Thimphu Tshechu Festival

Thimphu Tshechu Festival

Overview

Thimphu Tshechu is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan. This festival is held in Thimphu for 3 days beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. Thimphu Tsechu was initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, in 1867 and later some changes were introduced in the 1950s by the third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck.

This Thimphu Tshechu festival is witnessed by thousands of people from all over Bhutan. The actual Tshechu is preceded by several days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.

To Bhutanese farmers, the Thimphu Tshechu is also seen as a break from farm life. It is an annual social gathering where people dress in their finest clothing and jewelries and come to celebrate, receive blessings, and pray for health and happiness.

This trek brings you into closer contact with the local people and gives you an insight into the Bhutanese lives, beliefs and more.

During Thimphu Tshechu which is held at Tendrel Thang ( Festival Ground in front of Tashichhoedzong), the mask dances known as cham and folk dances are performed to bless onlookers, to teach them the Buddhist dharma, to protect them from misfortune, and to exorcise all evil. It is believed that merit is gained by attending these festivals. The dances invoke the deities to wipe out misfortunes, increase good luck and grant personal wishes.

The sacred Thongdrol of Guru Rinphoche is unfurled early in the morning on the last day of Thimphu Tshechu. It is believed that the Thongdroel is unveiled at dawn to bring blessings to all who view it.

Thimphu Tshechu Schedule: Oct 11-13, 2016

5 October 2016 Day 1 : Arrive Paro

6 October 2016 Day 2: Hike to Taktsang

7 October 2016 Day 3: Drive to Punakha

8 October 2016 Day 4: Visit Wangdi Teschu

9 October 2016 Day 5: Drive to Phojika valley

10 October 2016 Day 6: Sightseeing

11 October 2016 Day 7: Drive to Thimphu

12 October 2016 Day 8: Visit Thimphu Tsechu Festival

13 October  2016 Day 9: Transfer to airport for onward departure.

5 October 2016 Day 1 : Arrive Paro

Arrive Paro by Druk air  the only national carrier. The flight offers you beautiful view of mountains and landscapes. Tour Kyichu Lhagang and Paro town. Overnight at hotel.

6 October 2016 Day 2: Hike to Taktsang

Day hike to the Taktsang monastery (4-5 hours) The monastery clings to a huge granite cliff 800 meters from the paro valley. It is believed that the great saint Padmasambhava came in the 7th century on a flying tigress and meditated in a cave for 3 months. The demons were subdued who were trying to stop the spread of Buddhism and converted the Paro valley into Buddhism. During the end of the 17 century a monastery was built on the spot where the saint mediated and it is a pilgrimage site for every Bhutanese to visit once in their life time. Stroll back to Resort. Evening at leisure.

7 October 2016 Day 3: Drive to Punakha

Drive to Punakha, visit the Punakha Dzong venue the Royal Wedding of Their Majesties and the winter retreat of Jhey Khempo Chief Abbot of the country, hotel or resort in either Wangdi or Punakha.

8 October 2016 Day 4: Visit Wangdi Teschu

Visit the Wangdi Tsechu Festivities and enjoy the dances and other religious rituals, hotel or resort in either Wangdi or Punakha.

9 October 2016 Day 5: Drive to Phojika valley

Drive to Phobjika valley, visit the gilt roofed Gangtey monastery with its exquisite woodworks and venue of the Gangtey Tsechu festivities, manor farm guest house or home stay.

10 October 2016 Day 6: Sightseeing

View unfolding of the gigantic sacred “Throngdrul” Thangka painting as people from all over the region come to seek its divine blessing. The ceremony begins before dawn and it is folded before sunrise. Enjoy walks in this most scenic and pleasant setting, manor farm guest house or home stay.

11 October 2016 Day 7: Drive to Thimphu

After breakfast, drive to Tashichhodzong to attend the Thimphu festival. You will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. While the underlying purpose of the festival is spiritual, dances are more often like plays, telling stories where good triumphs over evil, or depicting significant historical events, especially surrounding the life of Bhutan’s patron saint, Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche). There is inevitably a great deal of socialising as well.

Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’. Initially erected in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutan’s third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. Tashichhodzong houses some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

12 October 2016 Day 8: Visit Thimphu Tsechu Festival

Enjoy a morning of sightseeing, including a visit to 12th century Changangkha Temple, and the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernisation, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972.

Afterwards proceed to Paro, On arrival in Paro, check into the hotel. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

13 October  2016 Day 9: Transfer to airport for onward departure.

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