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FESTIVALS:

The festivals are one of the most joyous occasion in a Bhutanese life, we wait all year round for the Tshechu to begin, this is the time when folks dress in their finest clothes to attend them, it is also the most popular time for tourists.

The dzongs come to life with colour, music and dancing as valley dwellers and town folks join together to exercise evil spirits and rejoice in a new harvest. Rare masked and sword dances and other rituals are performed in the dzong's courtyard and temples. Tourists are allowed into the dzongs to watch the spectacle, but not the inner sanctuaries.

Photography should always be discreet. One is generally allowed to take photographs at Tshechus but not at Dromches.

Most of the dances date back from beyond the middle ages and are only performed once or twice each year. Each dance has its own spiritual importance and can be performed by monks or lay village elders dressed in bright costumes. Certain festivals end with the unveiling and worship of huge religious appliques or Thongdrels. The moment of the unveiling is shrouded in secrecy and creates great excitement among all the participants.

Thimphu and Paro festivals are the most popular for tourists as they are the most accessible. There are other regional Dromches and Tshechus around the year, taking place in different localities of the kingdom, which are equally fascinating. The Tshechus at Bumthang is well known for taking place almost entirely during the evening and containing exciting fire dances.

Festival dates for 2002:

SL# FESTIVAL PLACE DATES
01 PUNAKHA DROMCHE PUNAKHA FEB. 17-21
02 CHORTEN KORA TASHIYANGTSI FEB.27 AND MAR 13
03 GOMKORA TRASHIGANG MARCH 22-24
04 CHHUKHA TSECHU CHHUKHA MARCH 22-24
05 PARO TSECHU PARO MARCH 24-28
06 URA TSECHU BUMTHANG APRIL 23-27
07 NIMALUNG TSECHU BUMTHANG JUNE 18 —20
08 KURJEY TSECHU BUMTHANG JUNE 20
09 WANGDUE TSECHU WANGDIPHODRANG SEPT.14-16
10 TAMSHING P. CHOEPA BUMTHANG SEPT. 15-17
11 THIMPHU DRUPCHEN THIMPHU SEPT. 11-15
12 THIMPHU TSHECHU THIMPHU SEPT .16-18
13 TANGBI MANI BUMTHANG SEPT. 20-22
14 JAMBAY LHAKHANG BUMTHANG OCT. 21-25
15 PAKAR TSECHU BUMTHANG OCT. 22-25
16 NALAKHAR TSECHU BUMTHANG NOV. 19-21
17 MONGAR TSECHU MONGAR NOV. 11-14
18 PEMAGATSEL TSECHU PEMAGATSEL NOV. 11-14
19 TRASHIGANG TSECHU TRASHIGANG NOV. 12-15
20 TRONGSA TSECHU TRONGSA DEC 13-15
21 LHUNTSI TSECHU LHUNTSI DEC.13-15
       

BHUTAN MANDALA TOURS & TREKS
P.O. Box 397, Thimphu, Bhutan
Telp # 975-2-324842 or 323676 (office)
Fax # 975-2-323675 or 321816
Email: mandala@druknet.net.bt