Festivals In Bhutan You Need To Attend

Festivals in Bhutan are a great way to be immersed in its culture! The land of the thundering dragon, also has thundering performances and a vibrant culture that comes alive during its festivals. Each region has something spectacular to offer and the only way to really experience it is to immerse oneself like a local and be swept up in the joy. 

Festivals in Bhutan you must attend –

THE TOURIST DRAWS

 

thimphu tsechu

Festivals of Bhutan

Tsechus, meaning Day 10, are held close to the tenth day of the lunar calendar. These are the most popular festivals in Bhutan and the locals dress up in their finest clothes and make their way to the festivities. The Thimphu Tsechu in Trashi Chhoe Dzong involves spectacular dancing by the monks. The Cham dance is the highlight of this festival and it involves colourful costumes and masks with depictions of life incidents of Padmasambhava and other famous Buddhist figures. The festival attracts large crowds, especially from rural areas as the people who live in these remote regions break away from their mundane farm life and come together to observe and partake in the joyous celebrations. Although crowded, the atmosphere is so vibrant that one can’t help but be swept up in it. We advise you to reserve your seats in advance to get a good view!

 

paro tsechu

Festivals of Bhutan

One of the biggest festivals in Bhutan, the Paro Tsechu is famous for the unfurling of the world’s biggest Thangka or Thongdrel, which is a religious picture. Seeing the thongdrel is supposed to provide freedom from all sins. During the Tsechu, monks and laymen perform masked dances in honour of Guru Rinpoche. The dances are meant to invoke deities to bestow blessings and absolve sins. The sheer energy of the city surrounding the festivities make this an enriching experience and one can witness the spiritual vibe reverberating throughout its proceedings. Dress in the traditional Gho or Kira and sit in the crowds and maybe even dance along!

punakha domchoe & tsechu

Festivals of Bhutan

Held in the valley of Punakha, the Tsechu is preceded by a two days of Drubchen (deep meditation to eradicate the evils of the world). What makes the Drubchen so special is the dramatic enactment of the 17th Century battle when Tibet invaded Bhutan to acquire a famous relic. A man named Zhabdrung pretended to throw it into the river and the Tibetan Army receded. The festival involves some monks walking to the river and throwing some oranges as a symbol of the relic. The entire enactment is performed with much vibrancy and fervour. The unfurling of the Thongdrel at the impressive Punakha Dzong is the most important part of the festival and holds much significance amongst the Bhutanese. This is one of the most important festivals in Bhutan.

THE OFFBEAT EVENTS

NOMAD'S FESTIVAL

Festivals of Bhutan

The little-known Bhutanese culture is rejoiced and celebrated through the Nomad’s Festival. Held in the Upper Bumthang valley, the festival attracts people from far reaches of the country. There are people selling all sorts of things, from the conical hats of Laya to the fermented cheese from Sakteng. The locals living herder lives all get together at this festival and it is an experience to be dressed like them and participate in the local games and relish the local food.

ura yakchoe

Festivals in Bhutan

The Ura Valley in Bumthang hosts this three-day festival. Legend has it that a lama asked an old lady sitting outside her house for water. When she returned with a glass of water, the lama had vanished and left a bag containing a statue, which is now an important relic. It is still owned by the descendants of the woman and is the object of prayers during the festival. There are typical colourful dances but a much more authentic vibe to this festival. It is one of the more local festivals in Bhutan. The grandeur of the bigger western cities may be missing but if it is the grassroot Bhutan you seek, this festival will provide you a picture of just that.

haa summer festival

Festivals of Bhutan

While one needs no other excuse to visit this picturesque valley, the summer festival only adds to its charm. The otherwise sleepy valley really wakes up during the festivities. Enjoy the hospitality at a homestay while you absorb the unique amalgamation of the sumptuous food, traditional handicrafts, religious performances and traditional sports, all in one exuberant festival. The Haa Festival is one of the warmest festivals in Bhutan.

As is evident, most festivals of Bhutan involve the same religious tenets and performances. However, each is unique for its setting, local influences and indigenous ambiance. We highly recommend taking in atleast one festival to witness the zest with which locals celebrate them. It is an experience that will add that little something to your trip and give you a happy insight into the culture of this little land.

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Thank you very much to you and your team for arranging this fantastic tour. One of the best pick from this tour was your meticulous planning and promptness of service. All arrangements were fantastic, be it a delivery of vehicle at Chandigarh airport, hotels particularly at Chandigarh, Leh, Nubra, Pangong. However the best was at Jispa, Kargil and Srinagar for different reasons. Jispa was simple but authentic with very tasty food.

