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One of the biggest festivals in the country is the Thimphu Tshechu. This festival is held in the capital city for three days beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar. This Tshechu is witnessed by thousands of people many of which travel from neighboring Dzongkhags (districts) to attend the festivities. The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.
The Thimphu Tsechu was established by the 4th Temporal Ruler, Gyalsee Tenzin Rabgay in 1867. On that time the Tshechu consisted of only a few dances being performed strictly by monks. These were the Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground), and the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities). In the 1950s the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks). These additions added colour and variation to the festival without compromising its spiritual significance. Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) are enjoyed because they are similar to stage-theater.
To farmers, the Tshechu is also seen as a break from farm life. Its an occasion to celebrate, receive blessings and pray for health and happiness.
Thimphu Festival Tour Itinerary
- Join in with locals in a special occasion of celebration, blessings and socialising.
- Witness sacred dances and rituals performed by monks and laymen in elaborate, colorful costumes.
- Discover some of the most sacred Buddhist monasteries and temples in the Himalaya.