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9 Days

Thimphu Festival

  • Start Date: 12 September 2024 
  • Venue: ‎Tashichho Dzong, Thimphu
  • End Date: ‎ 14 September 2024

The Tsechu is a festival in honor of Padmasambhava-“one who was born from a lotus flower “, popularly known under the name of ” Guru Rimpoche ” the Precious Teacher. This Indian saint contributed enormously to the diffusion of Tantric Buddhism in the Himalayan region of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, etc. around 800 A.D. The biography of Guru Rimpoche is highlighted by 12 episodes on the model of the Buddha Shakyamuni’s life.

Each episode is commemorated around the year on the 10th day of the month by “the Tsechu “which has become the name of a very popular festival. The dates and the duration of the festival vary from one district to another but they always take a place on or around the 10th day of the month according to the Bhutanese calendar.

Main Highlights of Thimphu Festival:

Thimphu festival is one of the most popular festivals in the country. During the mask dances known as cham are performed to bless onlookers, teach them the Buddhist dharma, protect them from misfortune, and exorcise all evil. It is believed that merit is gained by attending the Tshechu. The dances invoke the deities to wipe out misfortunes, increase luck and grant personal wishes.
A group of ladies performs traditional Bhutanese dances during the intervals between masked dances. Apart from its religious implications, the Tsechu is also an annual social gathering where people dress in their finest clothing and jewelry. Bring you closer contact with the people and give you an insight into the Bhutanese lives, beliefs, and more.

Discover the Essence of Thimphu Festival:

Immerse yourself in the vibrant Thimphu Festival, a cornerstone of Bhutanese heritage. Witness local monks, after weeks of spiritual preparation, present spellbinding masked dances. These dances, rich in symbolism, celebrate tales from Guru Rimpoche’s life and embody Bhutan’s mythology, values, and spirituality. This festival is more than a cultural spectacle; it’s a living tradition transmitting Bhutanese lore and beliefs.

Why Thimphu Festival is a Must-Visit Cultural Feast:

The Thimphu Festival, a perfect window into Bhutanese Buddhist culture, offers a comprehensive glimpse into the nation’s religious fervor. The sight of locals in their finest Gho and Kira attire transports you to a different realm. Easily accessible, just an hour from Paro’s international airport, it’s a convenient yet enriching experience for a short Bhutan visit. The festival, usually in the pleasant autumn months, brings the capital to life with its cultural vibrancy and warm, inviting atmosphere.

A Unique Blend of Faith, Culture, and Community:

Join the largest gathering of Bhutanese and international visitors at Thimphu’s most celebrated event. The festival’s kaleidoscope of cultural displays and mystical dances fosters a festive, almost carnival-like environment. It’s a rare chance to join the Bhutanese in one of their most significant religious and social events. Don’t miss this unique opportunity to delve into the heart of Bhutan’s cultural magnificence during the Thimphu Festival.

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Detailed Program

Arrive at Paro. You will be welcomed by your travel guide from Truly Bhutan (Bhutan tour operator) at the Paro Airport.

After the refreshment, visit the Ta Dzong rated as one of the finest natural Museums in South Asia, and is filled with antique Thangkas paintings, textiles, weapons, and Armor. The visit Rinpung Dzong (in the same location) was built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now used as an administration center and school for monks. Then walk down to Rimpung Dzong Bridge, one of the oldest bridges in Bhutan.

In the evening drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan.

Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

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In the morning visit:

  • National Library where a vast collection of ancient manuscripts is preserved.
  • School of Traditional Painting of Arts and Crafts where children are taught the traditional art of woodcraft and painting.
  • Folk Heritage Museum, which is loaded in the same area, and further down to the Textile Museum.
  • National Institute of Traditional Medicine
  • National Textile museum

After lunch, visit:

  • Tashichhodzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, the site of the monarch’s throne room, and the seat of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in the 1960s in a traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.
  • National Memorial Chorten, continuously circumambulated by the faithful, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.
  • The government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through examples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangka paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, and other interesting items made from local materials.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

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Attend the first day Thimphu Festival.

