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



Remembering His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s Legacies On His 64th Birthday

During His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s 34 year reign, he has implemented many landmark policies.

Nov 12, 2019 20:28

EU Supports Capacity Building To Improve Bhutan’s Export Diversification

Bhutanese products selected for export and market diversification are ginger, turmeric, mushrooms and yak dairy.

Nov 07, 2019 23:58


Global Happiness Alliance Aims To Spread Concept Of Gross National Happiness Worldwide

The alliance seeks to enhance the understanding of GNH as a concept and to spread it all around the world.

Nov 08, 2019 23:08

Zoedue – Fermented Cheese Made By The Brokpas Of Sakteng Sees Increasing Demand

Zoedue has become a lucrative business in Sakteng ever since motor-road accessibility improved.

Nov 05, 2019 23:48


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


Gakyed Gatoen - Festival of Happiness Seeks To Promote Bhutan’s Products

The idea of the festival was to enable tourists and Bhutanese to learn about the traditional cottage industry.

Nov 01, 2019 23:28

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 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

4th Edition Of Laya’s Royal Highland Festival Saw More Tourists And Participants

The Royal Highland Festival helps to preserve the age-old traditions of the highlanders.

Oct 28, 2019 23:38


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!