• The Curious Traveler

A Guide to Bhutanese Festivals

The chance to attend a Bhutanese festival (tshechu) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity few outside the kingdom have. From the moment you enter the dzong courtyard, the energy is palpable as you find your place among locals dressed in their finest ghos and kiras, attending for both the religious merit and to join in the joyful celebration—as we are!

Bhutan custom tours to traditional Bhutanese festivals
Bhutan festive colors

The timing of festivals is based on the months of the Tibetan lunar calendar. Most are multi-day affairs and celebrate the great deeds of Guru Rinpoche, who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in the 8th century.

Events provide the opportunity for those living in small mountain towns and rural villages to meet up with one another and socialize, join together to exorcise evil spirits, rejoice in a new harvest, receive blessings, and wash away sins.

Monks and laypeople perform dances—each one has a special meaning or story behind it meant to teach something. Some are based on events from as far back as the 700s. Our Bhutanese guides are there to explain the significance of every festival element.

Aside from mask dances, there are sword dances, dramatic or comedic skits to highlight local initiatives, archery competitions, vendor stalls, and atsaras—jester-like characters who entertain the crowd and mystify evil spirits.

Festival Departures for 2023

Eastern Bhutan Revealed
March 13-25
Visit the Gayden Choedpa festival in Ura

October 16-28
Visit the Goenkar Tsechu festival in Khoma Village

Bhutan & Nepal: Himalayan Kingdoms Hiking
March 14-26
Visit the Paro Tshechu festival in Paro

Bhutan: Hidden Kingdom in the Himalayas
September 24-October 1
Visit the Terchen Drupchen festival in Paro

October 23-30
Visit the Tshepami Throngdrel festival in Paro

Bhutan: Spirituality & Wellness Journey
September 27-October 4
Visit the Terchen Drupchen festival in Paro

Hiking in the Peaceful Kingdom
October 25-November 5
Visit the Prakar Duechoe festival in the Chumney Valley


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