2.0 Mask Dance Festival (Tshechu) of Bhutan 

Come and visit one of the Himalaya's least known regions at a time when deities and demons, wrathful and benign, appear in a blaze of brilliant colour as they dance in honor of Guru Padmasambhava – the Lotus-born. Born in the 8th century in India, Guru Padmasambhava is referred to as second Buddha who contributed immensely to the diffusion of Tantric Buddhism in the Himalayan region. He founded Ngingmapa, the “old school” of Lamaism.

Each monastery or dzong holds an annual festival, Tsechu, which enacts victory of dharma and the glory of Guru Padmasambhava. The dances impart morality, gain merits and acts as an important social occasion. Tshechus are not only sacred occasions for all Bhutanese but also a time to socialize with families and friends in their best finery and feasts.

Festivals extend from 2 to 6 days with monks and laymen taking active part in dances. The highlight of most Bhutanese festivals is the brief unfurling of huge hand embroidered thangkas (appliqué) representing Buddha or Guru Padmasambhava.



2.1 Punakha Tshechu Festival

Venue : Punakha (3 hrs. drive from Thimphu)
Region : West-central
Departures: Feb. 16-23, 2013
Tour brief:

Feb. 16: - Arrive in Paro. Drive to Thimphu
Feb.17 : - Morning sightseeing and drive to Punakha in the evening.
Feb. 18: - Attend to the first day festival
Feb. 19 : - Attend to the second day festival
Feb. 20 : - Go on a full day sightseeing.
Feb. 21 : - Return to Paro for sightseeing and shopping.
Feb. 22 : - Take an excursion to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest monastery), our national icon.
Feb. 23 : - Departure from Paro for onward flights.

Highlights:

1. Experience rare and unique display over Bhutanese warriors pretending to discard Bhutan’s most precious and priceless relic into the river to discourage Tibetan invaders who came after it. The relic is one of the 21 spinal bones of Choeje Tsampa Jarey, the root of Drukpa Kagyu linage which has a self-created image of Amitaba, the God of Compassion.

2. Earn merits attending to this very unique mask dance festival

3. Able to talk and intermingle with hundreds of people from central Bhutan in their best finery during festivals.

4. Visit Punakha Dzong, a master piece of modern Bhutanese architecture marvel and the former capital of Bhutan and still the winter residence of the monks from Thimphu.

5. Visit Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest monastery) our national icon.


2.2 Paro Tshechu Festival 

Venue : Paro
Region: West
Departures: 24-30, 2013
Tour brief:

March 24: - Arrive in Paro. Check into hotel for your room
- Refreshment or lunch whichever is earlier.
- A brief orientation on your trip to Bhutan
- Spend part of the day to witness second day festival dances
- O/n in Paro

March 25: - Attend full day to the third day tshechu
-O/n in hotel in Paro

March 26: - Attend to first part of the day festival.
-Spend rest of the day visiting Paro Dzong and Kitchu monastery founded in the  8th century.

March 27: - Attend to the display of the world’s largest hand embroidered thanka of Guru Padmasambhava between 3 am and 7 am.
- Return to hotel for breakfast
- Rest till mid day
- Visit the national museum in Paro
- Drive to Thimphu for o/night.

March 28: - Spend the day sightseeing in Thimphu.
March 29: - A day excursion to Punakha and back to Thimphu.
March 30 - Drive to Paro for departure from Paro International airport for onward flight

Highlights:

1. Experience rare and unique mask dance festivals

2. Earn merits attending to the mask dance festival especially when you witness the display of the appliqué.

3. Able to talk and intermingle with thousands of people from around the country in their best finery during festivals.

4. Visit Punakha Dzong, a master piece of Bhutanese architecture marvel and the former capital of Bhutan and still the winter residence of the monks from Thimphu.



2.3 Thimphu Mask Dance Festival

Name of Festival: Thimphu Tshechu
Venue : Thimphu
Region: West
Departures: 13 – 20 Sept. 2013
Tour brief: 

Sept. 13: - Arrive in Paro.
- Drive to Thimphu (1hr.) for O/N

Sept. 14: - Attend full day to the first day tshechu in Thimphu
Sept. 15: - Attend to the second day tshechu till mid-day. - Spend rest of the day sightseeing.
Sept. 16: - Spend the day sightseeing in Thimphu. - Drive to Punakha in the afternoon.
Sept. 17: - Visit Punakha Dzong - Visit Chimi Lhakhang (Fertility temple)
Sept. 18: - Return to Paro for O/N (3 hrs. 30 min.).
Sept. 19: - An Excursion to Taktsang (Tiger Nest) monastery, our national icon.
Sept. 20: - Departure for Paro for onward flights

Highlights:

1. Experience rare and unique mask dance festivals

2. Earn merits attending to the mask dance festival especially when you witness the display of the appliqué.

3. Able to talk and intermingle with thousands of people from around the country in their best finery during festivals

4. Be able to visit Tsashichhodzongs – the national secretariat and Visit Punakha Dzong, a master piece of Bhutanese architecture marvel and the former capital of Bhutan and still the winter residence of the monks from Thimphu.

