A colourful and exciting affair
The Punakha Tshechu festival is one of Bhutan’s most popular celebrations. A colourful and exciting affair, a ‘tshechu’ includes a masked dance performances with great religious or historical importance. Typically taking place in February or March, the Punakha Tshechu festival follows the three days of the Drubchen Tshechu festival.
Celebrated over several days, the Punakha Tshechu festival features an array of dances performed by monks in beautiful costumes and masks. The local people are kept entertained between dances by atsaras, clowns whose expressive masks and postures are an indispensable element in the festivities. They confront the monks, toss out salacious jokes, and distract the crowd with their antics whenever the religious dances begin to grow tedious, keeping the mood joyous.
The Punakha Tshechu festival is one of the best ways to witness and experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. The unfurling of the Thongdrol (a large silk painting) of Guru Rinpoche on the last day is a highlight of the festival for local communities.
A true celebration of tradition and culture, Bhutan’s array of year-round festivals aim to bring local people together, from across the country, to share stories and pass on traditions. Tshechus are held in most valleys, at different times of the year, based on the Bhutanese lunar calendar. It is recommended to speak to your preferred travel specialist to confirm your travel dates coincide with the confirmed date of the festival you wish to attend.