Motithang Takin Preserve, located in the Sangaygang, Thimphu, Bhutan is a wildlife reserve area for takin, the national animal of Bhutan. The Takin is associated with religious history and mythology. It is a very rare mammal with a thick neck and short muscular legs. It lives in groups and is found above 4000 meters on the north- western and far north eastern parts of the country. They feed on bamboo. The adult Takin can weigh over 200 kgs.
The massive statue of Shakyamuni measure in at height of 51.5 meters, making it one of the largest statues of Buddha in the world which is located a short drive from Thimphu city centre. Visitors get a good view of Thimphu valley. The statue houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues inside and it is must visit while in Thimphu.
Changang Lhakhang is an old fortress above Thimphu, southeast of Motithang. It was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo, who came from Ralung in Tibet. The Central statue is Chenresig in an 11-headed, thousand armed manifestation. There are enormous prayer wheels to spin and even the prayers books in the temple are larger size than usual Tibetan texts. It is considered to be the spiritual home for children born in the Chang valley.
The name Simtokha literally means “Atop a Demon” and it was built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel which is 5km south of Thimphu. The site is said to guard a demon that had vanished into the rock nearby hence the name Simtokha. The dzong houses countless statues and paintings of various Buddhas, deities and religious figures including the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rimpoche, Jampelyang the Bodhisattava of Wisdom, Shakya Gyalpo the Buddha of compassion and many more, all carved and painted in exquisite detail.
Tashichhodzong is a Buddhist monastery and fortress on the northern edge of the city of Thimphu, on western bank of the Wang Chhu. The dzong has been the seat of the government since 1952 and presently houses the throne room and offices of the King, the secretariat and the ministries of home affairs and Finance.
National Memorial Chorten is a monument to the third Druk Gyalpo and to world peace. Chorten means “Seat of Faith” and Buddhists often call such monuments the ‘Mind of Buddha’. The Chorten is an extraordinary example of Buddhist architecture and artwork with its gorgeous paintings and intricate sculptures. Visitors will fine elderly Bhutanese people circumambulating the Chorten throughout the day.
The Centenary Farmer’s Market is located below the main town, near Wangchhu River. Vendors from different region start arriving on Thursday and remain until Sunday night to sell their farm products in the market. The market is very well organized and neat.
The National Institute for Zorig Chusum is located at Pedzoe Lam where it allows you to observe students operating four to six year courses that provide instruction in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts. Choki Traditional Art School is located in the village of Kabisa. Students specialize in painting, woodcarving and statue making.
The National library is located in Kawajangtsa which was built in 1967 for the purpose of preservation and promotion of rich cultural and religious heritage of Bhutan. The scripture and document collection held in our library and archives is a national treasure and fundamental source for Bhutanese history, religion, medicine, arts and cultural.
Simply Bhutan is a living museum and photo studio that gives a good guided introduction to various aspects of Bhutanese traditional lives and the project is aimed at preservation and promotion of cultural. It was established in the year 2010. The objective is to raise fund to support Youth Development Fund in conducting various youth related programs, now and in future.
The National Textile Museum is located near the National Library, Chubachu which is operated by National Commission for Cultural Affairs since it’s established in 2001. Textile Museum had given a new platform to the nation’s textiles and Bhutanese weavers and boasts of an invaluable collection of antique textile artifacts of Bhutan.
The Authentic Bhutanese Crafts Bazaar also known as the handicrafts market of Thimphu is a perfect place to get a glimpse inside the art and craft of Bhutan. The Shops are made using the eco-friendly bamboo and the youngsters welcoming with smiling face. Craft bazaar is helpful for us as it differentiates our Bhutanese products from the other product in the market.
Tango and Cheri both are located North of Thimphu. The word Tango in Bhutanese language means “Horse Head”. Tango is the highest center of Buddhist learning in the country which was founded by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo in 13th century. Cheri is established in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Cheri is an important place for meditation retreats with 30 or so monks here for the standard 3 years, 3 months and 3 days, so there are no disturbances.
Phajoding monastery was founded in the 13th century by Phajo Drugom Zhigpo. It is a 3hours hike from the nearest road and is located above Bhutan’s capital Thimphu. The Tibetan lama who spread the Drukpa Kagyu teachings of Buddhism in Bhutan known as the ‘current of compassion’. It is one of the most sacred meditational sites in Bhutan.