Venue- Tashichhodzong courtyard. This is the perfect occasion to witness the Bhutanese unique culture, religion, and history. Overnight halt in the hotel.

Day 04: Thimphu Tsechu OR Thimphu Short Hike to Tango Monastery

Option 1

Attend the second day Thimphu Festival. Venue- Tashichhodzong courtyard


Option 2

After breakfast, drive to the base camp of Tango Monastery and hike up to the Monastery with a picnic lunch. Tango is the center for higher studies for monks. The hike up will take approximately 45 minutes. The view from Tango Monastery is breathtaking. Drive back to Thimphu and evening free to relax/stroll around Thimphu town.

Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

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After breakfast, drive to Punakha through Dochula Pass (3,088m/10,130ft). If you have a clear sky, the view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges is spectacular and you can even see the Gasa Dzong as a white dot on the horizon. Visit the beautiful 108 chortens built on the hill by Her Majesty Ashi

Dorji Wangmo for the security and well-being of His Majesty the King of Bhutan.

Drive onto Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. Visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho–Chu (male) river and the Mochu (female) river. Visit the Dho Jha Gha Lam Temple.

Evening, walk through the Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to the Divine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing.

Overnight at a hotel in Wangdue.

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After breakfast, walk to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten (50 Mins) temple built by the Queen Of Bhutan for peace and stability in this ever-changing world.

Drive back to Thimphu, visiting Simtokha Dzong en route. This dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies

In the evening, drive to see the Takin Zoo, which houses the national animal the Takin which is only found in Bhutan. Drive further unto Sangaygang to get a bird’s eye view of the Thimphu valley in the evening.

Dinner and overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.

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After breakfast, drive to Paro. Visit Kichu temple, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo. The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism.

To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built following precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demoness.

After lunch, drives up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, 18 km. from Paro town on the north side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century. Evening at leisure to visit local shops.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

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After breakfast, drive up to the base camp of Taktsang and then hike up to the most famous Monastery in the entire kingdom of Bhutan perched on the edge of a cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. The hike to the viewpoint will take about an hour and it will take 2 hours to the monastery. Lunch at the viewpoint.

Overnight at a hotel in Paro.

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After breakfast, your tour guide from Truly Bhutan will see you off at the Paro International Airport for your onward journey.

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Frequently Asked Question

You can withdraw Ngultrums from local banks using your MasterCard or Visa card. Some handicraft stores accept these international credit cards as well. You cannot, however, pay the USD 40 Visa fee at the Immigration Counter when entering Bhutan. You must have at least USD 40 on you when entering Bhutan!

Most towns in Bhutan have ATMs where you can use your credit card.

Bhutan has only a single time zone. It is six hours ahead of GMT, thirty minutes ahead of India, fifteen minutes ahead of Nepal, and one hour behind Thailand. Bhutan is 10 hours ahead of New York City during daylight saving time in the United States, and 11 hours ahead of New York City during standard time. Bhutan’s country dialing code is +975.

Given the country’s low crime rate, traveling in Bhutan is extremely safe.

You can pay using a credit card or a wire transfer. If you pay by credit card, the banks will charge a 4% processing fee.

  • Inclusion
  • Exclusion
  • Insurance
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off by private vehicle.
  • 3-star accommodation (4 & 5 stars may require an additional premium update).
  • Bhutan visa fee – including all necessary processing
  • Route Permit
  • Three meals per day during your stay in Bhutan
  • A licensed Bhutanese tour guide
  • All land transportation by private vehicle
  • Camping equipment and haulage for trekking tours
  • Sightseeing as per itinerary
  • Monuments entrance fees where applicable
  • Drinking water
  • All internal taxes and charges
  • A sustainable development fee of $200. (This sustainable development fee goes towards free education, free healthcare, and poverty alleviation, along with the building of infrastructure.)
  • Airfare & Travel Insurance
  • Expenses of personal nature, Tips to guides and drivers
  • Expenses occurred due to unavoidable events i.e. road wrecks, flight delays etc.

Package does not include insurance of any kinds, and that you are required to obtain separate coverage from your home country before your trip begins.

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