Bhutan Gears Up for Annual Paro Tshechu Festival

Festivals are an essential part of Bhutanese culture and there is always some festival happening in every part of Bhutan throughout the year. Most of them are derived from Buddhism and have their origin in the country’s rich heritage.

The Punakha Tshechu Festival 2023 was held for three days (1 -3 March) at the courtyard of the majestic Punakha Dzong to honour Guru Rinpoche. This is one of the biggest festivals in Bhutan.

With the coming of spring, Paro, the international airport district of Bhutan, bustles with colours, music and dance. Its biggest and most popular festival takes place in spring, on the 10th day of the second Bhutanese lunar month. This year, it will take place from 2-6 April. The five-day Paro Tshechu Festival 2023 will be held at Rinpung Dzong in Paro during the spring season. It is one of the most spectacular festivals in Bhutan and a major tourist attraction from around the world. On the first day, all mask dances are held inside the courtyard of Rinpung Dzong. In subsequent days, the courtyard outside the dzong hosts the festival.

The festival features various mask dances and traditional Bhutanese folk dances performed by both monks as well as locals. The main highlight of the festival is the unfurling of the immense embroidery of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Throngdrel) on the final day depicting the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche. The giant embroidery covers the entire three-story wall and many people queue up to view and get blessings from the Throngdrel every year. It is said that you can wash your sins by merely watching the artwork.

This is going to be the first Paro Tshechu festival since the lockdown. This is the peak tourist season and Bhutan is hoping to revive its tourism industry.

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