The Postal Museum was established in November 2015 to celebrate the 60th Birth Anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuk. The Museum is located on the ground floor of Thimphu GPO building, Chang Lam III, Thimphu. The main objective of the museum is to tell the story of Bhutan’s progress and development through the lens of the evolution of communications and postal system in the country.
The handicrafts market of Thimphu is also referred to as the Authentic Bhutanese Crafts Bazaar. The Shops crafted from bamboo square measure lined showing neatness in row at a mile’s stretch, selling vibrant and stunning authentic handicraft of Kingdom of Bhutan. There are virtually hundred retailers in the market commerce varied souvenirs, authentic handcrafted apparels, bags, masks and many a lot of things.
Bhutan is the only country in the world that doesn’t have a single traffic light in its capital city. Instead policeman in Thimphu stand a major intersections and direct traffic. The Royal Bhutan Police is responsible for law and order traffic control and crime prevention and it is established in September 1965.
Kuenselphodrang Nature Park
Kuenselphodrang Nature Park is just beneath the Buddha statue which was established in 29th November 2011. It is the most visited nature park in Thimphu. The idea behind the park is to protect the forest area surrounding the Mega Bronze Buddha Statue. The Park is also very significant in spheres of culture and religion, biodiversity, tourism and recreational facilities.
Babesa Botanical Garden
Royal Botanical Garden is located in Serbithang, Babesa Timphu which was inaugurated in April 1999 and has weedy collection of 500 species of plants. It’s favorite weekend picnic spot of resident of Thimphu. The garden intends to reflect Bhutan’s Buddhist philosophy, a prayer wheel and chorten have been incorporated in the design of the garden, making it a place for spiritual reflection as well as a place to appreciate flowers and plants.
Dochula Pass is located on the way to Punakha from Thimphu which gives stunning 360 degree panoramic view of Himalayan mountain range and tranquility of the 108 chortens gracing the mountain pass or stupas is also known as “Druk Wangyel Chortens” has been built by Ashi Dorji Wangchuk in honour of fourth King. Apart from the chortens there is a monastery called Druk Wangyel Lhakhang where the annual festival is held.
The Royal Botanical Park is located about 11 km below the Dochu La Pass at Lamperi is the entrance to this park, where between April and June the visitors can view 38 out of Bhutan’s 46 species of rhododendron or spot some of the 220 species of birds. There are 21 animal species known in the park which has deer, tiger, leopard, red panda and also the wildcat.
Paro Dzong is also known as Rinpung Dzong meaning Fortress on a heap of jewels. It is located in Paro and serves as a residence for a monastic body. February and March is the best month to visit as the visitor can witness the beautiful views and places along with the great annual festival called Paro Tsechu and Dzongdrakha Tshechu.
Ta Dzong is above Paro Dzong which was built to protect the Bhutanese from Tibetan invasion however now is utilized as a national museum. Ta dzong was built by Tenzin Drugdra in the year 1649. The necessary infrastructure was created to house some of the finest specimens of Bhutanese art, including masterpieces of bronze statues and paintings.
Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest and most beautiful temples. It is believed to be built by a Tibetan emperor called Songtsan Gampo in the 7th century and later restored in 19th century. Paro Kyichu Lhakhang is 5km away from the Paro Town. It is important place for art connoisseurs, historians, pilgrims and visitors from all around the world because it is a place of culture and art.
Drukgyal Dzong meaning “the fortress of the victorious Drukpas” is located in Phondey village in Paro which was built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1649. One of the features of the dzong was a false entrance that lured the returning Tibetan invaders into an enclosed courtyard during a second attack.
Dzongdrakha Goemba often called as mini Takstang, built on a cliff above Bondey village. During the annual festival of Dzongdrakha, the main center of gathering blessings becomes the chorten od the past Buddha which gets opened so that visitors are blessed by the remnant kept there. It is also known that when Rinpoche first came to Bhutan, he landed at Dzongdrakha.
Chele La Pass
The height of Chele La is 13084 ft making one of the highest vantage points in Bhutan from which you can marvel at commanding views of surrounding snow capped mountains and valleys while Himalayan yaks grazing in horizon dotted with electricity pylons.
