Be Thrilled By Adrenaline-Pumping Dance Moves At The Dochula Festival On 13 December

Email

The Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival was initiated by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo as a tribute to His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck for his courageous defense of Bhutan against India’s military occupation in 1992.

Adrenaline pumping dance moves at the Dochula Tschechu. (Source: Hellotravel)

 

By Zann Huizhen Huang for the Daily Bhutan

Come 13 December every year, get ready to feast your eyes upon one of the most incredible and vibrant tshechu (festival) in the magical kingdom of Bhutan.

The Dochula Festival, also known as the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival, was inaugurated in 2011. Since then, it has gained popularity and become one of the must-see tshechus in Bhutan, for both locals and tourists alike.

Unlike most other tshechus in Bhutan which are held within the compounds of a Dzong (Monastery), the Dochula Festival is unique as it takes place in an open-air festival ground near the legendary Dochula Pass.

 

Dochula Pass with its 108 Khangzang Chortens

Source: Itscamilleco

 

Spanning an impressive area of 2475 m2, there is seating capacity for 4000 people. The stage is a raised mound which renders the performers to appear larger-than-life.

The site is about 45 minutes’ drive from Thimphu and offers stunning vistas of the Himalayan mountain range.

What makes the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival unique?

The Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival was initiated by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo as a tribute to His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck for his courageous defense of Bhutan against India’s military occupation in 1992. His Majesty actually risked his life to oust the Indian insurgents from the forest of southern Bhutan.

 

His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck

Source: Satokans.club

 

The site of this fascinating tshechu, located at the famous Dochula Pass with its 108 Khangzang Chortens, was also built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother.

Moreover, the amazing range of artefacts used during the Dochula Festival were created by the Royal Bhutan Army, under the command of Her Majesty.

Unlike most other tshechus which are performed by monks, the performers of Dochula’s mask dances are actually members of the Royal Bhutan Army's Musical Band Troupe who had trained for seven months in preparation for the festival.

Another factor which makes the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival unique is that while the mask dances performed elsewhere in Bhutan are centred around religious themes, Dochula consists of an exciting repertoire of mask dances which include themes related to military expeditions.

It is also unconventional as certain dance steps from Cameroonian and African tribal dances are seamlessly incorporated into the Dance of the Rock Demons. One can also find traces of dance movements inspired by Chinese Opera and Tibetan Stag Dances.

Five fascinating mask dances to watch

The opening of the Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival will be graced ceremoniously by members of the Royal Family where His Majesty and Her Majesty will partake in the offering of wine libation to the Gods. They will then be directed to their respective seats at the colourful Royal Pavilion.

  1. Dance of the Gadpo Ganmo

The very first dance of the festival is the mask dance of Gadpo and Ganmo, popularly known as the Dance of Gadpo Ganmo. Five old man and five old women will perform in this dance which is believed to bestow longevity, happiness and prosperity to the audience.

 

Source: Bhutan-explorer

 

Look out for the extraordinary masks with wrinkled faces, covered by shocks of shining white hair. The masks symbolise the ‘God of Long Life’.

  1. Dance of Milarepa and Tschering Chednga

This is one special dance which will not fail to captivate the audience. Jetsun Milarepa (1040-1123), the great poet of the Himalayas was on a spiritual pursuit when five rock demons wearing fearsome looking masks tried to distract him from the righteous path by dancing around him.

Despite the vicious dance movements, along with the malevolent display of fangs and claws, the strong-willed Milarepa subdued and transformed them by reciting his famous words of wisdom.

  1. Dance of the Deities

Devoted to the principal protector deities of Dharma Choesung, a dance troupe of 33 performers will re-enact scenes from the written works of Kuenkhen Padma Karpo.

A very special feature of this dance is the donning of wings made of colourful rooster feathers on the shoulders of the dancers.

  1. Dance of the Heroes

To pay homage to the valour of His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the Royal Bhutan Army, this epic dance seeks to retrace and re-enact the sacrifices and bravery of the heroes in three parts: The Farewell of the Heroes, The Combat of the Heroes and The Return of the Heroes.

 

Source: Webguy.in

 

This dance is granted more resources as compared to the other dances with the investment in newer and more creative costumes and choreography. It certainly speaks volumes about the significance of this particular dance.

Highlights of this dance include the simulation of battles in the jungles of Bhutan, where the dancers will prowl and crouch in response to ambushes and hidden perils.

Get your adrenaline pumping when you see the brandishing of swords and wielding of shields as the dancers perform to the dramatic beats of the accompanying music.

  1. Dance of the Vision of Bodhisattvas

To conclude the epic dances of the Dochula Tschechu, the ‘Dance of the Vision of Bodhisattvas’ will be performed as a tribute to the various personalities who had played pivotal roles and made significant contributions to the rich history of Bhutan.

