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Title image - BAI takes you to: Bhutan

Religious Festivals in Bhutan

Religious festivals are important throughout the Tibetan Buddhist world. In Bhutan, there are additional Tsechu (10th day) festivals commemorating the deeds of Padmasambhava. Locally referred to as “Guru Rimpoche,” this eighth century master introduced the Nyingma school of Buddhism to Tibet and Bhutan. All of Guru Rimpoche’s great deeds are believed to have taken place on the 10th day of the month, which is the meaning of the work Tsechu. Most Tsechu festivals last three to five days, one of which falls on the 10th day of the lunar calendar. All the districts, dzongs, and a large number of villages hold annual Tsechus, which attract villagers from far and wide.

For the Bhutanese, attendance at religious festivals offers an opportunity to become immersed in the meaning of their religion. The annual Tseechu festivals also provide the local populace with a wonderful occasion to dress up, gather together, and celebrate. People bring out their finest clothes, their most beautiful jewelry, and enjoy picnics with abundant food and alcohol. Men and women joke and flirt with one another in an atmosphere of convivial good humor.

Of these festivals the Paro Tsechu, in the spring, and the Wangdue 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.

2014 Tentative Schedule

Festival Place Dates
Punakha Dromche and Tshechu Punakha March 6 - 13
Chorten Kora Trashi Yangtse March 16 & March 30
Gom Kora Trashigang April 7 - 9
Paro Tshechu Paro April 11 - 15
Chhukha Tshechu Chhukha April 13 - 15
Ura Yakchoe Bumthang May 10 - 14
Nimalung Tshechu Bumthang June 5 - 7
Kurjey Tshechu Bumthang June 7
Thimphu Drupchen Thimphu September 28 - October 2
Wangdue Tshechu Wangduephodrang October 1 - 3
Tamshingphala Choepa Bumthang October 2 - 4
Thimphu Tshechu Thimphu October 3 - 5
Thangbi Mani Bumthang October 7 - 9
Pemagatsel Tshechu Pemagatshel November 2
Jambay Lakhang Drup Bumthang November 6 - 10
Prakhar Duchhoed Bumthang November 7 - 9
Mongar Tshechu Mongar November 28 - December 1
Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang November 29 - December 2
Nalakhar Tshechu Bumthang December 6 - 8
Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa December 30 - January 1 (2015)
Lhuntse Tshechu Lhuntse December 30 - January 1 (2015)