Kila Gomba Nunnery
Kila Gompa Nunnery is also called Chele La Gompa has around 100 nuns, 7 little temples and several residential buildings that straddle on the cliff side facing Paro. It provides the stunning views inn western provinces and is far away from hustle and bustle of the towns but their view probably never misses anything.
Paro Market is well preserved outdoor market where many people get together to do the business. It is not very large market but has a more traditional feel and is a fine introduction to some of Bhutan’s unique local products. The market is busiest on Sunday mornings however the vegetables stalls stay throughout the week.
Jangtsa Dumtseg Lhakhang is located on the edge of a hill between Paro valley and the Dopchari valley across the bridge from Paro which was founded by Thangtong Gyalpo in 1433. The temple is notable as it is in the form of chorten, very rare in Bhutan. The atmospheric temple was built to subdue a demons.
Chumphu Nge, the statue of floating Goddess is 7 to 8hours hike to reach and visit this site and be back. The statue is very scared and ancient as it’s believed that the Goddess Dorji Phamo flew from Tibet and stayed on it in the form of a statue. She is a life size statue and believe it or not, her one leg is crossed at the knees and the other is standing but does not touch the ground.
Bumdra trek will take 2 to 3 days to see around Bumdra Gompa and the visitor will come to know why this trek is also called the “Trek of Thousand Dakinis (celestial female beings)”. In this temple you will have a clear view of cave believed to have 100,000 footprints of Dakanis.
Paro Taktsang is also known as Taktsang Palphug Monastery and the Tiger’s Nest which is located in the Cliffside of the upper Paro valley in Bhutan which was built in 1692. It is believed that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop back of a tigress and mediated in the cave for 3years, 3months, 3days and 3hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it.
Punakha Dzong is also known as Pungtang Dewa chhenbi Phodrang. The Dzong is located at the confluence of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in Punakha and Wangdue valley. Punakha Dzong is notable for containing the preserved remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifer of Bhutan as well as a sacred relic known as the Ranjung Karsapani.
Longest Suspension Bridge
The Punakha suspension bridge is almost 250m long which is located very much near to Punakha Dzong and is the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan built above Po Chhu River. The bridge are mountains surrounding the bridge from all the sides which also gives a breathtaking view and it also connects to the nearby villages.
Chimi Lhakhang is located in between very beautiful paddy fields near Lobesa, it is one of the most scenically located monasteries in eastern Bhutan and takes about half an hour walk till the monastery from the road. The bodhi tree is believed to have been brought from Bodhgaya. Childless women pray to a fertility goddess.
Nunnery (Sangchen Dorji Lhendrub Choling)
Sangchen Dorji Lhendrub Choling is located above Wolakha on the way to Drolay Goemba which serves as a Shedra (Buddhist College) and meditation center scatter the grassy site, home to a small and friendly community of nuns.
Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
The three storey chorten was built by her majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon in 1999 for the protection of the country and to bring universal peace in this world. The best of the spiritual art works are painted on the inner walls. There are also paintings of Buddhist teachers and tutelary deities of the country.
The most of the rivers in Bhutan are very steep and highly rushing with limited road access makes it considerably unsuitable for white water rafting. Only few rivers are opened for rafting considering their safe and easy access. The Pho Chu with its approx 16km course with about 15 rapids of class 2 – 4 is the most popular for rafting in Bhutan followed by Mo Chu river with 10Km course comprising around 10 rapids with 2- 2+ rapids.
In Bhutan hot spring are known as Tshachus and are found all over the Kingdom. It is mainly used as a therapy for treating diseases by the Bhutanese people for centuries. Chubu Tshachu in Punakha is well known hot spring located by the banks of Pho Chu River and is within a day’s journey from Punakha town.
Wangduephodrang is one of the largest dzongkhags in the country. The dzong was built in 1638 that dominates the district. The name is said to have been given by Zhabdrung Rimpoche who was searching for the best location for a dzong to prevent incursions from the south. At the chosen spot the Zhabdrung encountered a boy named Wangdi playing beside the river and hence named the dzong ‘Wangdi’s Palace.
The old Wangdue Phodrang town located near dzong is shifted to Bajo. The Bajo town is a small town built above Punatsangchhu and near the farmland. The town provides platform for the people of Wangdue and Punakha to conduct their business activities. The town looks much busier on Sundays as it is a day when local people bring their farm products in the market.
