• Hemanta Budhathoki
  • Last Updated on Feb 27, 2024

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Bhutan is following Tibetan Buddhism. It has got several festivals which are based on typical cultures. Foreign visitor have good option to meet major events during their Bhutan Tour. It may be a good combination trip in 3 Himalayas countries in your one tour plan. Nepal Tibet and Bhutan

Nomad festival - February 23, in Bumthang
The annual nomad festival is held in Bumthang in central of Bhutan. Bumthang is about an eight-hour drive from the capital city of Bhutan. This gathering brings the nomads of the northeastern Himalayan frontiers in an unforgettable celebration of their unique cultures and traditions. The festival is an ideal platform to witness and experience the unique tradition and way of life of different highlander communities in the country.

Bhutan international marathon - March 5, Gasa
The Bhutan international marathon is an annual event organized by the Bhutan Olympic Committee. The marathon begins in Gasa and winds up at Punakha Dzong. Athletes run a total of 26.2miles or 42 kilometers through the stunning landscape, spanning rich rural countryside arcane settlements and lush vegetation. Of late, the event has started attracting athletes from all over the world.

Sakteng Festival - June 12-16, Sakteng Lhakhang - Trashigang
The Sakteng Tshechu is held for three days each year at the Sakten Lhakhang situated just next to the village. The festival is a lively, colorful, and jovial event as the Brokpas are all dressed in their traditional finery and enjoying the celebration with rounds of Ara (local win). The rare Yak dance and Ache Lhamo dance are performed during this festival. These dances are unique to Brokpas culture and are quite distinctive from the usual mask dances in another part of the country.

Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition - June 4: Paro
The Second Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition, held at the lovely Ugyen peri palace grounds at Paro, in majestic setting boasting of the grand view of Paro Rinpung Dzong and Ta Dzong, is hugely popular with innumerable visitors from Bhutan and aboard. The wonderful event is organized by the Ministry of Agriculture, under the Royal command from his majesty, the king to initiate the exhibition as an annual event. His majesty's message at the Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition was:

"Where we live must be clean, safe, organized, and beautiful, for national integrity, national pride, and for our bright future. This too is nation-building."

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Embracing the spirit of His Majesty's profound message, the Royal Bhutan Exhibition is organized as a significant event, with the objectives to foster a sense of appreciation for beautiful surroundings and to encourage horticulture and floriculture based economies. Private nurseries participate in the exhibition and sell flowers and plants to an increasingly enthusiastic population.

Last year's event was dedicated to her majesty the Gyaltsuen, and inaugurated on June 4, coinciding with her majesty's birthday. A collection of delightful photographs from the exhibition should help our readers experience some of the beauty and magic of the event! The Royal Bhutan Flower Exhibition maintains a page on Facebook that has regular updates and information on the event complemented with lots of pictures.

Mask dance is the major activity during the festival in Bhutan. The dances re-enact significant spiritual events from the past and are mostly performed by monks in brilliant costumes. They take the roles of wrathful and compassionate deities, heroes, demons, and animals and are accompanied by blaring horns, booming drums, and clashing cymbals as they whirl and leap around the temple courtyard.

Chha Festival - August 15-19: Lhuentse
Chha is celebrated every year by the people of phagidoog,   tagmochhu Kamdhar, Kisumphel, Khaashaling, and takila for four days. The festival starts from the 13th day of the 7th month and ends on the 16th day of 7 months of the Bhutanese calendar. Chha is offering made to the local deities and originated from bonism religion. During the festival, people of the 6 villages gather to make officers to local deities such as wokhor Zhelngo, Kharshong Zhelngo, Chhanmi, Gyem, Lham.

 TOUR OF THE DRAGON - September 5: Bhutan to Thimpu
Considering one of the most challenging one-day events in the world, the race covers 268 kilometers of an absolutely stunning Himalayan landscape as it takes cyclists from central indomitable mountains, travel through pristine, virgin forests, over babbling streams and raging rivers and across four high mountain passes. Set amid the high mountains of Bhutan, the race covers elevations ranging from 1200-3,340 meters. The tour of the Dragon is a trial that no self-respecting cyclist will want to pass up.

The Royal Highlander Festival is organized in Laya from October 16-18. Driven by the underlying goal of making the highlands a vibrant and thriving economy the festival aims to promote the sustainable livelihood of highlanders; showcase highlander's innovation, and exhibit the highlands as the pride of Bhutan. The festival is a landmark activity of Gasa Dzongkhag's vision of good to great Gasa. The Good to Great Gasa is a vision inspired by his Majesty's passion to make country great. Last year's festival also celebrated the birth of HRH the Gyalsey; 400 years of Shabdrung Rimpoche and Rabjung birth year of Guru rinpoche. The festival aims to bring together highlanders from other parts of Bhutan and other countries to exchange values, knowledge, skill, and best practices related to highlands and yak farming.

Jomolhari Mountain festivals Is an exquisitely themed two-day event celebrated at the of mt.jomolkhari, by communities located along with one of the most scenic trekking routes in Bhutan. The festival celebrates the culture of the communities living together with the natural wonders that surround them: one, in particular, the elusive, yet elegant snow leopard.

The annual black-necked crane festival is celebrated at the courtyard of Gangtey Geonpa in Phobjikha valley. The festival is an occasion for the locals to rejoice and celebrate the arrival of this endangered and majestic bird which becomes an inseparable part of their daily lives during the winter months. The annual black-necked crane is organized to generate awareness and understanding of the importance of conserving the endangered black-necked cranes.

The festival includes cultural programs such as folk songs and dances (some with black-necked crane themes) and mask dances performed by the local people, crane dance, and environment conservation-themed dramas and songs children.

This is a unique festival as it is fully performed by The Royal Bhutan Army rather than monks or laymen. The Dochula Druk Wagyel festival is held as a tribute to the wise leadership of the fourth king, his majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck. It also celebrates the continuous efforts of the Royal Bhutan Army in protecting the sovereignty and the stability of the country.

Hemanta Budhathoki

Hemanta Budhathoki

Hemanta Budhathoki is team leader of Nepal Highland Trekking and travel company. 

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