Bhutan Paro Festival 2012 Schedule Announced, Peak Time for Bhutan Tourism

Share Article, a leading Bhutan travel company lists the recently announced schedule for the upcoming Paro Festival in April 2012, and it promises to make for colorful and meaningful Bhutan holidays. The festival will start on 2nd April with the Dance of the Lord of Death and his Consort (Shinje Yab Yum) followed by the dance of the lords of the cremation ground (Durdag) wearing skull masks. The festival will be concluded on 6th April with Thanka (Thongdrol) Ceremony and dance of sixteen fairies.

Mask dance during Paro Festival

These dances enchants the tourists to the core, and thereby Bhutan enjoys maximum tourism during Paro and Thimphu festival,” says Karma Tshering, the cofounder of

The schedule for the upcoming Paro Festival in April 2012 has been announced, and it promises to make for colorful and meaningful Bhutan holidays.

The Paro Tshechu, a sacred festival steeped in ancient tradition and culture, is one of the most sought after events in Bhutan Tourism says the co-founder of one of the leading Bhutan travel company, The festival is held in a stunning 17th century fortress known as the ‘dzong’, and is attended by locals who believe that viewing the religious dances and paintings displayed during the festival blesses and cleanses the soul.

The dances performed during the festival are said to have been choreographed by an 8th century saint based on his visions, and have remained unchanged for centuries. The costumes, masks and choreography have special significance and the performers, who are monks, are said to be in a meditative state during the course of the dance, as they have channeled the divinity of the deities they represent in the dances.

The tshechu features Chhams, which are different from other traditional dances in that they are religious and performed by monks. They have precise choreography, and the movements of the dancers are synchronized to a beat, fascinating all those who have undertaken Bhutan travel during this time.

The festival begins on 2nd April 2012, with the Dance of the Lord of Death and his Consort (Shinje Yab Yum) followed by the dance of the lords of the cremation ground (Durdag) wearing skull masks.

One of the most famous and beautiful dances, the Zhanag or Black hat dance, is performed on this day. The dancers, wearing brocade dresses and black hats, assume the role of yogis with the power to subdue and create life.

On the second day, the dances include Ngas or traditional drums, which add a hypnotic effect to the dances. The highlight of this day is the beginning of the Shawa Sachi chham, or the dance of the Stag and Hounds. This is a favorite tale of a Drukpa Saint, Milarepa, who converted a hunter to Buddhism.

The third day of the festival introduces a deeply symbolic dance known as Tungam, depicting sacrificial murder, performed by dancers wearing beautiful brocade and masks depicting expressions of wrath. Another must see dance on this day is the Pholeg-Moleg, dance of the noblemen and noble women. The dance is full of bawdy, rustic humour, and depicts a tale from the life of King Norzhang.

On the fourth day, Sha Tsham, dance of the four stags, is performed. The dance tells of how Guru Rinpoche subdued the god of wind who was creating havoc on earth. The dancers wear knee length yellow skirts and stag masks, and represent the mounts of the wind god.

The Raksha Mangcham, or the dance of the judgment of the dead is one of the more famous Tshechu dances making it into all Bhutan festival tours, and tells the story of what happens when a being dies. The being enters an intermediary stage between heaven and hell, where the Lord of death doles out judgment by measuring sins against good acts committed by the being, who is then allowed to enter heaven or hell.

The fifth and last day of the Tshechu is the day the giant applique image of the Guru, known as the Guru Thongdroel, is unfurled from one of the walls of the temples in the Dzong courtyard. Locals believe that viewing a Thongdroel has the power to liberate one from bad karma. On the last day, heroes lead believers into the presence of Guru Rinpoche, and Guru Rinpoche reveals his eight manifestations, and fairies perform a dance to bring happiness to the world.

Tshechus also feature the iconic atsara, or the traditional joker, who wears a red mask and entertains the crowd with outrageous antics throughout the festival.

The Paro Tshechu offers a wonderful respite to your Bhutan holiday, and imbues your travel Bhutan experience with some spiritual meaning.


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Karma Tshering
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