Rinchengang is a small bunched village in front of the Wangdue Dzong and is famous for its proficiency in traditional means of stonework. While Rinchengang is believed to be one of the oldest villages in Bhutan, Rinchengang village is worth a visit.
Phobjikha is also known as Gangteng Valley which has a bowl shaped glacial valley on the western slopes of Black mountains, bordering the Jigme Singye Wangchuk National Park. Because of the large flock of black necked cranes that winters here, it is one of the most important wildlife preserves in the country.
The Ganteng Monastery is an important monastery of Nyingmapa school of Buddhism, the main seat of the Pema Lingpa tradition located in Wangdue Phodrang. In 1613 Pema Trinley (grandson of Pema Lingpa) establish the monastery and became the first Gangtey Tulku.
Black Necked Crane is situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes. Cranes in Bhutan are winter visitors during the late October to mid February.
Phobjikha natural trail
Phobjikha valley is rich in faunal biodiversity and has apart from the globally threatened black necked cranes, 13 other globally threatened species. It is the most beautiful and shortest of the existing nature trails in Bhutan. 163 square kilometers had been declared a protected area, which is managed by the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature (RSPN).
The visitors can experience the local Bhutanese village life while staying in traditional farm houses. The visitors can not only experience the staying in farm house but also get chance to prepare the Bhutanese meals, drink local wine, relax in hot stone bath, dine with local family and enjoy gardening.
Trongsa Dzong is built overlooking the gorge of the Mangde River. The Dzong is located above the fast flowing Mandge Chu in a unique setting that has been describe as “the most spectacularly sited dzong in Bhutan with a sheer drop to the south that often disappears into cloud into cloud and mist.
Ta Dzong is located on the left bank of the Mangde River and above the Trongsa Dzong. Ta Dzong which means watchtower was built by Choeje Minjur Tenpa, the first governor of Trongsa in the year 1652. The tower stood guard over Trongsa Dzong to protect the main stronghold of the town from any external threats.
It is 1hour drive from Trongsa to the south. It was the winter palace of our second king Jigme Wangchuk. The palace is an impressive building with superb wood work and decorations. The first floor of palace was used to store a food, second floor as residence of royal attendance and the army, third floor was royal quarters and the king’s private chapel. Part of this floor is presently used as library. The top floor is an alter room with the statues of Sakyamuni, Zhubdrung and Guru Rimpoche. Right above the palace is the nunnery.
Tingtibi is a settlement in the south of Bhutan. It is located in Zhemgang District, to the south of the town of Zhemgang .
Explore Tingtibi where you can spot the Great Hornbill, Rufous-necked Hornbill, Wreated Hornbill and so many species of birds. Bhutan is a paradise for bird lovers and ornithologists.
In the village of Zungney in Chumey, there are ladies weaving yathras, the specialty of the region. The brightly colored wool fabrics are displayed outside the houses. Quality, patterns and color vary widely. Traditionally each home in Chumey valley had its own loom and girls learned to weave at a young age.
The Jambay Lhakhang is located in Jakar, Bumthang. It is said to be one of the 108 temples built by Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in 7th century on a single day to subdue the demoness that was residing in the Himalayas. It was divined that the supine demoness was causing obstruction to the spread of Buddhism and the temples were constructed on her body parts that spread across the Tibet , Bumthang and the borderlands.
The Kurjey is also known as Kurjey monastery which is located in Bumthang valley. This large, active and important temple complex is named after the body (kur) print (jey) of Guru Rimpoche which is preserved in a cave inside the oldest of the three buildings. The first of the three temples, Guru Lhakhang is the oldest and was built in 1652 by Mingyur Tenpa. The first King of Bhutan, Ugyen Wangchuk built the second temple, the Sampa Lhundrup Lhakhang in 1990. The third building in was built by Ashi Kesang Wangchuk, queen to the third king in 1984.
Tamzhing Lhundrup Monastery is the most important Nyingma gompa in Bhutan which was constructed in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. The centerpiece wealth of the monastery is the statue of Guru Rimpoche, believed to have been built by Khandroms (Dakinis) and Zung (inner relic in statues) of treasures revealed by Pema Lingpa from different places.
