Tentative Bhutan festival calendar for 2021
SL.No. Dates Festival Place Descriptions
1 19th – 21st February Punakha Drubchen Punakha Dzong in Punakha Punakha Drubchen is a glorious event and a superb demonstration of Bhutanese culture, combining powerful rites with a dazzling display of horsemanship and swordplay.
2 22nd – 24th February Punakha Tshechu Punakha Dzong in Punakha The Punakha Tshechu is one of the most popular festivals in the country. It is held right after the popular Punakha Drubchen. The unfurling of the thongdrol (embroidered painting) of Guru Rinpochhe is the main attraction of the festival.
3 27 February Tharpaling Thongdrol Tharpaling Lhakhang at Chumi in Bumthang Tharpaling Thongdrol a day-long festival mainly the display of giant thongdrol (embroidered painting) of Jowo Jampa and Kuenkhen Longchen Rabjam. It is preceded by mega prayer by the monks of Tharpaling Lhakhang for 10 days.
4 21st – 23rd March Gomphu Kora Gom Kora Lhakhang in Trashiyangtse Gomphu Kora Tshechu is a popular festival celebrated in the eastern Bhutan. This festival brings together people from all eastern Bhutan. Traditionally, it is believed the festival is the occasion to find a soul-mate for marriage.
5 21st – 23rd March Talo Tshechu Talo Gonpa in Punakha A three-day Talo Tshechu is well known for its mask and atsara dances. The Atsara is an integral part of the festivals. This festival has a deep religious and historical significance. The women of Talo are known for their beauty.
6 21st – 23rd March Gasa Tshechu Gasa Dzong in Gasa Gasa is home to the highland communities and the Tshechu is the best way to experience the amazing culture of highland communities. Very unique and distinct mask dances and the local folk dances are performed adding to the festive mood of the celebration.
7 21st – 23rd March Zhemgang Tshechu Zhemgang Dzong in Zhemgang Zhemgang Tshechu is the biggest festival in the region. Different mask dances are performed for three days with the unfurling of a giant thongdrel (embroidered painting) of Guru Nangsi-zilnon on the fourth day.
8 24th – 28th March Paro Tshechu Rinpung Dzong in Paro Paro Tshechu is known far and wide for its sacredness, particularly associated with the dzong’s sacred treasures like the cymbal obtained from Nub Tshona Pata and Thongdrel. The sacred thongdrol (embroidered painting) of Guru Rinpoche is unfurled early in the morning on the last day of the tshechu for public viewing and veneration. The festival is preceded by prayers and rituals to invoke the gods.
9 27th February and 13th March Chhorten Kora Festival Chorten Kora in Trashiyangtse The Chorten Kora festival or 'Dakpa Kora', is one of oldest religious festivals of eastern Bhutan. This festival sees local people and Dakpa people from Arunachal Pradesh (India) to circumambulate the chorten.
10 16th – 18th April Rhododendron Festival Lamperi Botanical Garden at Dochula in Thimphu The Rhododendron festival celebrates rhododendron flowers, which blossoms abundantly in Bhutan. The festival features the rhododendron garden walk and exhibition, local culture and cuisines, arts and crafts, traditional games, among others. It displays different species that are in full bloom in their natural habitat.
11 22nd – 28th April Domkhar Tshechu Domkhar at Chumi in Bumthang Domkhar Tshechu includes mask dance and dances performed by the local people of Domkhar village. The mask dance includes Peling Chams (composition of Terton Pema Lingpa). The festival displays large thongdrols (embroidered paintings) to the people on the last day.
12 24th – 28th April Ura Yakchoe Ura Lhakhang in Bumthang Ura Yakchoe highlights the invoking and escorting of the Yidam Chhana Dorjee from Gaythen to Ura. It is both a festival and a dance. It is the festival that gives an insight into the beliefs and faith of the Bhutanese people and culture. The people worship the statue in Ura Yakchoe to receive a blessing.
13 18th and 20th June Nimalung Tshechu Nimalung Dratshang at Chumi in Bumthang Nimalung Tshechu is well known for its mask dance including Guru Tshengye chham and Drametse Nga Cham performed by the monks of Nimalung Dratshang. The final day of the festival displays thongdrol (embroidered painting) of Guru Tshengye (Guru’s eight manifestation) in the morning.
14 20th June Kurjey Tshechu Kurjey Lhakhang at Choekhor in Bumthang Kurjey Tsechu presents the mask dances including the Guru Tshengye and Shinjay cham performed by the monks of Kurjey Lhakhang. The festival is closed with unfurling of a giant thongdrel (embroidered painting) of Buddha/Guru on the last day. The festival is fully supported and funded by the government of Bhutan.
