One of the most unforgettable experiences from our Bhutan trip is witnessing the Thimpu Drubchen and Paro Dromche festival. A visit to this foreign land, and we realize how ignorant we are of the rich culture and traditions that every community preserves so painstakingly.
As we watched the magic of both the festival unfold before us, we were mesmerized by the spiritual fervor of the otherwise mellow Bhutanese locals. Perhaps our prime reason to travel to Bhutan in October, to witness the two most important festivals, was indeed right. These festivals are a colorful melange of the country’s culture.
So now that we are somewhat more culturally aware, we have some idea what these festivals are all about. Thimpu Drubchen festival takes place right before the bigger celebratory event called the Thimpu Tshechu which lasts for three days. Thimpu Drubchen is, on the other hand, just one day of festivity where sacred dances are performed by monks to honor Palden Lhamo – the prime protective deity of the Bhutanese people.
Our newly made friend, Thinley Tshering told us that each of the Drubchen dances had a special religious significance. I found the Cham dance (mask and costume dance by monks) to be most fascinating. The Cham dancers performed the energetic routine with such grace and gusto, I just couldn’t take my eyes off of them. Apparently, the Cham dance is meant to bless the onlookers and ward off evil negativity.
Now I don’t know if being part of the audience brought us any good fortune or not. But I do know that witnessing both the festivals blessed us with so many novel experiences and cherished memories – they have to be the prime highlights of our trip. And it was definitely a good decision to travel to Bhutan during the festival time. Ah, the Bhutanese festivals – what spectacle!
Pretty excited to make it to the festival – just a pose with our friend Thinley before the spectacle
The entrance of the Dzong had this impressive structure fixed onto the wall
Head of Thimphu gracing the festival – the view from his chamber must be spectacular
The central monk body enjoys the clear view of the entire festival
Cham dancer enticing the crowd and warding off the evil
Local Bhutanese folk dancers performing and dancing
Fun celebrations at the Thimphu Dzong
As the ceremony unfurled, various clowns addressed the crowd, and made them laugh!
Folk artists wearing colorful costumes and playing trumpet
Paro Domche Festival in the Dzong
Minister sitting in his chamber and watching the show
Masked monks performed amidst huge fanfare
Buddhist monks playing the Lawah (long trumpet)
Even in Paro Dromche, masked dancers re-enacted an episode of the war against the Tibet
Harsh striking a pose with the friendly monks just before we made an exit
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