It is an imposing monastery with several building located on a slope above the Chamkhar river bridge on the left side of the river. It bears the name of a great monastery in Lhodrak (southern Tibet), practically on the border with Bhutan and whose reincarnated lama took refuge in Bhutan and died here.
Tang is the most remote of Bumthang’s valleys. It is higher than Chokhor so there’s not as much agriculture here, although in places where the soil is fertile and deep the Arcadian scenes are picture perfect.
Ura village is known for the famous dance known as Ura Yakchoe. The dance is performed during a festival that is held every May. During the festival a scared and important relic is put on display so that the people can receive blessing from it. according to legend an old woman sitting outside her house was visited by a lama asking for water. When she came out with the water, the lama had disappeared leaving behind only a sack. Out of curiosity she checked the bag and found the statue that is now display annually.
The Yellow roofed Thangbi Goemba was founded in 1470 by Shamar Rinpoche and after a dispute was taken over by Pema Lingpa. The main chapel of the Dusum Sangay (Past, present and future Buddha’s) is entered under another of Pema Lingpa’s famous chainmail.
The burning lake (Mebar Tsho) is located along the way to the Tang village over the feeder road under Bumthang valley. According to the legend Terton Pema Lingpa had a version of the sacred treasures that Guru Rimpoche had hidden within the lake centuries earlier. However the people of Tang and the local ruler were cynical of his claims. In order to prove his claims, Pema Lingpa held butter lamp in his hand as he jumped into lake. After remaining under water for a long time he reemerged holding a chest and a scroll of paper with butter lamp held in his hand still burning bright. Thereafter the lake came to be known as Mebartsho (the burning lake).
Sheep breeding center
Sheep was once a reliable source of income and livelihood especially among transhumant herders of highland region. Realizing the importance of sheep for highlanders, systematic breeding intervention in sheep was initiated with establishment additional sheep farm in 1974 at Dechenpelrithang.
Zhongar Ruin Dzong
Zhongar Dzong in Mongar is visible from Mongar to Bumthang highway. The old trade route that connected the eastern and western Bhutan in olden days can be seen. Built on a low lying hillock, the location looks like a bowl filled with milk. Thus, the Dzong came to be known as Zhongkar (Zhong-bowl, kar-white).
The Mongar Dzong was established in 1930 to replace the original Zhongar Dzong and the present Mongar Dzong is located on a small gently sloping area just above the town. It is constructed in the same way as all earlier dzongs, without plans or nails. A visit to Mongar shows one how traditional Bhutanese architecture has continued to thrive through centuries.
While on the way to Mongar to Trashigang, the visitors will cross the 8000ft. Korila Pass where the visitor can stop there and place our own prayer flag that stretches from hill side to hillside and you can write a message to loved ones.
Drametse Ngacham (nga means “drum” and cham means “mask dance”) is a mask dance performed in Drametse village in eastern Bhutan. It is performed twice a year during the Drametse festival which occurs on the fifth and tenth months of the Bhutanese calendar.
The Dzong is located in Kuri Chhu valley, which is a part of Lhuntse district which was constructed in 1654 by the Trongsa Penlop Chogyal Minjur Tempa upon the site of an older temple built by Nagi Wangchuk 1552. The Dzong is initially known as Kurtoe and it is an ancestral home of House of Wangchuk.
This village is located about 2hours walk from Dzong which is known as the textile center of Bhutan and is famous for the silk textiles the women weave. A culture that has evolved over years is a row of women in a makeshift textile cottage, weaving intricate designs and patterns. Picking up a Kishuthara will be much cheaper that from the handicraft shops in town area.
Gangzur village is located around 2km from the dzong which is known for its pottery as its women folk are skilled artisans of this dying art. Visitors can witness the women folk displaying their skills. One of the most sought after design, the kishuthara intricate and each Kira takes about 6months to 1 year to complete.
The old dzong was established in1656 and was fully renovated in 1976. Since the old dzong was small and difficult to get to, a new dzong was built on the side of a ridge overlooking the valley and was inaugurated in 1997. Now it is administrative centre of the district.
Gom Kora is also known as Gomphu Kora. Gomphu means ‘Meditation cave’ and Kora means ‘Circumambulation’. It is about 24km drive from Trashigang on the road towards Trashiyangtse. Guru Rimpoche meditated in order to subdue a demon that dwelt in the big rock. The temple is renowned for its festival held in the 2nd lunar month.
