Festivals in the Land of the Thunder Dragon are rich and happy expressions of its ancient Buddhist culture. These festivals are held in all districts in honour of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century.
Tsechus are held on auspicious days and months in the Bhutanese calendar, and last up to four days in which a series of highly stylised masked dance rituals are performed.
Festivals are also a big family and social occasion. People dress up in their finest clothes and most resplendent jewelry of coral and turquoise. They pack picnic lunches in their traditional bamboo baskets and stay all day at the festivals which are usually held in the dzongs (fortresses) or at monasteries.
Behind the scenes, the monks prepare themselves for weeks ahead of the festival, involved in deep prayer and meditation prior to the festival. The monks perform special masked dances that are inspirations of enlightened beings in history; and the Bhutanese believe that watching these mystical dances is essential to gain enlightenment.
Paro and Thimphu Festivals are by far the most popular festivals in Bhutan. There are two main reasons why they are so popular. Firstly, they are located in the Western part of Bhutan, an hour drive away from the airport. So it is possible for you to do a four days visit just to attend the festival. If the festival is taking place in Eastern Bhutan, you would have to visit Bhutan for a minimum of 10 days. Secondly, Paro and Thimphu Festivals take place in spring and autumn respectively, 2 of the best seasons to visit Bhutan.
Three years ago, we would usually recommend travelers to books at least six months before their travel dates. With the growing number of hotels in Bhutan, we can usually accommodate travelers on last minute notice. However, do note that experienced guides are in high demand during this period. If you do have some flexibility with your travel schedule, we would recommend going for less popular festivals.
Tentative Festival Dates of 2017
|Name||Town||Start Date||End Date|
|Punakha Drubchen||Punakha||Mar 04, 2017||Mar 06, 2017|
|Punakha Tshechu||Punakha||Mar 07, 2017||Mar 09, 2017|
|Chhorten Kora||Trashi Yangtse||Mar 12, 2017||Mar 28, 2017|
|Tharpaling Thongdrol||Bumthang||Mar 12, 2017|
|Gasa Tshechu||Gasa||Apr 03, 2017||Apr 06, 2017|
|Zhemgang Tshechu||Zhemgang||Apr 04, 2017||Apr 07, 2017|
|GOMPHUKORA||Trashi Yangtse||Apr 04, 2017||Apr 06, 2017|
|Talo Tshechu||Punakha||Apr 04, 2017||Apr 06, 2017|
|Paro Tshechu||Paro||Apr 07, 2017||Apr 11, 2017|
|Chhukha Tshechu||Chukha||Apr 09, 2017||Apr 11, 2017|
|Rhododendron Festival||Thimphu||Apr 14, 2017||Apr 16, 2017|
|Domkhar Tshechu||Bumthang||May 05, 2017||May 07, 2017|
|Ura Yakchoe||Bumthang||May 07, 2017||May 10, 2017|
|Nimalung Tshechu||Bumthang||Jul 01, 2017||Jul 03, 2017|
|Kurjey Tshechu||Bumthang||Jul 03, 2017|
|Haa Summer Festival||Haa Valley||Jul 05, 2017|
|Mushroom Festival||Thimphu||Aug 15, 2017||Aug 16, 2017|
|Masutaki Mushroom Festival||Bumthang||Aug 23, 2017||Aug 24, 2017|
|Thimphu Drubchen||Thimphu||Sep 26, 2017||Sep 29, 2017|
|Wangdue Tshechu||Wangdue Phodrang||Sep 28, 2017||Sep 30, 2017|
|Tamshing Phala Chhoepa||Bumthang||Sep 29, 2017||Oct 01, 2017|
|Thimphu Tshechu||Thimphu||Sep 30, 2017||Oct 02, 2017|
|Gangtey Tshechu||Wangdue Phodrang||Oct 03, 2017||Oct 05, 2017|
|Thangbi Mani||Bumthang||Oct 04, 2017||Oct 06, 2017|
|Jumolhari Mountain Festival||Thimphu||Oct 14, 2017||Oct 15, 2017|
|Royal Highland Festival||Gasa||Oct 23, 2017||Oct 24, 2017|
|Jakar Tshechu||Bumthang||Oct 29, 2017||Oct 31, 2017|
|Dechenphu Tshechu||Bumthang||Oct 30, 2017|
|Jambay Lhakhang Drup||Bumthang||Nov 04, 2017||Nov 06, 2017|
|Prakhar Duchhoed||Bumthang||Nov 05, 2017||Nov 06, 2017|
|Black Necked Crane Festival||Wangdue Phodrang||Nov 11, 2017|
|Mongar Tshechu||Mongar||Nov 26, 2017||Nov 28, 2017|
|Pemagatshel Tshechu||Pemagatshel||Nov 26, 2017||Nov 28, 2017|
|Trashigang Tshechu||Trashigang||Nov 27, 2017||Nov 29, 2017|
|Jambay Lakhang Singye Cham||Bumthang||Dec 03, 2017|
|Nalakhar Tshechu||Bumthang||Dec 03, 2017||Dec 05, 2017|
|Druk Wangyel Tshechu||Thimphu||Dec 13, 2017|
|Trongsa Tshechu||Trongsa||Dec 26, 2017||Dec 28, 2017|
|Lhuentse Tshechu||Lhuentse||Dec 26, 2017||Dec 28, 2017|