Thimphu Tshechu And What It means To The Bhutanese


The Thimphu Tshechu is the biggest festival in Bhutan, among other religious tshechus that happen in every district.

(Source: Druk Asia)


By Staff Reporter | Daily Bhutan

It is the tshechu (festival) season again, a time which many Bhutanese would look eagerly forward to.

In preparation for the three-day Thimphu Tshechu, many would be giving a second thought before they decide which gho or Kira (traditional Bhutanese costumes - gho for men and kira for women) to wear to the tshechu.

The Thimphu Tshechu is the biggest festival in Bhutan, among other religious tshechus that happen in every district, albeit on different dates.

It is held for three days during the 8th lunar month, and it brings thousands of people to the capital.

This year, the festival will be held from 8-10 October at the Tashichhodzong. The actual tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods. 


Photo: Druk Asia


As the population in Bhutan’s capital grew, the crowd at the Thimphu Tshechu has been increasing year on year, coupled by the rising number of tourists from overseas.

What tshechus mean for the people of Bhutan

The three-day religious event plays an important role in the lives of the Bhutanese as it is an opportunity for the Buddhist followers to cleanse themselves of bad Karma and usher in blessings.

For the elders in this tiny Himalayan Kingdom, there is a strong belief that they should witness tshechus as a preparation for their afterlife.

One belief is that when they leave this world and wander around in Samsara (the concept of rebirth and the cyclicality of all life, matter and existence), they should be able to identify the animals (courtiers of the lord of death), represented at the tshechus through mask dances (chams), to guide them to the right path.

Some examples of dances include the Guru Tshengye (eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags), Dance of the terrifying deities and Dance of the lords of the cremation grounds. Performed mainly by monks, the dancers are all dressed up in colourful costumes and some can be seen wearing awe-inspiring masks.


Source: Druk Asia


These dances are performed as a tribute to Guru Rimpoche, the great Buddhist master who brought Buddhism to Bhutan.

Significance of the unfurling of the thongdrel

For those who cannot make it to the festival, they can watch it on television in the comfort of their homes. However, it is believed that blessings from the unfurling of the thongdrel (a large appliqué with religious images) are diluted if one watches the process on TV.

As for other Bhutanese, the festival is simply a social event, whereas for some it is an opportunity to display the kira or gho that they had been waiting all year to wear.

Whatever the reasons, tshechus still remain as an important festival for the majority because it is a sacred as well as a fun festival with a distinctly Bhutanese flavour.




Related Posts

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

Thimphu Tschechu 2017 - A Visual Feast

Tschechu, meaning ‘tenth day’ also corresponds to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). This festival is a...

Oct 06, 2017 18:29

Be Thrilled By Adrenaline-Pumping Dance Moves At The Dochula...

The Dochula Druk Wangyel Festival was initiated by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo as a tribute to His...

Nov 20, 2018 17:05

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

359 Year Old Trashigang Dzong In Bhutan Ready To Be The Festive...

The preparations for the annual tshechu scheduled for 17 November began on 23 Oct 2018.

Oct 30, 2018 15:23

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



Canadian Delegation Held 1st Biennial Consultations, Set To Foster Closer Ties With Bhutan

The two sides exchanged views on the recent political, economic developments and bilateral cooperation in Bhutan and Canada.

Nov 26, 2019 23:38

Bhutan Celebrates World Children’s Day, Renews Commitment To Well-Being Of Children

UNICEF’s Bhutan Representative, Dr Will Parks said that children today encounter multiple challenges to childhood that were not envisaged 30...

Nov 21, 2019 23:38


Five High End Hotels From Bhutan Bagged International Awards

The five award winning hotels are: dusitD2 Yarkay, Terma Linca Resort and Spa, Zhiwaling Heritage, Le Meridien Thimphu and Taj Tashi hotels.

Dec 02, 2019 22:38

Accelerating Innovation Workshop Aims To Deliver More Effective Government Services In Bhutan

The UNDP, in collaboration with the Gross National Happiness Commission organised the workshop.

Nov 28, 2019 23:58


Karma – Female Archer From Bhutan Qualified For Tokyo 2020 Olympic Quota

Karma has been specialising in Olympics-style archery since 2009.

Nov 30, 2019 13:18

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


Doors Open For Further Bhutan-Finland Collaborations In Various Sectors

Called 'Doing Business with Finland', the seminar was organised by the BCCI in collaboration with Finn-partnership

Dec 04, 2019 23:28

Celebrating Bhutan's Entrepreneurs: Kinley Rabgyel Of Goximbo

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

Nov 20, 2019 23:58


Bhutan’s Black-Necked Crane Festival Drawing More Foreign Tourists

Some 500 tourists from around the world came to Bhutan to see the Black-Necked Crane festival, exceeding the number of locals.

Nov 14, 2019 23:18

Bhutan Bird Festival Set Bird Watching Haven Of Zhemgang Abuzz

Zhemgang is home to more than 500 species of birds, which is an area much sought after by bird watchers from around the world.

Nov 13, 2019 12:48


Bhutanese Textiles To Be Exhibited In Paris Trade Fair 2020

The exhibition is an initiative of the EU-Bhutan Trade Support project.

Nov 10, 2019 12:48

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

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!