Chorten Kora is an important stupa located next to the Kulong Chhu in Trashiyangtse. The Stupa was built by Lama Ngawang Lodro in 1740. The popular belief that an eight year old girl from Arunachal Pradesh sacrified her life by entering the stupa during construction to meditate on behalf of all the beings.In her memory, the people of Arunachal still visit every year for kora during the great religious festivals that are held mid March.
Trashigang Dzong or ‘The Fortress of the Auspicious Hill’ built in 1659 to defend against Tibetan invasion. The Dzong serves as a monastic community besides acting as the central administrative center of Trashigang. According to legend, the sight of the dzong scared the Tibetan army which retreated while remarking that the Dzong was a “Sky Dzong and was not on the ground”.
Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong
Samdrup Jongkhar Dzong is the newest dzong built in the country which is built on strategic locations atop mountains or between rivers, the dzong is built on a flat and fairly wide open area unlike other dzongs in the country. The dzong serves as the administrative center of the district.
Mithun Breeding Farm
The only Mithun breeding farm in the east located at Orong, along the highway reroute to Samdrup Jongkhar above the town Dewathang. The Mithuns are considered the finest breed of bison in Bhutan and it will be worthwhile to stop for a while to observe and photograph magnificent animals.
Phuentsholing is a frontier and thriving commercial center on the northern edge. Phuentsholing is the perfect mix of traditions, beautiful landscapes, modern life and culture thus serves as the convenient sentry/exit point for Bhutan.
Zangto Pelri Lhakhang
Zangto Pelri Lhakhang is a small temple located in the center of the Phuentsholing town which represents the heaven of Guru Rimpoche. On the ground level there are statues of Guru and his eight manifestations. On the second floor there is eight Bodhisattavas and statues of Avalokiteshwara and Zhubdrung Ngawang Namgyal while on the top floor the main statue is of Buddha Amitabha.
Tsirang has its location in south central part of the kingdom. Tsirang is well known for its climate which favors agriculture of almost every kind. People out here are mostly dominated by Hindu culture. What one gets to see here is a blend of Hindu-Buddhist culture.
Gelephu is a region of the Dzongkhag of Sarpang which is located in southern part of Bhutan through which visitor can enter Bhutan. It is also a gateway to the Royal Manas National Park. Gelephu also have domestic airport that have recently opened on 25th October 2012 and the ancient Bhutanese tradition of ‘Menchu’ or Hot Stone Baths.
Haa is the smallest Dzongkhag which is located in south west of Paro. This region is most beautiful and isolated area in kingdom. It is also ancestral home of the Queen Grandmother and the illustrious Dorji family. Haa provides an ideal location for hiking and biking. Haa is home to a number of nomadic herders and hosts an annual summer festival that showcases their unique lifestyles and culture.
Lhakhang Karpo and Nagpo
Lhakhang Karpo means ‘White Temple’ which is just south of the dzong. A great Tibetan ruler Songtsan Gampo supposedly started construction of the temple in 7th century. According to local legend, two birds, one black and one white, flew from Tibet to this location. The white bird landed on the site of Karpo Lhakhang hence ‘white temple’. Locals built Nagpo Lhakhang, the ‘black temple’ where the black bird landed. Residents of Lhakhang Karpo believe that local deity Aptshong Du gives them protection from sickness and ill fortune where else the Lhakhang Nagpo receives protection from its own deity named Da Dochen.
During 17th century Bhutan was invaded several times by Tibetan forces seeking a very precious relic, the Ranjung Kharsapani. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel led Bhutanese to victory over Tibetans and to commemorate the triumph he introduced Punakha Drubchen. Since then Punakha Drubchen became the annual festival of Punakha Dzongkhag.
Punakha Tshechu was introduced by the 70th Je KhenpoTrulku Jigme Choedra. The Tshechu was introduced according to the requests made by Punakha District Administration and local people host a Tshechu for the betterment Buddhist teachings and keep alive the noble deeds of Zhabdrung Rimpoche.
Tharpaling Thongdrol festival is held annually at Tharpaling Monastery. Tharpaling festival is mainly a display of the giant thongdrol, preceded by prayers and ceremonies. It is a very popular festival in Bumthang.