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Graphic Designer, Apple

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Sunil, after I ran 21k Marathon I bragged about it for years. The same is being repeated again, with my ambition to drive across the Himalayas, which was almost faded with Srinagar under curfew. You and Chetan were the spark to our fire that we could do this drive and without a single trouble. Driving is a passion but driving thru places where there are no roads is trouble, but your breakup of program and awesome car condition helped us actually sail thru. Three cheers and five stars.

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Absolute Networks, Mumbai

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Wow. wow, wow. What a experience! We took the route of Delhi - Jammu - Srinagar - Leh - Sarchu - Manali - Delhi.  Sunil Kapoor gave us excellent service which includes his next to new 4WD in immaculate condition and all hotels were top class. Coming from Australia, we were bit nervous in start but when we met Sunil, we had full trust and all went very positive. Sunil gave us perfect instructions and everything was according to plan. Thank you Sunil and your team for our one of the best experience in life you have provided us. 

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Jignesh Patel

Director, Webential, Australia

Sumudu Fernando Manali Leh Trip

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Eight of us from Sri Lanka got Sunil to arrange a self driven tour to Leh and we are very happy with our decision. He was punctual, trustworthy and met our expectations. The service provided was very professional. As foreigners it’s hard to arrange such a tour by ourselves and Unwind outdoor filled in the gap perfectly. All places we stayed were nice and decent. Should specifically mention about the two Scorpios which we instantly fell in love with. They were very well maintained ... 

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Friends from SriLanka

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After days of research, we finally came across a facebook page called ‘Unwind Outdoors’. It seemed like our dream was going to be finally true. Very reasonably priced and Sunil from Unwind was like a know-it-all person.

The itinerary was so crisp and so very well laid out that there was no reason for us to worry other than coping up with nature’s fury. 

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Priyadatta Prabhavalkar

Clifford Chance, Delhi

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We did a SUV self drive trip from Chandigarh to Ladakh and back organized by Unwind Outdoor.
Highly recommend Unwind Outdoor as Sunil and Manpreet took care of everything we needed (car, hotel bookings, sightseeing and food recommendations, permits) and everything was organized seamlessly. Sunil was very patient with all our queries, giving suggestions and options to suit our preferences.

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KPMG, Bangalore

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Great to see the know-how of the Unwind Outdoor team regarding every aspect of the Srinagar - Leh - Chandigarh self drive trip. From weather conditions, to road conditions, to health/clothing requirements, and also driving instructions - Sunil and Manpreet are warm, meticulous and knowledgable. Villa Himalaya in Sonamarg surpassed all our expectations and ensured that our expected standards for the rest of the trip were extremely high. 

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Parth Deshmukh

Symbiosis Law School, Mumbai

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Thanks Sunil for arranging a wonderful trip. Everything went well and we were in good hands with friendly and competent drivers. Accommodation was good and tents were comfortable beyond our expectations. We didn't have problem with food choices. It was a totally rejuvenating vacation and experience for us. Thanks from us in Singapore!

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Singapore

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We had an amazing 9-day from Manali to Leh. Serene, breathless and picturesque. High altitude sickness was a big issue for us but we were in good hands.

Unwind Outdoor was superb in arranging and coordinating the trip. Taking care of all arrangements and checking-in on us. Kudos to Sunil and his team.

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Alvin Chia

Assistant Director, Jurong Town Corporation, Singapore

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We travelled as a couple & completed a self drive trip from Delhi-Jammu-Srinagar-Kargil-Leh-Nubra-Pangong-Tso Moriri-Sarchu-Manali-Delhi. Itinerary was meticulously designed to be a mix of adventure and comfort. Hotel choices were best. Support was available at all points in case of emergency.Vehicle provided was top notch. Thanks to Mr. Sunil Kapoor for personally putting in efforts to maintain such high standards. 

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Nikhil & Neha Mazumdar

Manager L&T, Mumbai

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Six of us (two families) travelled to Leh in Jul / Aug 2015 and we had an excellent experience with Unwind Outdoor. From the very beginning of our excited planning phase, Sunil has been willingly suggesting us options, number of days, places to visit etc. He has all the knowledge of the terrain, passionate about trekking and traveling himself, so he understands travel-crazy people such as me and my quirks.
We landed in Leh in time for cloudbursts and flashfloods and landslides (along with mud and rocks sliding too). Despite Nature's fury, Sunil and Skarma made sure we were utmost safe and comfortable. These guys are just not into travel business, they help people fulfil their travel dreams. Truly! Go guys!!

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Barclays Bank, Bangalore

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