Famous Festivals Of Bhutan For Every Traveler

Bhutan is overwhelming with cultural activities, no matter when you plan to visit the region. In particular, visit during festivals to enjoy a colorful phase of your vacation. Every month, Bhutan holds at least one cultural festival or celebration. According to experts, it is best to visit Bhutan during any local festival. However, not all festivals are celebrated with the same zeal. Here are the top ten festivals in Bhutan that are best visited to enjoy a colorful vacation.

1. Thimphu Tshechu

This is the iconic celebration of the land. This festival brings thousands of locals together for this three-day festival. Locals wear traditional attire and enjoy dancing and other cultural activities in Tahichhodzong fortress’ courtyard. The cultural activities include the iconic masked dance. The festival has been in their culture since 19th century. Top dances to enjoy in this festival are 21 black hat dance, dance of angry deities, dance of cremation ground and so on. This festival is celebrated on the 10th day of 8th month of lunar calendar, which falls in September.


Suggested Tour For the celebration of this festival season : 4 Days Bhutan Tour

Top festival attractions of Thimphu Tshechu

  • Exploring Tahichhodzong fortress of 17th century
  • Watching tantric Buddhist rituals
  • Masked dance, music performances and others
  • Shopping
  • Trying out traditional costumes

Date of upcoming celebration: Sep 19-21 2018; Oct 07-09 2019

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  1. 5 days highlights of Bhutan – covering Paro, Thimphu and Punakha
  2. 8 days Bhutan Itinerary – The Himalayan Splendor – covering Paro, Thimphu, Trongsa, Bumthang and Punakha

Also Read : What Are The Top Things To Do In Bhutan

2. Paro Tshechu

This is the spring festival, where you can find monks and laymen celebrating the festival, together. Locals wear very colorful dresses and some wear costumes too. Masks are worn to represent demons and Gods, when they enact mythological stories of Buddhism. The best part of the festival is the display of a religious scroll, which is around four-storey high and 350 years old. This festival is usually celebrated in March.

Suggested Tour for Complete Buddhist Pilgrimage : 14 Days India Nepal Buddhist Tour

Top festival attractions of Paro Tshechu

  • Enjoying traditional dance, music and other cultural celebrations
  • Explore the central valleys of Bhutan
  • Enjoy farmhouse visits and excursions through the village
  • Visit the markets for shopping experiences
  • Monks teach meditation and traditional cooking during this festival. Take part in those workshops

Date of upcoming celebration: Mar 17-21 2019

Must Read : Best Attractions and Places to See in Paro

3. Jambay Lhakhang Drup

This is no different from the other cultural festivals. It is enjoyed with mask dances, rituals and other ceremonies. However, this festival is celebrated in a grander version than other festivals. This festival’s iconic celebration is the fire ceremony, in which the locals run beneath a flaming gate, made with dry grasses. Dance of Treasure is another unique attraction of the festival. In this festival, the masked dancers perform an unique dance at the middle of the night, naked. This dance is said to bless infertile women to bear children.


Top festival attractions of Jambay Lhakang Drup

  • Enjoying traditional dance, music and other cultural celebrations
  • Enjoy unique local blessing like naked dance, fire blessing and others
  • Explore Jambay Lhakhang temple during the festival

Date of upcoming celebration: 24-28 Oct 2018

Suggested Tour : 3 Nights 4 days Bhutan tour for tourists

4. Punakha Drubchen

This festival is a re-enactment of 17th century battle of Bhutan against Tibet. The local militiamen of Bhutan dress up as either parties of the war and re-enact the war. This festival is celebrated to remember the bravery of small Bhutan villages, who came forward to drive away the Tibetan army. Punakha Tshechu festival is celebrated immediately after this celebration. Tourists are not generally allowed to be a part of this enactment.

Top festival attractions of Punakha Drubchen

  • Explore Punakha Dzong complex
  • Take part in Buddhist sermons conducted by the monks
  • Enjoy traditional dances and rituals

Date of upcoming celebration: 12-14 Feb 2019

5. Haa Summer Festival

This festival is famous for two important elements. The first is the stunning location in which the festival is celebrated. This festival is celebrated in the lush valley of Haa, where you can enjoy the colorful culture of nomadic herders. The second element of this festival is the traditional culture, which is represented by this festival. Numerous local games are conducted during this festival. Tourists are also welcome to take part in local games like yak riding, dancing and others. A grand feast will be conducted during this festival and it is the best time to enjoy the local cuisine.


