In a country where happiness is used to evaluate progress, it’s only natural that the Bhutanese festivals calendar would be a little different. Bhutan is a country proud of its history, religion, and cultural peculiarities, which is why events are held throughout the year to commemorate its long-standing traditions. These traditions play a huge role in deciding the best time of the year to visit Bhutan.
Bhutan is famed for its colorful festivals, called Tsechu in Bhutanese, usually conducted in honor of Guru Rinpoche, Bhutan’s most significant Buddhist saint. These festivals play a significant role in preserving Bhutan’s rich and unique traditions. Every masked dance (Chaam) has a story, whether a moralistic drama or a dance to ward off evil.
Check out these 6 unconventional Bhutanese festivals that the world is unaware of.
1. Thimphu Tsechu
Tsechu means ‘tenth day,’ celebrated every year in Bhutan to honor Guru Padmasambhava, who incorporated a tantric type of Buddhism into the kingdom in the eighth century. The tsechu is held in several regions in various formats, but the Thimphu Tsechu is perhaps the most important as it is one of the Bhutan beautiful places.
Tsechu is celebrated for three days, with thousands of people traveling to the city to join in the festivities. The Tashichho Dzong’s courtyard hosts the tshechu, including religious events, spiritual dances, and the best local food. It’s also the most important event on the Bhutanese calendar, so planning a vacation to Bhutan around this time of year is a terrific idea. October is the best time of the year to visit Bhutan and experience the most popular festivals in Bhutan.
2. Sakteng Tsechu
The Sakteng Tsechu is the place to go if you want to see Bhutan in its purest form. The Sakteng teschu, a spectacular three-day festival held by the semi-nomadic Brokpa group, is all about joy and adoration.
The celebration, which takes place in the Sakten Valley in eastern Bhutan, features plenty of traditional costumes and liters of ara, the native wine. The Brokpas also perform a wide range of traditional and indigenous dances, such as the Ache Lhamo and Yak Dance.
The festival takes place in June; however, the date varies yearly depending on the Bhutanese calendar. Get in touch with Norbu Bhutan, one of the best tour operators in Bhutan, to decide the best time of the year to visit Bhutan.
3. Jambay Lhakhang Drup
The Jambay Lhakhang Drup in Bumthang, one of the most famous places of Bhutan, is the event to go to if you’re seeking a little adventure. The Drup is held in Guru’s honor, and there are 2 highlights. First is the Mewang (fire ceremony) and Terchaam (Dance of Treasure), which involve naked dances. October and early November is the best month to go to Bhutan.
4. Punakha Drubchen
The Drubchen is the celebration of victory, peace, and stability. During the Drubchen, you will also witness soldiers and pazaps clad in combat gear reenacting the war with Tibet.
Punakha Tsechu is followed by the Drubchen, giving you two reasons to see the unconventional Bhutanese festivals. March is the best time of the year to visit Bhutan if you want to witness the Punakha Drubchen.
5. Black Necked Crane Festival
A family-friendly festival with a conservation theme. The yearly entrance of these endangered birds to the Phobjikha Valley coincides with the Black-Necked Crane Festival that takes place in the courtyard of Gangtey Goemba.
Witness crane masked dances and environmental-themed songs performed by school children. The festival takes place in November, making it the best time of the year to visit Bhutan.
6. Paro Tsechu
Paro Tsechu is considered the most spectacular festival in Bhutan. Masked monks and people perform traditional dances and songs in vividly colored costumes, while atsara dressed in humorous masks with protruding red noses entertain a large crowd. On the last day of the tsechu, a gigantic silk thangka is unveiled to bless the onlookers.
April is the best time of the year to visit Bhutan, especially if you want to experience the glorious Paro Tsechu.
Get in touch with the best tour operators in Bhutan today and choose the best time of the year to visit Bhutan. Our team of experts will help you choose the best time of year to visit Bhutan and come up with a personalized itinerary.