Thimphu Festival Tour

Duration : 5 Days

Thimphu Festival: The Best Reason to Visit Bhutan

Festivals, or Tshechus, are vibrant and happy affairs in the Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan. Held annually in various temples, dzongs and monasteries throughout the country, Tshechus honour the birthday of Guru Rimpoche – the saint who first introduced the country to Buddhism in the 8th century. Although the exact month varies from place to place, with Tshechu translating to ‘tenth day’, these events are always celebrated on the tenth day of a month in the lunar calendar.

It’s believed that everyone must attend a Tshechu at least once in their lifetime. Watching the festivities is considered by many to be a blessing and essential in order to gain enlightenment. One of the most popular Tshechus in Bhutan is the Thimphu Festival, which was first established in 1670 by the fourth Temporal Ruler Tenzing Rabgye. Attracting thousands of people from all over the country, this colourful festival is arguably the best reason to travel to Bhutan.

Thimphu Tshechu Festival – Highlights:

  • Witness the spectacular Bhutan Thimphu festival.
  • Discover an ancient Traditions and Culture.
  • Meet Local People.
  • Visit Ancient Dzongs, Temples and Monasteries.
  • Scenic Landscapes.
  • Pristine villages and Farm houses.
  • Witness Archery matches.

You will be received by the Representative from Isolated Bhutan Travels at the airport and drive you to the hotel. After lunch, visit the Ta dzong, an ancient watchtower, which was built in 1656 and renovated in 1968 and converted into a National Museum of Bhutan, then visit Rimpung Dzong (Paro Dzong) built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Dzong presently houses administrative offices of Paro District and Monastery. Then visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest Buddist temples which was built in 659 AD by a Tibetan king Tshongchen Gyampo. In the evening stroll around the tiny town of Paro. Dinner and Overnight in a Hotel.

After breakfast, an excursion to Tiger’s Nest Monastery: A short drive of around 25 minutes from main town of paro takes you to satsam chorten, the trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and have tea with cookies at Taktsang cafeteria and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Tiger’s Nest monastery. The history dates back from 8th century when guru Rinpochhe, a tantric master flew to this place on a back of a flying tiger, said to be his favorite Tibetan consort known as khandu Yeshey Chogyal and meditated in a cave nearby, but the temple was just built in 17th century by the penlop (governer) of paro Gyaltse Tenzin Rbgey; this incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 600 meters into the valley below.

After lunch, visit the Drukgyel Dzong, which was built in 1644 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders but now it is just the ruins because the dzong was complectly burned down by the fire caused by butter lamp in 1951, the dzong name Drukgyel means indeed “ victorious Druk “. The Dzong was used as an administrative center until 1951. After that drive to Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in the Hotel.

After breakfast, witness the Thimphu Festival which is going to be held in Tashichho Dzong. After lunch, if you want you can again witness the Thimphu Festival OR you can visit National Memorial Chorten, which was built in 1974 by the mother of our third king in the memory of third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

The paintings and statues in the temple are dedicated to the third king, Then visit the tallest statue of Buddha (In the world) which is of 51 meters tall, Followed by Mini Zoo where you will get chance to see our National Animal Takin and than finally visit weekend market and stroll around Thimphu City for shopping. Dinner and overnight stay in Hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Punakha valley via Dochula Pass (3140 Meters). We stop for a while at dochula pass where 108 stupas are built together to take photographs and if the weather is clear in far distance you will get chance to see the higher Himalayas from Dochula pass. When you reach punakha valley, visit Chimi Lhakhang which is also known as the “Temple of Fertility” built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley who is popularly known as “The Devine Mad Man” in 15th century.

After that, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the capital of Bhutan. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche who visited this place in 8th century, who predicted that, a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like a sleeping elephant. There was a smaller building here called Dzong Chu (Small Dzong) that housed a statue of Buddha. It is sad that Zhabdrung when he visited this place he mate with a Bhutanese architecture called Zowe Palep, so ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping; the Zhabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri (Paradise) and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche.

From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang which means “Palace of Great Happiness”. The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Chief Abbot (Je-Khenpo) and King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk convened the First National Assembly here in 1952. After that we will have a lunch at the restaurant nearby and drive back to Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Early morning, drive to the Paro Airport and Farewell.

What happens at the festival?

For weeks ahead of the festival, local monks prepare themselves with meditations and deep prayer. During the three-day-long celebrations, the monks then perform a series of highly stylised dances wearing colourful masks and costumes. Each masked dance has a story or special meaning behind it and is often based on stories of the life of Guru Rimpoche. Thimphu Festival is therefore a rich historical tradition through which the Bhutanese pass on their mythology, values and spiritual beliefs.

This grand event gathers the largest audience of all Bhutan’s Tshechus. And entire communities come together in their finest clothing to witness these mystical dances, socialise and receive blessings. Various other exciting cultural displays take place around the city of Thimphu, making this undoubtedly the highlight of the capital’s cultural calendar.

What is included or excluded in Thimphu Festival?



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