Chhorten Kora Tsechu
The Chhorten Kora festival is set in Trashiyangste, the easternmost district of Bhutan.
The three days Talo Tshechu is known for its masks dances and the atsara dances. The three songs of Mani Sum, which comprises he Zhundra set are performed as the closing item on each day of the three days of the Tshechu. The three songs, Samyi Sala (performed on the first day), Drukpa Dungey (second day) and Thowachi Gangi Tselay on the final day are the pride of the Talo community.
Gasa Tshechu is the biggest festival in the small district of Gasa in northwest Bhutan. Gasa is home to highlander communities. While many mask dances are performed, the local folk dances performed are very unique and distinct adding to the festive mood of the celebration.
Zhemgang is one of the remote districts in the country. Dance and music play a very important part in the cultural life of the Bhutanese people. Different mask and dances are performed which is believed to remove sins and increases good luck and wishes are fulfilled.
Paro Tshechu is well known festival in Bhutan where people from neighboring districts travel to participate in the festival. On the Last day of the celebration the monk display a large embroidered painting (Thangkha/Thongdrols). They are considered that simply seeing a Thongdrols is said to wash down the sin of the viewer.
Rhododendron garden is located in the center of 47 sq. mile Botanical Park and has over 46 species of rhododendron which is set in the Lamperi Botanical Gardens near Dochula Pass. The three days rhododendron festival is a truly an experience for nature lovers to engage in the beauty of wild rhododendron that grows in abundance.
Domkhar Tshechu takes place at Domkar Lhundrup Choling, Chumey valley of Bumthang district. Domkhar was established by Lama Kuenkhen Longchen Rabjam in the 16th century and the festival is held every year on 10th-12th month of the Bhutanese calendar. Scared dances such as black hat dance, the three ging and the drummers of Drametse are performed.
Ura valley in Bumthang is known for the famous dance known as Ura Yakcho. The mask and folk dances are performed during the festival that is held every May and also scared relic is displayed so that the people can receive blessing from it. The festival is celebrated to bring happiness, better harvest and prosperity of the villages and country as a whole.
Nimalung Tshechu is performed in Nimalung Lhakhang which is located in Chumey in Bumthang. The Tshechu is held once year in the 5th month of the Bhutanese calendar. Thongdrol of Guru Rimpoche is put on display for the attendees which is 9meters wide and in addition to inspiring wonder is said to cleanse the sins of all those who look upon it. During Tshechu, a series of colorful and spectacular mask dances are performed.
Kurjey Tshechu takes place in Kurjey Lhakhang which comprises of three temples that si located in Chokhor valley in Bumthang district. The festival is held annually during July. The oldest temple was built by Lama Minjur Tempa in 1652, the second temple was built by Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuk in 1900 and the third temple was built by queen Mother Ashi Kezang Choden wangchuk in 1990.
Haa Summer Festival
The Haa Summer Festival is celebrates for two days in July each year which showcases nomadic lifestyle of Haaps (people of Haa valley), and experience real Bhutanese traditional and culture. At Haa sumer festival you will be able to see the rare White Poppy (Meconopsis Superb). This flower typically grows to 1-1.5m in height at high altitudes around 4000m. The white poppy is endemic to Haa and cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
Matsutake Mushroom Festival
The Matsutake Mushroom festival is scheduled during 4th Weekend of August and takes place in beautiful Ura valley. At the festival, visitors will be learn to identify these fabled mushrooms as they embark on mushroom picking excursion around the pristine forests and hills.
Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race)
The race was created by His Royal Highness Prince Jigyel U. Wangchuk which considered one of the most challenging one-day events in the world. The race covers around 268kms of absolutely stunning Himalayan landscapes as it takes cyclist from central to western Bhutan. The race is held on the first Saturday of September every year.
Thimphu Drubchen is one day festival which is also known as Thimphu Dromchoe. It was first introduced by Kuenga Gyeltshen in 1710, who was recognized as the reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, son of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The Dromchoe is celebrated 3days prior to Thimphu Tshechu.
The annual wngduephodrang Tshechu was introduced by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal after completion of the dzong. The three days tshechu is attend by people of Bhutan and provides the people with an occasion for merrymaking and revelry. The Tshechu is known for the Raksha Mangcham or the dance of Ox.
