumthang and East Bhutan attract fewer tourists and those who want to get a more authentic flavor of Bhutan's cultural and religious extravaganza will be well rewarded. These festivals attract many western tourist and hotels and flights are sold out months in advance to organized tourist group. Anyone who wishes to visit Bhutan during these festivals should plan and make their tour arrangements well in advance.

Bhutan Festival Calendar 2013

Sl.No Festival Place Date
1 PUNAKHA DRUBCHHEN Punakha Dzong,
PUNAKHA
15th – 19th February
2 PUNAKHA TSHECHU Punakha Dzong,
PUNAKHA
20th – 22nd February
3 CHHORTEN KORA Chorten Kora,
TRASHI YANGTSE
25th February & 11th March
4 GOMPHUKORA Gom Kora Lhakhang,
TRASHIGANG
20th – 22nd March
5 PARO TSHECHU Rinpung Dzong,
PARO
23rd – 27th March
6 CHHUKHA TSHECHU Chhukha Dzong,CHHUKHA 25th – 27th March
7 URA YAKCHOE Ura Lhakhang,BUMTHANG 21st – 25th April
8 NIMALUNG TSHECHU Nimalung Dratshang, Chummi,
BUMTHANG
16th – 18th June
9 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 Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha,
WANGDUEPHODRANG
11th November
18 MONGAR TSHECHU Mongar Dzong,
MONGAR
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
Kailash Yatra 2013 Departure