15 10th and 11th July Haa Summer Festival Haa The Haa Summer Festival celebrates the traditional living-culture, nomadic lifestyles, unique Bhutanese cuisine, traditional sports and religious performances. It exhibits the lives and traditions of Bhutan’s nomadic herders with the demonstration of local cuisines, brewing of local ara, artifacts and natural alpine flowers, among others.
16 15th and 16th August Mushroom Festival Genekha in Thimphu The mushroom festival is celebrated to help preserve and promote the culture and tradition. It creates awareness on the sustainable harvesting of the local mushroom and enjoys the organic natural flavors of nature. The community showcases the native mushrooms for sale, food stalls, other local products and mushroom hunting.
17 23rd & 24th August Matsutake Mushroom Festival Ura in Bumthang Matsutake Mushroom Festival enables the visitors to identify the fabled mushrooms as they embark on mushroom picking excursions around the pristine forests and hills. The community showcases the native mushrooms for sale, food stalls, other local products and mushroom hunting, among others.
18 7th September Tour of the Dragon (Bicycle Race) Bumthang to Thimphu The Tour of the Dragon kicks off from Bumthang to Thimphu. It is Bhutan’s hardest and most popular one-day mountain bike race. This is the perfect time for the race as the monsoon has just ended and the cool, crisp autumn weather is just starting to set in as the heat of summer fades.
19 12th September Trashichho Dzong in Thimphu Tashi Chhodzong in Thimphu Thimphu drubchen is observed by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods. The sacred masked dance is dedicated to appeasing the protecting deity of Bhutan, Pelden Lhamo.
20 14th – 16th September Wangdue Tshechu Tencholing Army Ground in Wangdue Phodrang The tshechu is well known for the Raksha Mangcham or the Dance of the Ox. Many different kinds of mask dances are performed during the festival. It concludes with the unfurling of the Guru Tshengye Thongdrel (embroidered painting).
21 16th – 18th September Tamshing Phala Choepa Tamshing Lhakhang in Bumthang The festival includes the Phagchham (pig dance) which was composed by the great saint Mewang. People from different parts of Bumthang and also from other parts of Bhutan gather to witness the dances of Terton performed on the first night.
22 16th – 18th September Thimphu Tshechu Trashichho Dzong in Thimphu Thimphu tshechu is a very significant event that brings together entire communities to witness religious and colorful traditional dances. The sacred Thongdrol (embroidered painting) of Guru Rinpochhe is unfurled early in the morning on the last day of the Tshechu. The festival is held after a three-day annual Thimphu drubchen.
23 18th – 20th September Gangtey Tshechu Gangtey Goenpa at Phobjikha in Wangduephodrang The Tshechu comprises showcasing different sacred masked dances and cultural dances. The conclusion of the festival is highlighted with a receiving of spiritual blessing called the Nguedrup Langwa.
24 19th – 21st September Thangbi Mani Tangbi Lhakhang at Choekor in Bumthang The festival is a display of the rich tradition and it celebrates the cultural heritage of the ancient Thangbi Lhakhang. The main highlight of the festival is the Mewang (fire blessing) ceremony. Mewang ceremony was performed in an open ground. Then mask dances and folk dances are performed.
25 14th and 15th October Jomolhari Mountain Festival Dangochong in Thimphu Jomolhari Mountain Festival is celebrated at the base of Mountain Jomolhari. It is celebrated by the communities located along one of the most scenic trekking routes in Bhutan. The festival celebrates the culture of the communities living together with the natural wonders such as snow leopards.
26 23rd and 24th October Royal Highland Festival Laya in Gasa The Royal highland festival is celebrated at an altitude of 4,000m above sea level in Laya – one of the beautiful highland communities in the country. This festival is an absolutely unforgettable celebration of the culture and religion of highland. It is a unique opportunity for visitors to Bhutan to experience the highland way of life.
27 13th – 15th October Chhukha Tshechu Chhukha Dzong in Chhukha The tshechu comprises different masked dances and cultural items as an offering to the Guru Padmasambhava. The mask dances and folk dances are performed to bless onlookers, to teach the Buddhist dharma, to protect from misfortune and to exorcise all evil. The last day of the Tshechu, a massive thongdrol (embroidered painting) of Guru is unfurled.
28 12th – 16th October Jakar Tshechu Jakar Dzong at Choekhor in Bumthang The festival displays several sacred mask dances. The festival also hosts different types of folk songs and dances from Bumthang. It is also believed that merit is gained by attending these festivals. The dances invoke the deities to wipe out misfortunes, increase good luck and grant personal wishes.
29 21st – 23rd October Jambay Lhakhang Drup Jambay Lhakhang at Choekhor in Bumthang The 7th century Tibetan king Songsten Gampo is said to have built 108 temples in one day and Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang is believed to be one of them. Different types of masked dances including Terchham (Naked Dance), which was formerly initiated by Terton Dorje Lingpa is performed. The dances are performed by the local villagers of Norgang, Changwa and Nangsiphel.
