Thimphu, Bhutan (PRWEB) July 24, 2012
Come September, the tourist season begins! The end of the monsoons brings clear Himalayan skies and the beginning of several big festivals in Bhutan. The 2012 calendar is perfect as it fits in two festivals back to back, the Wangdue Festival from the 23rd to the 25th of September followed by the Thimphu Festival from the 25th to the 27th of September. Bookings for these spectacular Buddhist festivals are now open through Bhutan Travel agency.
It is believed that the ones that witness the festival/the tsechu will be bestowed with luck. The Festivals take place in the huge Dzongs (Monastery) and takes the form of stories, played out by the masked dancers.
Festivals in Bhutan are considered very special as they unravel the essence and beliefs of tantric Buddhism and are believed to ward off evil The festivals reveal masked dances choreographed hundreds of years ago with music and rituals, the originality of the dance moves has been retained for centuries and have not been altered with as it is considered a sin to alter the dance. The dancers imitate deities, gods, demons, animals in compassionate and wrathful forms to impart the teachings.
The Wangdi Festival which is to be held from the 23rd to the 25th of September is a religious festival where masked dances are performed to instruct the onlookers in the ways of Dharma. The Tshechu is known for the Raksha Mangcham or the dance of the Ox. It concludes with the unfurling of the Guru Tshengye Thongdroel where people throng to receive blessings.
Followed by the Wangdi festival is the Thimphu Tshechu which is one of the biggest festivals and is witnessed by thousands of people.
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 Pelage Gingsum (The three kings of Ging), depicts the victory of good over evil, and the Pacham (dance of the heroes) shows how the people who have performed good deeds are led to Guru Rinpochhe after their life on earth has ended.
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 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 that the Guru manifests himself in the dancers who represent his eight manifestations and blesses the onlookers.
The festivals are spectacular and attending these festivals will make your travel Bhutan experience truly memorable.