YANA information
Festivals in Bhutan
Bhutan Festivals
Tshechu Thimphu Drubchhen & Tshechu
Mask Dances
Bhutanese Festivals
Tshechu Mask Dance

The Tshechu is a festival in honour of Padmasambhava-"one who was born from a lotus flower", popularly known under the name of "Guru Rimpoche", the Precious Teacher. This Indian saint contributed enormously to the diffusion of Tantric Buddhism in the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan etc. around 800A.D. He is the fonder of Nyingmapa, the "old school" of Lamaism, which still has numerous followers.

The biography of Guru Rimpoche is highlighted by 12 episodes on the model of Buddha Shakyamuni's life.

Each episode is commemorated around the year on the 10th day of the month by "The Tshechu" which has become the name of a very popular festival.

The dates and the duration of the festival vary from one district to another but they always take place on or around the 10th day of the month according to the Bhutanese calendar.

During Tshechus, the dances are performed by monks as well as by laymen. The Tshechu is a religious festival and by attending it, it is believed one gains merits. It is also a yearly social gathering where the people come together to rejoice dressed in all their finery.


The eleven-day annual Lhamoi Dubchhen, a rite performed to appease the protecting deity Pelden Lhamo (Mahakali), will be held in September. The clergy is performing a three-day rite for the Thimphu Domchoe while the Lham Tsomo dance, a highlight of the Thimphu Domchoe festival, will be performed in the courtyard in the Tashichhodzong. The Dubchhen was instituted sometime between 1705 and 1709 by Kuenga Gyaltshen, the first reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, the son of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

The annual Thimphu Tshechu, introduced in 1687 during the reign of the fourth Desi, Tenzin Rabgye, will take place over four days end of September. In other religious events, the annual Phurpai Dubchhen (Vajra tradition) ceremony at the National Memorial Chorten will conclude also end of September with the Nguedup Langwa (receiving of spiritual wisdom/power) in the morning and Jinseg (a sacred fire offering) later in the day. top

Durdag Chham
Durdag Chham - Dance of the Cremation Ground

Dance and music play a very important part in the cultural life of people. Each village and community has a rich tradition of dance, which marks the passing seasons, communal occasions and shared experiences. Just like the building of the dzongs and the setting up of the Chhoesi System, the dances have had a similar part to play in helping to unite the people. Through these dances, the ordinary people come to know their place in the history of the country. Chhams "Religious Mask Dances" are usually performed during Tshechus.

The Chhams were composed mainly to convey religious messages to the people.

Some were composed by Guru Rimpoche while others were created by Tertoen Pema Lingpa, Zhabdrung Rimpoche and other great saints. During the mask dances, the deities of the tantric teachings are invoked and through their power and blessings, misfortunes are removed. All evil spirits and demons which are preventing the spread of Chhoe "The Doctrine" are suppressed so that the doctrine of Lord Buddha flourish and bring joy and happiness to all sentient beings.

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