Best Time to Travel to Bhutan

In Bhutan, the most celebrated festival would most definitely be the local tshechu, derived from terms for date (tshe) and the number 10 (chutham). Appropriately, a tshechu is conducted on and around the auspicious tenth day (on which Guru Rinpoche was born) of a selected month (according to the lunar calendar), once every year.

The tshechu is essentially a religious event. The high-points of such festivals are the masked dances performed by both monks and lay men according to steps meticulously choreographed by Buddhist masters in the distant past. These dances, loaded with religious symbolism are memorable aural and visual experiences.

The atsaras (clowns), performing seemingly lewd but symbolically philosophical antics, pass on divine messages and blessings, at the same time ensuring that smiles and laughter do not run short. The atsaras are not the clowns, as they are perceived to be, but the acharyas, the learned ones, who pass on wisdom to the viewers through their jokes. Modern atsaras also perform short skits to disseminate health and social awareness messages.

It is believed that everyone must attend a tshechu and witness the mask dances at least once to receive blessings and wash away their sins. Every mask dance has a special meaning or a story behind it.

The best known tshechus are those of Paro and Punakha, held in spring and that of Thimphu in fall. Punakha and Jambay Lhakhang Druchens are also equally popular festivals. Almost every dzong or lhakhang celebrates tshechu.

Testimonials Sometimes a packaged holiday comes so much with a predefined set of takeaways, but The Destination Bhutan offered so much freedom of choice that it did not feel like a packaged holiday at all.

KH Zaman
Buffalo, New York

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