BhutanTravelAgency.com Announces Various Thimphu Festival Tours

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BhutanTravelAgency.com, a leading Bhutan travel company lists the recently announced schedule for the upcoming Thimphu Drubchen and Thimphu Tshechu tours in September 2012, and it promises to make for colorful and meaningful Bhutan holidays. Thimphu Drubchen is from 20th September to 24th September. Thimphu Tshechu starts on 25th September with Shacham (stag dance), where dancers wearing knee length costumes and stag masks perform a dance. The festival will be concluded on 27th September with the unfurling of a Guru Thongdrol (Thanka), a giant appliqué image of Guru Rinpoche, which, it is believed, absolves all negativity from whoever looks upon it.

Victory of good over evil dance in Thimphu Festival

Thimphu Festival Mask Dance

These dances mesmerises the tourists to the core, and hence forms the best Bhutan Travel Itineraries when combined with Bhutan culture tours,” says Karma Tshering, the cofounder of BhutanTravelAgency.com

One of the most spectacular Buddhist Festival Tours is now open for booking with the launch of Thimphu Festival tours by BhutanTravelAgency.com. The Thimphu Drubchen and Tshechu festivals are held in the idyllic capital, a 45 minute drive away from the airport in Paro.

The Thimphu Drubchen (Domchoe) precedes the Tshechu festivals, and was until recently, photography was not allowed during this festival as it was considered sacred. The Drubchen begins on September 20, and ends on September 24 - an ideal time for coming to Bhutan, as the weather is mild and pleasant, and the clear skies offer unrestricted views of snow capped mountains.

The annual festival, also known as Lhamoi Drubchen, is dedicated to the female protecting deity of Bhutan, Palden Lhamo. The sacred dance ceremony was initiated by the reincarnation of a saint in the 18th century, and has remained unchanged over the centuries. The legend goes that the goddess appeared to the saint as a vision during meditation, and taught him the dances, which he introduced in the festival in her honour.

Thimphu Festival is similar to other district festivals, begins on September 25, immediately after the conclusion of the Thimphu Drubchen. Like similar festivals across the country, the Thimphu Tshechu is dedicated to the 8th century saint and teacher, Guru Padmasambhava, known in Bhutan as Guru Rinpochhe.

The 3 day festival is open to tourists, and is a great photographic opportunity for Bhutan travelers. Monks and Laymen perform various dances-some are tales of ancient Kings, while others are sacred dances that appeared to saints during meditation. They depict the Tantric Buddhist versions of the afterlife, saints and deities. The Tshechu also includes humour with a play about men and women and their fickleness, and the famous Atsara, the red faced clowns, licensed to poke fun at everything around them.

The first day of Thimphu Tshechu showcases the Shacham (stag dance), where dancers wearing knee length costumes and stag masks perform a dance depicting the subjugation of the evil wind king by Guru Rinpochhe, the Peling Ging Sum (The three kings of Ging), which depict the victory of good over evil, and the Pacham (dance of the heroes) where the people who have performed good deeds are led to Guru Rinpochhe after their life on earth has ended.

The first day also introduces the famous Shawo Shachi (Dance of the Stag and the Hounds), which tells the beautiful story of the saint Milarepa, who brought compassion to the hearts of the hounds that were chasing a stag through a forest where the saint was meditating. The beautiful Dramyen Cham (Dance with traditional lutes) with elaborate costumes is also erformed on this day.

The second day introduces the spectacular Zhana Cham, where dancers representing yogis who have the power to take and recreate life, are dressed in large black hats and brocade. The mesmerizing Zhana Nga Chham follows, where the dancers perform a victory with drums following the destruction of evil.
The Pholey Moley (Noblemen and Ladies) is a humorous drama based on the men and women in King Norzhang’s court.

The final day introduces the more menacing dances- Durdag is performed with skull masks and depict the lords of the cremation grounds subjugating the demons who harm tantric Buddhism, Tungam is again performed with terrifying masks, and depict Guru Rinpochhe waging a war against demonic powers, and Raksha Marcham depicts the judgement of the dead.

The most important dance in the festival may be the Guru Tshengye Dance, where it is believed the Guru himself manifests in the dancers who represent his eight manifestations, and blesses the onlookers.

The Tshechu concludes with the unfurling of a Guru Thongdroel, a giant appliqué image of Guru Rinpoche, which, it is believed, absolves all negativity from whoever looks upon it.

The Thimphu 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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