Bhutan is a small yet beautiful country nestled in the Himalayas. It is a beautiful pristine country with rich flora fauna as well as Tibetian culture that leaves everyone travelling to this region spellbound.
Bhutan hosts annual Dance festival known as Tsechus festival also a religious one. For the locals, it is the festival of socializing, entertaining, seeking blessings and to wash their sins away. For the tourists and travellers Festival, it is a wonderful opportunity to peek and involve in Bhutanese Tibetian culture and celebrations.
We would like to introduce you to everything about the festival, places to visit and ways to reach, for you to enjoy Bhutan and Tsechus festival at their best. Visit Bhutan Tour packages & Honeymoon Packages
How to reach Bhutan:
With the improved facilities and development in sustainable ways, Bhutan is easily reachable now through different means of transport.
By Air- International airport to reach Bhutan is Paro International Airport located at a height of 7300 ft above sea level. International flights flying from Delhi, Kolkata, Bangkok, Bagdogra, Dhaka, Bodh Gaya, Kathmandu, Singapore, Guwahati, and Mumbai.
By Road– Indian tourists can choose to drive from Kolkata. There are also buses plying from Esplanade Station in Kolkata to Phuentsholing which is quite a comfortable ride. Siliguri in India is connected by road too which takes about 4 hours of the journey.
When and Where is the Tshechu Festival celebrated in Bhutan:
The tsechus festival usually lasting for four or five days is celebrated on the tenth day of a month of Tibetan lunar calendar which is also the birthday of Guru Rimpoche. However, the specific month of the Tshechu changes at different dzongs and also from year to year. The most popular tsechus festival for tourists take place in Paro during spring, Thimphu, and Bumthang in autumn.
Paro Tshechu is held in the spring months which is usually in late March or April. This is one of the most popular tsechus festival in the country.
Thimphu Tshechu is held in the autumn months usually later September or early October.
How is Tsechus Festival Celebrated:
Cham Dances: As the name goes highlight of this festival is sacred Cham dances. These dances are performed by monks and Laity dressed in lavish costumes. These performances also go by titles such as- “Dance of the Noblemen and the Ladies”, “Dance of the Terrifying Deities”, etc. These dances are believed to be sacred as they depict the glory of goodness over evil. Bhutanese also perform these because of a belief that they are blessed, purified and enlighted by observing these dances which portray events taken place during the life of Padmasambhava. Dances are supplemented by folk songs and music. Dancers normally wear masks that depict animals, fearsome deities, and various manifestations of Guru Rinpoche.
Apsaras: They are the clown figures who explain the meaning of such dances to audiences, they bring the life into the festival with their actions and movements. Their masks have a hawkish nose, mischievous grin and big phallus on the top, they can be sarcastic and disturbing but without them, the festival seems bland. The meaning of Atsara is the holy teacher which is derived from the Sanskrit word Acharya.
The Thangka: This is the final act of the tsechus festival which involves unfurling of a huge Thongdrol on the side of a Dzong, which takes place in the early hours of the morning. To witness this event is considered extremely sacred by the Bhutanese. People are dressed in their finest clothes and come from the corner of Bhutan to receive blessings from the world’s largest Thongdrol which represents Guru Rinpoche.
So, get gearing to witness this exotic festival, but make sure not to miss out on other places to visit around the tranquil country too. We bring you the list of one of the most amazing destinations to visit in Bhutan.
1. Rinpung Dzong: This is known as Fortress on a Heap of Jewels, known for the Bhutanese architecture and traditions. This area is filled with temples and shrines some of which are Sandalwood stupa, Monk’s assembly hall, protector’s shrine, Kungarwa many more. Tshechu is also held in Rinpung Dzong which remains the highlight of the attraction. This temple has beautiful wall paintings related to Buddhism.
2. Punakha Dzong: Do not miss this beautiful dzong during your Bhutan sightseeing tour which speaks about traditions and stories of Buddhist culture. Punakha is the winter capital of the country and the height is ideal not to fall sick because of altitude or due to shortage of oxygen. So, Paro Taktsang or tiger’s nest are ideal places to trek or hike around the region even for the beginners. This is considered the most beautiful Dzong in the country and also the second-largest one.
3. Dochula Pass: This is located on the way to Punakha and Thimpu which is adorned with 108 Stupas as memorials for the Bhutanese soldiers who died in a war against the insurgents from India. These Stupas and Gangkar Puensum peak in the backdrop makes the Dochula Pass one of the most beautiful ones.
4. Tiger’s Nest: This is one such attraction that comes up on everybody’s mind while thinking about Bhutan. This is known to be the sacred monastery of Guru Rinpoche. Legends has it that Guru Rinpocherode to this place on a tigress’s back to suppress a local demon rode to this place on a tigress’s back to defeat a local demon and meditated for 3 months. One of the most beautiful places which hangs on a cliff with lush green forests all around is this Tiger’s Nest.
5. Chele La Pass: One of the most popular places among the tourists in Bhutan is Chele la Pass which is en-route to the Haa Valley in Paro. This is located 13k ft above the sea level. This pass has beautiful views of Himalayan Ranges all around and the Mount Jomolhari which is also considered sacred. Haa summer festival is also another attraction of this place.
6. Statue of Buddha Dordenma: This 169 feet tall statue of Buddha is a major attraction of Thimpu which is seen from anywhere in the city. This gold and bronze statue is built at the foot of the hills in Thimpu. Statue also is known as KunzangPhodrang signifies the prevailing religion of Bhutan. There are so many more statues further within thus huge bronzed statue of Buddha considered to be sacred and visited by Buddhists from around the country.
7. Chomolhari: This spot is known for one of the most challenging treks of Bhutan. This trek is for the real adventurers lasting 7-15 days which can get difficult but is equally rewarding with enchanting views forests, monasteries, and the small villages. The major attractions of this trek are glacial lakes, the snow-capped mountains and excellent views of the landscapes.
8. Norzin Lam Street: This street is filled with varied options for shopping such as woollen clothes, crafts, souvenirs, and local wine. You will find many merchandises that signify Bhutan, taste the local foods and cuisines around the restaurants in this artery of Thimpu. Book Family Tour Packages
9. Main Street: Take a stroll on this Main street of Paro for admiring the various shops and the mountain in the backdrop. You can choose to buy Kiran the traditional dress of the country or even Bhutanese stamps for your collection from these streets. Tourists will find everything on this street amusing and attracting to take back with them as a souvenir.