One of the biggest festivals in Bhutan is the Thimphu Tshechu. This festival is held in the capital city for three days beginning on 10th day of the 8th month of lunar calendar.
The Tshechu is witnessed by thousands of people who come from all over the country many of which travel from neighboring Dzongkhags (districts) to attend the festivities. The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.
When it was initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, in 1867 the Tshechu consisted of only a few dances performed strictly by monks. These were the Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground), and the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities).
The Thimphu Tshechu underwent a change in the 1950s, when the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks). These additions added color and variation to the festival without compromising its spiritual significance. Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) are enjoyed because they are similar to stage-theater.
One of the highlights of the festival is the atsaras who are jesters and entertain the crowd. But the role of the atsaras is very spiritual in nature and has deep-rooted essence. The name atsara is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘acharya’ meaning scholars. The dances and the jesting of the Atsaras are believed to entrance evil forces and prevent them from causing harm during Tshechus. Modern Atsaras also perform short skits to disseminate health and social awareness messages.
To farmers, the Tshechu is also seen as a break from farm life. It’s an occasion to celebrate, receive blessings and pray for health and happiness.
Green Mandala Tours is a licensed and registered tour operator in Bhutan. We pride ourselves in providing all kinds of customized tour services in Bhutan from simple cultural tours to organizing the grueling month-long Snowmen Trek, considered by many as the toughest trek in the world.
The founder of the company is Tashi Dorji (Mr), a former newspaper journalist who worked in four newspapers and served as editor in three of them. An ardent traveller himself, Tashi Dorji always gives his personal touch to all groups of tourists and takes personal interest in making each and every tourist enjoy Bhutan to the fullest.
We believe every tourist visiting Bhutan is on a-once-in-a-lifetime trip and we try our best to make it as much memorable as we can. We are more than eager to organize exclusive and luxurious trips and we take it as a challenge to meet each and every wish of our guests.
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