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snowcat-photo-logo-square-no-text header-guides-image Bhutan Festival Holidays

 Bhutan Festivals

 

Bhutan is renowned for its colourful festivals. Some Bhutan festivals are now very well known amongst travelling circles and have become very popular tourist attractions too as a result. Paro and Thimpu festivals in particular. For these festivals hotels and flights to Bhutan are often fully booked up to a year in advance. Other Bhutan festivals remain a much more local affair and present a more intimate experience for the discerning traveller to Bhutan.

 

For any of our Bhutan holidays, you may wish to include a festival or two! To help you decide which Bhutan festival you'd like to experience, when and where they happen we've created this special festivals of Bhutan information page.

 

Whilst Bhutan festival holidays have now very much become a part of the mass market tour operator scene, it's still possible to experience several lesser known Bhutanese festivals without the tourist crowds.

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What's On and When - Bhutan Festivals Calendar

Punakha Dromche

Punakha Tshechu

Dakpa Kora

Paro Tshechu

Rhododendron Festival

Bhutan Emblem Bhutan Emblem Bhutan Emblem Bhutan Emblem Bhutan Emblem

When: early March    Duration: 3 Days

Taking place in the Punakha Dzong Courtyard, this festival is unique with a "Serda", a magnificent procession re-enacting the 17th Century war with Tibet

Follows Punakha Dromche at the same location. Introduced in 2005 to preseve the noble deeds of Zhabdrung Rimpoche in prayer and pilgrimage.

Way over in the far east of Bhutan in Trashiyangste, this and other local festivals at other times is "off the tourist map" stuff that takes place at the Chorten here.

Colourful and vibrant the Paro festival attracts the Bhutanese faithful from afar as well as hordes of tourists too. A huge Thangka is displayed on the final day.

At the Lamperli Gardens (90 mins from Thimpu) beneath the Dochu La Mountain Pass, this is a an eco-tourism event for nature lovers

When: early March    Duration: 3 Days

When: mid-April  Duration: 1 Day

When: mid-April  Duration: 5 Days

When: mid-April  Duration: 3 Days

Dancers-Thimpu Tsechu-Bhutan Festivals Masutaki Festival Bumthang-Bhutan Festivals Achara & Bhutanese Lady-Bhutan Festivals Masked Dancer-Wangdue Phodrang - Bhutan Festivals Black Necked Crane Festival-Bumthang- Bhutan Festivals

Bhutan Festivals Guide

Listed below is a selection of the many festivals that take place throughout the year across Bhutan. There are certainly far too many festivals for us to list them all here. But, we've featured them all on the Bhutan Festivals Calendar. If the sound of an "off the tourist map" festival is appealing to you, or you'd like to find out how you can plan your Bhutan Holiday to include a festival,  then do please contact us for more. The precise dates for each festival is shown on our calendar. These dates are usually a somewhat auspicious matter and whilst some have become tourist spectacles they are of religious significance and for the Bhutanese first and foremost, it's not always possible to know when they will be exactly too far in advance.

Haa Summer Festival

Bhutan Emblem

When: early July    Duration: 1 Day

At Ha township nestled in the pristine Haa Valley  this annual festival is a lively affair celebrating nomadic lifestyles, unique Bhutanese cuisine, traditional sports, songs and dance and with lots of "Ara", a local spirit

Thimpu Tshechu

Bhutan Emblem

When: early Oct    Duration: 3 Days

Probably the biggest and most popular festival in Bhutan. Masked dancers, jesters, thousands of locals from neighbouring Dzongkhas and lots of tourists amass in Thimpu.

Thimpu Dromchoe

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When: late Sept   Duration: 1 Day

Precedes Thimpu Tsechu and dates back to the 17th Century. The dromchoe is the only day of what is a 4 day festival open to the public & celebrates sacred dances dedicated to Pelden Lhamo, protector deity of Bhutan.

Wangdue Tshechu

Bhutan Emblem

When: late Sept  Duration: 4 Days

With locals from  nearby Punakha and Thimpu attending, this Wangdue Phodrang  festival near Punakha of revelry and  merry making. Known for Raksha Mangcham-the Dance of the Ox.

Gangtey Tshechu

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When: early Oct   Duration: 3 Days

Held in the courtyard of the Gangtey Gompa, there are sacered mask and folk dances (some unique to Gangtey). A very scenic festival location.

Black Necked Crane

Bhutan Emblem

When: Mid Nov    Duration: 1 Day

Celebrated at Gangtey Gompa, this annual festival honours not only  the arrival of the sacred Black Necked Crane, but also serves as a conservation initiative. Dancers dress as Cranes and the local kids bring songs.

Trongsa Tshechu

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When: late Dec     Duration: 3 Days

Trongsa is the sacred heart of Bhutan and this is the grandest of several festivals that take place here. Traditional dances and the unfurling of the sacred Thongdrol are some of the many spectacles to witness.

Chomolhari Festival

Bhutan Emblem

When: mid Oct   Duration: 2 Days

This is a rather different affair. It's a celebration of the mountain communities that live beneath Chomolhari and the Snow Leopard. Not easy to get to though. A trek to the foot of Chomolhari is required! Highly recommended if you can though.

Jakhar Tshechu

Bhutan Emblem

When: late Oct  Duration: 3 Days

In the Bumthang Valley region, the Jakhar Dzong is the setting for this colourful festival of song and dance. Try "Chugo" when here, a dried cheese snack that's very popular with the locals.

Tamshing Phala Chhoepa

Bhutan Emblem

When: late Sept    Duration: 3 Days

Another Bumthang region festival taking place at the Tamshing Lhakang. The monastery setting of the Nyingma sect is wonderful and of great cultural significance.

Masutaki Festival

Bhutan Emblem

When: late Aug  Duration: 2 Days

This Bumthang region Festival at Ura Gorund marks the start of Mushroom season! Great for song, dance, Masutaki food specialities and for an insight into Bhutanese village life. The stunning Ura Valley is a suitable backdrop for this fascinating event.

Jambay Lhakang Drup

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When: early Nov   Duration: 5 Days

Once again in the Bumthang Valley area at Jambay Lhakang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan this is one of the most spectacular of all Bhutan festivals. The ritualistic, naked fire dance is a real highlight. Definitely one to think about including.

Druk Wangyel Tshechu

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When: mid Dec    Duration: 1 Day

An experience like no other and one that truly exemplifies Bhutanese culture and traditions. Introduced in 2011, this event celebrates a 2003 victory against Indian insurgents. The location? The stunning Dochu La with panoramic Himalayan views too.

Pemagatshel Tshechu

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When: late Nov   Duration: 3 Days

Way "off the map", attending this religious festival in itself is believed to earn you merit and the Bhutanese travel great distances to be part of this one. So will you! For the intrepid adventurer Cham dances, song and more await in the lands of the Tshanglas.

Ura Yakchoe

Bhutan Emblem

When: mid May    Duration: 3 Days

Three days of mask dances and a procession carrying an image of Chana Dorji (Vajrapani) from the nearby Gaden Lhakhang in the Bumthang region down to the main lhankhang. The eve of the festival sees the frantic brewing of sinchhang (a spirit distilled from millet, wheat or rice) and a late-night exorcism.

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