Thimphu Tschechu 2017 - A Visual Feast

Email

Tschechu, meaning ‘tenth day’ also corresponds to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). This festival is a tribute to the famous Yogi who introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas.

Held from 30 Sept to 2 Oct 2017, the Thimphu Tschechu (festival) was a vibrant visual feast for both locals and foreigners. It is a religious event celebrated on the tenth day of a certain month of the Bhutanese Buddhist calendar annually. The exact month of the Tschechu differs from dzongkhag (district) to dzongkhag and from lhakhang (temple) to llakhang.

Tschechu, meaning ‘tenth day’ also corresponds to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). This festival is a tribute to the famous Yogi who introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas.

Instituted by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867, the Thimphu Tshechu is arguably the one of the best and the second largest in all of Bhutan. This unique and colourful display of Bhutanese culture is also a major tourist attraction, luring visitors from all four corners of the globe to witness this extraordinary event.

Prior to the actual three day celebrations, the Tschechu was preceded by days and nights of prayers and rituals to invoke the gods. With tschechus taking place as early as the 8th century B.C., many ancient elements have been transmitted through the generations.

Held in the Tendrel Thang (courtyard) of the Tashichhodzong, the Thimphu Tschechu enticed Bhutanese from all walks of life to celebrate and mingle with tourists.

Especially for Bhutanese hailing from isolated communities from far flung dzongkhags, and particulary for farmers, the tschechu is regarded as a break from rural life. Donned in their finest attire, the villagers came prepared with their bamboo picnic baskets filled with food to last the day.

Besides partaking in the exciting festivities, many Bhutanese came to pray for health and happiness.

The highlight of the Thimphu Tshechu is the cham or religious mask dance performed by monks clad in flamboyant costumes. The Bhutanese believe that by attending a cham, they will wash away their sins and receive blessings.

Each cham is unique and has an interesting story behind it stretching back as early as the 8th century. With the aim of imparting moral values, scenes from the life of Guru Rimpoche, the founder of cham dancing were also re-enacted.

Some of the most appealing and exotic dances include the ‘Dance of the terrifying Gods’, the ‘Dance of the twenty-one black hats’ and the ‘Dance of the lords of cremation’. Moreover, other forms of captivating Bhutanese dances were also performed, with much fanfare.

In addition, ‘Atsaras’ or clown-like jokers and dances were also performed in the Thimphu Tschechu to ward off any evil spirits which might be lurking around.

The three days of lively festivities culminate in the unfurling of the sacred Thongdrel of Guru Rimpoche, which is a gigantic sacred cloth with intricately woven portrayals of the Yogi himself and other Buddhist imageries.

It is believed that one’s sins will be cleansed by witnessing the unveiling of the Thongdrel with many turning up at dawn to receive blessings.

 

Written by Zann Huizhen Huang for the Daily Bhutan.


Related Posts

Patterns of Happiness opens in Thimphu

With 71 paintings by various Bhutanese artists, a competition exhibition named Patterns of Happiness opened at the...

Sep 28, 2017 07:07

Thimphu TechPark aims to attract foreign investment

The main mission of the company is to attract reputed IT/ITES companies from both within Bhutan and around the world to...

Oct 01, 2017 17:37

Preserving Bhutan’s Music and Traditions

“Bhutan is developing at a faster pace; traditional customs are not. We need to balance these developments. We are...

Sep 28, 2017 11:28

Incorporating The Values Of Gross National Happiness Into...

High-end hotels like Six Senses and Zhiwa Ling have come up with their own ways to incorporate the tenets of GNH and...

Jun 09, 2019 19:28

Harnessing The Power Of Traditional Medicine, Wellness Tourism...

Traditional medicine has been gaining popularity in providing health care services to the Bhutanese.

May 29, 2019 19:48

Restoration Of The Yongla Goenpa In Pemagatshel, Bhutan Finally...

Considered as one of the most sacred goenpas that protects the security of the country, the Goenpa also serves as the...

May 21, 2019 22:48

Latest

News

Bhutan Observes World Day To Combat Desertification, Advocates Sustainable Land Management

In Bhutan, this day is considered important as it focuses only on land.

Jun 17, 2019 18:28

Embracing Diversity - Bhutan Takes Huge Step Towards Decriminalising Homosexuality

Sections 213 and 214 that criminalised ‘unnatural sex’ removed from the Penal Code of Bhutan.

Jun 13, 2019 22:48

Features

Advocating For A Central School For The Sakteng Community In Bhutan

Mangmi Lhendrup said that without boarding facilities, small children were left without care and guidance from their parents.

Jun 15, 2019 23:58

National Biodiversity Monitoring Protocol Drafted To Ensure That Bhutan’s Rich Biodiversity Thrives

The development of the protocol is Bhutan's first attempt to put in place a proper biodiversity monitoring system at the national-level.

Jun 15, 2019 15:18

Sports

Bhutan’s Dragon Boys Starts FIFA World Cup Qualifiers With A 1-0 Win Over Guam

Midfielder, Tshering Dorji’s 35th minute strike was enough to make Bhutan win the first leg of the first round of the 2022 World Cup and...

Jun 07, 2019 22:18

Meet Choki Om – First Woman From Bhutan To Become A FIFA Referee

Originally from the district of Wangdue, Choki has already been a referee for over a decade.

May 16, 2019 20:58

Business

Swiss Business Delegates Visited Bhutan To Explore Business Opportunities

“Switzerland has a strong industrial base that equally matches the geographical conditions of Bhutan,” said Phub Zam.

Jun 14, 2019 17:25

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Pema And Rinchen Dorji Wangyel Of Wangyel Studio

This story is part of an exclusive feature by Yeewong Magazine in Dec 2018 on celebrating entrepreneurship in Bhutan.

May 28, 2019 19:18

Travel

Incorporating The Values Of Gross National Happiness Into Bhutan’s Hospitality Sector

High-end hotels like Six Senses and Zhiwa Ling have come up with their own ways to incorporate the tenets of GNH and sustainability...

Jun 09, 2019 19:28

Harnessing The Power Of Traditional Medicine, Wellness Tourism Set To Take Off In Bhutan

Traditional medicine has been gaining popularity in providing health care services to the Bhutanese.

May 29, 2019 19:48

Lifestyle

5 cafes to visit in Thimphu

Best places to hang out in Thimphu for a steaming mug of coffee along with a delicious bite to eat.

Jun 19, 2019 10:30

Food Review: Cloud9 Cafe & Bar

Cloud9 has always been known in Thimphu for dishing out handcrafted gourmet burgers.

Mar 09, 2019 09:44

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!