Tingtibi, Zhemgang is all set to come alive with vibrant festivities as the Bhutan Bird Festival makes a triumphant return after a three-year hiatus. Scheduled from November 13 to 15, this eagerly anticipated event promises to showcase not only the region’s remarkable birdlife but also its unique culture and local products.
The festival is a testament to Bhutan’s commitment to preserving its rich natural heritage, and it’s a must-visit for bird enthusiasts and culture aficionados alike. With the majestic Zhemgang Dzong as its backdrop, the festival promises to be a melting pot of traditions, flavors, and experiences.
Zhemgang’s gewogs, or administrative regions, are gearing up to impress festival-goers with their culinary delights and locally crafted goods. Bjoka gewog, for example, will feature its exquisite bamboo products, a testament to the region’s indigenous skills and craftsmanship.
In the run-up to the festival, the Zhemgang dzongkhag administration has left no stone unturned in promoting and marketing the event. The preparatory works are well underway, with completion expected by November 11. The tourism department has generously funded promotional activities, ensuring that the festival reaches a wide and appreciative audience through various media channels.
Ugyen Phuntsho, a member of the festival secretariat, shared exciting news for this year’s event. Vendors will now have the option to lease both space and tents, making it more accessible for local businesses to participate. Furthermore, the festival is working on constructing permanent structures and roadside amenities to enhance the overall experience for attendees.
The festival isn’t just about celebrating birdlife; it offers a myriad of activities to engage visitors. Bird watching, trekking along ancient trails, fly fishing, white-water rafting, cultural experiences, and traditional games are just a few of the attractions awaiting participants. After the festival, additional programs are lined up, including a trip to the rejuvenating Duenmang hot spring, an overnight excursion to the serene Buli Lake, and a photography expedition to Singkhar and Bjoka.
In the 2019 Bhutan Bird Festival report, the food and agriculture-related stalls from Zhemgang’s gewogs collectively generated a total income of Nu 4,826,800. This not only highlights the economic potential of the festival but also its role in promoting local entrepreneurship and community development.
The festival has even composed its own theme song, accompanied by a music video created by the talented students of Sonamthang Central School in Panbang. Originally established in 2015 to celebrate the birth anniversary of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo, the festival’s dates have been thoughtfully adjusted to accommodate attendees participating in the Black-necked Crane festival in Gantey-Phobjikha on November 11.
The event has already sent out invitations to around 80 guests, with international tourists securing hotel reservations to be part of this unique celebration of culture and nature.
Zhemgang’s claim to fame lies in its lush and pristine forests, covering approximately 94.7 percent of its landscape. It holds the prestigious status of an eco-tourism capital as recognized by the Department of Tourism. Renowned as a birding paradise, the region boasts an astonishing 234 bird species, including the critically endangered White-Bellied Heron (WBH). According to a 2021 survey by the Royal Society for the Protection of Nature, Bhutan is home to 23 of these majestic birds, out of a global population of fewer than 60.
But it’s not just the White-Bellied Heron that captivates the hearts of birdwatchers; Zhemgang is a treasure trove of avian diversity. The Rufous-Necked Hornbill, Siberian Rubythroat, Black-Crested Bulbul, Great Racket-Tailed Drongo, and Golden-Throated Barbet are just a few of the enchanting species found here. Some experts even believe that there are undiscovered bird species waiting to be revealed in this enchanting area.
The Bhutan Bird Festival has had its share of challenges in the past three years, facing pandemic-related restrictions and financial constraints. However, the triumphant return of the festival promises to be a celebration of resilience and a testament to Bhutan’s unwavering dedication to preserving its natural and cultural treasures.
As the festival dates draw near, the excitement is palpable in the air, and all signs point to a grand and unforgettable celebration. It’s not just an event for bird lovers; it’s an opportunity to immerse oneself in the beauty of Bhutan’s traditions and nature. Don’t miss the chance to be a part of this extraordinary experience in Tingtibi, Zhemgang, and witness the magic of the Bhutan Bird Festival.