Top festival attractions of Haa Summer Festival

  • Watch flower exhibition
  • Enjoy folklores in the form of dance and music
  • Explore the valley, trek to nearby regions and enjoy the Paro Town
  • Taste the festive cuisine of Bhutan in feasts conducted during the festival. Also taste the local brew of the region
  • Stay at one of the local homes to enjoy the lifestyle of the land
  • Shop for artifacts

Date of upcoming celebration: 13 and 14 July 2019

6. Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu

The festival gets its name from the region where it is celebrated, Wangdue Phodrang. This festival is famous for local songs and ornamental speeches namedLozeys. This is an annual festival celebrated since 17th century. Numerous tourists visit Bhutan right in time for this festival to enjoy the Dance of Ox. This dance is said to ensure a blissful afterlife. You can also find numerous other celebrations during the three days’ time. The festival ends with unrolling gigantic religious scrolls.

Top festival attractions of Wangdue Phodrang Tshechu

  • Enjoying traditional dance, music and other cultural celebrations
  • Explore the Phobjikha Valley
  • Try the local cuisine and religious rituals

Date of upcoming celebration: 17-19 Sep 2018

Are you looking for more local destinations to cover during the festival? Try our 11 days Bhutan Itinerary An Enchanting Realm, covering Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Tronhsa, Gangtey, Wangdue Phodrang and Bumthang.

7. Sakteng Festival

This is the right time to visit Bhutan for religious trips. This festival is all about religion. The festival is celebrated in Sakten Valley of Eastern Bhutan. Locals visit this festival wearing traditional clothing. The visitors are served with ara, a local wine. You can find numerous dance performances during this festival. The best of all are the Yak dance and Ache Lhamo.


Top festival attractions of Sakteng Festival

  • Enjoying traditional dance, music and other cultural celebrations
  • Take part in the merry making with the locals
  • Try the local wine and cuisine

Date of upcoming celebration: 23-25 Sep 2018

8. Matsutake Festival

If you are a foodie, this is the right festival for you. This is the food festival of Bhutan, which attracts numerous tourists to this region. During this festival, you can taste numerous rare types of mushrooms, which are only found in Bhutan. During this festival, locals and tourists trek through the region to gather mushrooms. This festival is celebrated in Ura Valley and locals allow tourists to stay in their home, learn their traditional cooking process, family recipes and much more.

Also Read : Some of the most famous Bhutanese dishes

Top festival attractions of Matsutake Festival

  • Trek through the valley to spot mushrooms with locals
  • Take part in local celebrations
  • Try the local wine and cuisine

Date of upcoming celebration: 23-24 Aug 2019

9. Gomphu Kora Festival

This festival is celebrated in the eastern part of the country. The festival gets its name from an ancient meditation cave. It is said that the deity of Gomphu Kora (name of the region, where the festival is celebrated), defeated an evil spirit at the very location. You can find numerous mural paintings of 10th to 15th century AD. This festival is celebrated for three days, every year. The locals perform a circumambulation around the region. It is one of the very sacred festivals of Bhutan. Locals from different part of the country walk towards the region, to attend the festival.

Top festival attractions of Gomphu Kora Festival

  • Taste the immortality water, which trickles out of the cave (does not happen every year)
  • Circumambulate during night for a unique experience
  • Watch local marriages and other celebrations

Date of upcoming celebration: 14-16 Mar 2019

10. Merak Tshechu

This festival is celebrated in the lush Eastern part of Merak Valley. The valley lies 3000m above average sea level. This festival takes you as close to nature as possible. You can find a unique culture in this valley. The locals do not use currency. They make clothes out of wool of yak. This festival spans for three days and each day is filled with dances, folk music performances and others.


Must Read : How to Explore Bhutan in Just 10 Days

Things To Buy From Bhutan

Top festival attractions of Merak Tshechu

  • Enjoying traditional dance, music and other cultural celebrations
  • Take part in the merry making with the locals

Date of upcoming celebration: 17 Nov 2018

Get complete info : How To travel to Bhutan

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