 

Source: Butanexclusivo

 

One such key figure is none other than the much revered Guru Rinpoche in which all the tshechus in Bhutan are held in honour of.

Credited for proliferating the teachings of Buddhism in Bhutan, it is widely believed that whoever attends a tshechu will receive blessings from the Guru.

Be enchanted by the sight of the dakas and dakinis dancing around the Bodhisattva - Guru Rinpoche.

Visitors can also look forward to a series of interesting folk dances which serve as interludes between the mask dances.

Lastly, do not miss the song which is specially composed by His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuk to end this magnificent festival.

 

 


Related Posts

Discover The Wonders Of The Black-Necked Crane Festival – A Day...

This unique festival will leave a lasting impression on you. With more than a hundred villagers participating, see the...

Nov 09, 2018 21:39

The Theme Of Bhutan’s Jhomolhari Festival 2018 - Living In...

The theme of this year’s festival 'Living in Harmony with the Ghost of High Mountains' is centred on the conservation of...

Nov 02, 2018 16:20

In Its Third Year, The Royal Highland Festival In Laya Showcases...

Laya was turned into a hub of celebration as the Third Royal Highland Festival got underway from 23-24 Oct 2018.

Oct 25, 2018 17:59

Be Awe-Inspired By The ‘Dance Of The Terrifying Gods’ And More At...

Held from 19 to 21 Sept 2018, the annual Thimphu Tshechu (festival) is a vibrant visual feast for both locals and...

Sep 12, 2018 20:45

Tshechus (Festivals) In Bhutan Becoming A Platform For The...

"The impact will be a thousand times more powerful. When a spiritual figure conveys a social message in line with...

Sep 08, 2018 19:00

Rare Masked Dances - One Of The Unique Features Of The Kholong...

“Other dances like the Pha-dong chham, Sangling Ngachham, and Terchham among others are not performed in any part of the...

Jul 03, 2018 14:44

Latest

News

Snowman Run – As Important As It Is For Bhutan, The Run Is For The World

The run was envisioned by His Majesty The King after multiple visits to the highlands.

Oct 14, 2019 20:28

Bhutan To Be First Country To Achieve Universal Health Coverage: Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering

The ultimate objective is to provide access to health care for all people.

Sep 29, 2019 00:28

Features

Malaya: Bhutanese Jewelry Line Inspired By The Spirits And Tradition Of The Himalayas

The brand started in 2016 and the two partners have been regularly releasing new items ever since.

Oct 19, 2019 23:58

Meet Yeshi Choden – Bhutan’s First Women Satellite Engineer, A Graduate Of The National University Of Singapore

Yeshi Choden, 25, got interested in Space Engineering out of curiosity as the discipline is a completely new course in Bhutan.

Oct 18, 2019 14:08

Sports

Bhutan’s Pelden Wangchuk Wins 10th Edition Of Tour 0f Dragon Mountain Bike Race

This year, the race also saw the highest number of female participants compared to past years.

Sep 10, 2019 01:08

Tour Of The Dragon – Toughest One Day Bike Race Starts On 7 September In Bhutan

It takes sheer toil and stamina for the top riders to complete the 268 km race which finishes at the capital, Thimphu.

Sep 06, 2019 23:58

Business

Cottage & Small Industries Flagship Programme Rolled Out In Bhutan, Set To Create More Jobs

The CSI sector was identified as one the flagship programme in view of its greater socio-economic roles in Bhutan.

Oct 11, 2019 15:38

Bhutan’s Himalayan Food Aims To Produce Healthy Snacks With A Worldwide Reach

Himalayan Food currently produces potato chips, apple chips and banana chips.

Sep 25, 2019 23:58

Travel

7th Jomolhari Mountain Festival Showcases Unique Culture Of The Highlanders

The festival has become an important event where the highlanders get to showcase their unique culture and traditions.

Oct 15, 2019 23:28

Plans In The Pipeline To Set Up More Homestays In Sakteng, Eastern Bhutan

We are hopeful that our homestay business in Sakteng will boom with the increase in the number of tourists."

Oct 12, 2019 12:43

Lifestyle

Launch Of Karen Greenspan’s Footfalls From The Land Of Happiness: A journey Into The Dances Of Bhutan

The book delves into familiar subjects that are what continues to shape Bhutan’s image.

Oct 05, 2019 10:18

Critically Acclaimed Film - Lunana: A Yak in the Classroom, Showcases The Magic Of Bhutan’s Highlands

Directed by Pawo Choyning Dorji, this highly acclaimed movie has been accepted for more than 10 international film festivals.

Sep 23, 2019 23:28

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!