Haa Summer Festival shifts to Spring, renamed Haa Spring Festival

The Haa Summer Festival, held for three days every year will now take place in the Spring and be known as the Haa Spring Festival. This change, according to the district administration, aligns perfectly with the district’s favourable weather conditions and seasonal delights during this time of the year, including the peak bloom of various herbs and flowers. The event which kicked off yesterday has already drawn hundreds of local visitors.

The festival has relocated from Eusu Gewog to Yangthang, an open place just over a kilometre from Haa towards Bji Gewog.

On the first day of the event yesterday, hundreds of visitors flocked to the festival from as far as Thimphu and Paro.

The festival showcased vibrant customs, nomadic traditions, and local delights through demonstrations, cultural programmes and sporting events,

Visitors also got to enjoy regional cuisine, yak and horse riding and exhibitions of native Haa cattle breed Nublang and trout species.

Springtime ensures majestic yaks remain in the accessible valley below, adding to the festival’s charm and providing commercial opportunities for the people.

“The change in the timing of the festival has benefited us all. This time of the year, there is no rain or snow and we haven’t migrated to summer grazing place yet. Therefore, we can sell our produce from Haa to foreigners and visitors. The program is a great marketplace to clear our stocks,” said Nima Tshering, a participant from Talung, Bji Gewog.

“We can exhibit and sell local cuisine along with other agricultural produce to visitors. We are hopeful that through this kind of program, we will be able to market Haa as a tourist destination and we would like to thank those who visited today,” said Dawa Tshering, Eusu Mangmi.

“The venue here is convenient for us and the weather is favourable. It gives us time to bond with our loved ones, enjoy cultural programmes and immerse ourselves in the festivity,” said Chimi, a visitor from Ingo, Kartsog Ggewog.

“Many people are visiting the festival due to the favourable weather conditions. I am hopeful that we will be able to sell our cheese or local datshi which we normally don’t make for selling purposes. We are looking forward to marketing our produce,” said Tashi Zam, a participant from Wangsa.

“To attract and convince tourists, it’s important to keep fixed dates for the festival as they need time to plan their visit. I think Spring is ideal for the event because of the blooming flowers and abundance of herbal plants in Haa. Tourists are drawn to these natural attractions and are keen to explore such areas,” said Sonam Phuntsho, a tour operator from  Thimphu.

On the first day of the festival, around 40 international tourists visited the district.

“Being highlanders and living in one of the most remote locations, we are entirely dependent on cattle and crops. One resource that we believe has the potential to spur development in our district is tourism. As a result, inviting and drawing in as many tourists as possible is our main goal,” said Passa, Bji Gup.

The district plans to make the current festival location permanent and is considering constructing permanent structures in the future. The festival will conclude tomorrow.

The Department of Tourism introduced the first edition of the festival in 2011.

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