30 21st – 23rd October Prakhar Duchhoed Prakar Khakhang at Chummi in Bumthang The annual festival is celebrated to honor Lama Thukse Dawa, one of the sons of the 15th century Buddhist master, Terton (treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa, who was one of the greatest Buddhist masters born in Bhutan. Mask dances are performed during the festival.
31 15th October Dechenphu Tshechu Dechenphu Lhakhang in Thimphu The tshechu is dedicated to Gay Ngyen Jakpa Melen, a powerful guardian deity of Bhutan. Some sacred dances performed during the festival include the Zhananga Cham, Genyen Kunchaam, Shazam Cham, and Nga Cham. Various cultural programs are performed by the dancers of the Royal Academy of Performing Arts.
32 11th November Black Necked Crane Festival Gangtey Goenpa at Phobjikha in Wangdue Phodrang The festival celebrates the annual migration of the black-necked crane. The students in crane costumes will perform swirling dances in the courtyard of the Gangtey Monastery. Black-necked crane is an endangered bird species and legally protected in Bhutan.
33 11th to 13th November Bhutan Birds Festival Tingtibi in Zhemgang Bhutan bird festival celebrates pay tribute to His Majesty's visionary leadership to conservation in Bhutan. A large number of native bird species make Zhemgang a potential area for bird watching. It recognizes the guided birding tours and photography tours.
34 12th – 14th November Mongar Tshechu Mongar Dzong in Mongar Mongar Tshechu presents a lot of unique dances indigenous to the region. The Tshechu showcases its unique dances and traditions. This region is famous for its exquisite wood carvings and exhibits its culture at the festival.
35 12th – 14th November Trashigang Tshechu Trashigang Dzong in Trashigang The preparations for the Trashigang Tshechu begins two days before the actual festival. The nomadic community of Merak and Sakteng – Brokpas come with their unique dress and appearance. Besides mask dances, the old Thongdrol of Guru Tshengyed (eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche) is displayed on the final day.
36 19th November Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham Jambay Lhakhang at Choekhor in Bumthang Jambay Lhakhang Singye Cham is the performance of Singye Cham or the Lion dance. It believes to appease all the sentient beings and considered to wash away the sins of people who witness it. Besides mask dances and local dances, the local people display the local arts and handicrafts.
37 12th – 24th November Pemagatshel Tshechu Pemagatshel Dzong in Pemagatshel Pemagatshel Tshechu is trusted that one can go to justify being part of this religious festival. Folk dances and music are quite common during this period. It is also an annual social gathering where people from all walks of life get together.
38 19th – 21st November Ngaa Lhakhang Zhey Ngaa Lhakhang at Choekhor in Bumthang Nalakhar festival is celebrated to bring happiness and prosperity to the village and the country at large. It is a great chance to see the novel Tsechu being held in the remote country town of Bhutan. It is also a symbolic prayer for a good harvest and the wellbeing of everyone.
39 13th December Druk Wangyel Tshechu Douchula in Thimphu Druk Wangyel Tshechu is a significant annual event held in honor of the courageous service of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo who personally led the troops against the insurgents and the regular armed forces of the country. The most popular dances performed at the festival were the dance of Jetsun Milarepa, the 11th-century Buddhist mystical saint, and the dance depicting the heroes.
40 12th – 14th December Trongsa Tshechu Trongsa Dzong in Trongsa Trongsa Tshechu is one of the oldest Tshechus in Bhutan. It is believed that Tshechus in other parts of Bhutan was spread from Trongsa Dzongkhag. It also presents mask dances by the Buddhist Monks and melodies and dance from the local villagers.
41 12th – 14th December Lhuentse Tshechu Lhuentse Dzong in Lhuentse Lhuentse Tshechu comprises various masked dances and traditional cultural dances. It is a native land of the country's finest handicraft product called the "Kishuthara", which is also the famous local product of Khoma village in Lhuentse. The people wear these beautiful patterns of Kira and rich ornaments.
42 19th – 21st December Nabji Lhakhang Drup Nabji Lhakhang at Nabji in Trongsa The Nabji Lhakhang festival is believed to bless infertile women with a child and performed by naked dancers with a facial mask at night, over a bonfire. Through this ritual, villagers believe there will be no disasters or epidemics in the village by the grace of the local deities. It blesses the village with abundant wealth and bountiful crops.
43 24th January 2021 Foothills Festival Gelephu in Sarpang Dzongkhag The festival of the foothills showcases the production of agriculture and livestock for the farmers of southern Bhutan. It is to exchange values, knowledge, skills and best practices related to southern and animal farming.