5. Visit Taktsang (tiger’s Nest monastery), our national icon.


2.4 JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP FESTIVAL

Name of festival: : Jambay Lhakhang Drup
Venue : : Jakar, Bumthang (8-9 hrs. drive from Thimphu
Region : : Central
Departures : Oct. 15 to 27, 2013
Tour brief:

Oct. 15: - Arrive in Paro.
Oct. 16: - Drive Paro to Wangdue - 3 hrs.
Oct. 17: - Drive to Trongsa – 5 hrs.
Oct. 18: - Full day attendance to Jambay Lhakhang Drup
Oct. 19: - Attend to Jambay Lhakhang Drup till mid day. Spend the afternoon sightseeing. - Attend to the mid night naked dance
Oct. 20: - Attend to Prakar Tshechu in Chummey valley. Return to Jakar for O/n.
Oct. 21: - Drive to Trongsa for sightseeing. O/n in Trongsa
Oct. 22: - Drive to Phobjikha too see the Gagtey Goenpa monastery and the sight of rare black-necked cranes which comes to winter here in the valley.
Oct. 23: - Drive to Punakha for sightseeing.
Oct. 24: - Drive to Thimphu for sightseeing and shopping.
Oct. 25: - Sightseeing in Thimphu. Drive to Paro for the evening.
Oct. 26: - An excursion to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest monastery), our national icon.
Oct. 27: - Departure for your next destination

Highlights:

1. Experience rare and unique mask dance festivals of Pelling linage

2. Earn merits attending to the mask dance festival

3. Able to talk and intermingle with hundreds of people from central Bhutan in their best finery during festivals.

4. Able to visit Jambay Lhakhang and Kurjey monasteries which are two oldest and most sacred in Bhutan.

5. Visit Punakha Dzong, a master piece of Bhutanese architecture marvel and the former capital of Bhutan and still the winter residence of the monks from Thimphu.

6. Visit Bumthang, one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan sometimes referred to as second Switzerland.

7. Visit to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest monastery), our national icon.

8. Visit Trongsa, the largest dzong and historically the most important.


2.5 TRONGSA MASK DANCE FESTIVAL

Name of festival: Trongsa Tshechu
Venue : Trongsa (6-7 hrs. drive from Thimphu)
Region : Central
Departures: Jan. 4-14, 2013
Brief itinerary:

Jan. 4: - Arrive in Paro. Transfer to Thimphu (2 hrs.) for o/n.
Jan. 5: - Attend to national day celebration. O/n in Thimphu
Jan. 6: - Drive to Punakha (3 hrs.) for sightseeing and o/n.
Jan. 7: - Morning sightseeing in Punakha, leave for Phobjikha in the afternoon.
Jan. 8: - Morning sightseeing in Phobjikha, leave for Trongsa (3 hrs.) in the afternoon.
Jan. 9: - Full day attendance to Trongsa Tshechu
Jan.10: - Attend to Trongsa tshechu till mid day. Spend part of the day sightseeing.
Jan.11: - Drive Trongsa to Wangdi (5 hrs.)
Jan.12: - Drive to Paro (3-4 hrs.). Spend rest of the day sightseeing.
Jan.13: - Day excursion to Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest) monastery
Jan.14: - Departure for your next destination

Highlights:

1. Experience rare and unique mask dance festivals in the most historic and the largest Dzong in the country.

2. Earn merits attending to the mask dance festival

3. Able to talk and intermingle with hundreds of people from central Bhutan in their best finery during festivals.

4. Able to visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest and historically the most important site from where the first two kings ruled the country.

5. Visit in Phobjikha enables you to see Gangtey Goenpa monastery and the rare black-necked crane which comes to winter here.

6. Visit Punakha Dzong, a master piece of Bhutanese architecture marvel and the former capital of Bhutan and still the winter residence of the monks from Thimphu.

7. Visit Bumthang, one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan sometimes referred to as second Switzerland.

8. Visit Taktsang (Tiger’s Nest monastery), our national icon. 


Your tariff covers:

  1. 3 full meals and 2 light refreshments of tea/coffee with snacks a day.

  2. Lodge in standard hotels on twin sharing basis.

  3. A resourceful licensed guide who speaks your language.

  4. Local transport in imported coasters/landcruisers/vans/cars depending on group sizes.

  5. All access fees to museums, parks and other entry fees related to the tour including visa and tourist development fees (TDF).

  6. Secure visa for Bhutan and flight reservations connecting to all druk Air destinations in Bangkok, Delhi, Kolkatta, Kathmandu and Dacca with no additional costs.  


What is NOT covered:

 1.  Any air tickets

 2.  Any expenses incurred on medical emergencies and evacuations

      but medical consultations and treatment in local hospitals is free

      of charges.

 3.  Any liabilities due to cancellation of flights, roadblock, etc.

             4.  Any kind of personal expenses.

 5.  Any supplement costs.

 6.  Any tips and gratitude to hotels & tour staff.

 7.  Anything not mentioned above.


Note: While groups with 3 pax and above do not pay surcharges, individuals pay Eur 28 per night and couples Eur 21 each.