Gangtey Tshechu is held in the large courtyard of Gangtey Goenpa monastery which is located in Phobjikha valley – the winter roosting ground of the migratory and rare black-necked cranes. The festival conclude with Nguedup Langwa (receiving of spiritual wisdom/power) which is a special blessing ritual for the people.
Tamshing Phala Chhoepa
Tamshing Phala Chhopepa festival is held at the Tamshing Goemba in Bumthang which is held annually in honor of the famous Terton Pema Lingpa from 15th century. The monastery is headed by the venerable Lhalung Sungtrul Rimpoche which is believed to be the 11th direct reincarnation of Terton Pema Linga.
Thimphu Tshechu is one of the biggest festivals in the country. The festival is held in Thimphu for 3days beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar. When it was initiated by the 4th Desi Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867 the tshechu consisted of only a few dances and later underwent a change in 1950s, when the third king Jigme Dorji Wangchuk added colors and variation to the festival with the number of masked dances.
The Thangbi Mani festival takes place in the Thangbi Lhakhang in Bumthang which is organized by the people of three valleys in Bumthang, Thangbi, Goling and Kharsath. The festival is an ancient tradition and dates back to the 13th century. The highlight of the festival is the fire blessing ceremony performed in the open ground. The lay monks perform purification rituals while people jump over flames to purify themselves.
Jumolhari Mountain Festival Dangochong
Jigme Dorji National Park under the Department of forest and park services is organizing the first Jumolhari mountain festival on 23rd and 24th October 2013 at Soe Dangochong. The festival is just one part of a larger effort to promote conservation the rare snow leopard. Visitors to be festival will be able to sample local cuisine, purchase locally made handicrafts like authentic yak fur robes and enjoy the traditional songs and dances of the region.
Royal Highland Festival Laya
The Royal highland festival will be organized in Laya where the festival aim to promote the sustainable livelihood of highlanders, showcase highlander’s innovation and exhibit the highlands as a pride of Bhutan. The festival is expected to bring together highlander from other parts of Bhutan and other countries to exchange values, knowledge, skills and best practices related to highlands and yak farming.
The three day annual tshechu of Chhukha Dzongkhag began on 7th of November coinciding with 7th day of the Bhutanese calendar. Different mask dances are performed during the festival apart from the traditional folks songs and dances. The highlight of the festival is the unfurling of the thongdrol ( large tapestry) of Guru Rimpoche.
The three days Jakar Tshechu takes you into Bhutan’s spiritual heartland to experience the rich pageantry and festive atmosphere of this unique landscape. People visit the festival dressed in their finest clothes and the festival. The festive hosts different types of folk songs and dances.
Dechenphu Tshechu takes place in Dechencholing palace in Thimphu valley dedicated to Gay Ngyen Jakpa Melen guardian deity of Thimphu. Many traditional and classical dances are also performed.
Jambay Lhakhang Drup
Jampa Lhakhang is located in Bumthang which was founded by Songtsen Gampo, the Tibetan King in the 7th century AD. The festival of Jambay Lhakhang Drup in central Bhutan is the most spectacular mid-night scared naked dance (tercham) and fire ritual. The festival is held lasts for five days.
Prakhar Duchhoed Prakar Lhakhang
Prakar Lhakhang is located in Chumi valley of Bumthang which was built around the 16th century. It is said that Langurs helped build this Lhakhang, humans would build it during the day and the monkeys would continue the work at night, hence the name ‘Prakhar’, which means White Monkey. The festival last for 3days from the 16th to the 18th of the ninth lunar month in Bhutanese calendar.
Black Necked Crane Festival Gangtey Gonpa, Phobjikha
The annual black-necked crane festival is celebrated in the courtyard of Gangtey Gonpa, in Phobjikha valley. The annual black-necked crane festivals is organized to generate awareness and understanding on the importance of conserving the endangered Blacked-necked cranes, to strengthen the linkages between conservation, economic welfare and sustainable livelihoods of the community.
Pemagatshel Dzongkhang is situated in eastern Bhutan. The district is known for its numerous festivals and folk songs. The most notable folk song is the Ausa, a song that is sung during the departure of family members, friends and relatives. Since the construction of the dzong in the early 1980s, they have also celebrated the annual Tshechu over a three year period.