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November 2015

Celebrate the start of the wild Matsutake mushroom season at the Masutake Festival alongside the people of the mystical Ura Valley. Ura is renowned for being one of the most picturesque valleys in the entire kingdom. Its inhabitants, the Uraps are a cheerful, hospitable people. Ura provides one of the most authentic experiences of traditional rural Bhutanese life available. At the festival, visitors will learn to identify these fabled mushrooms as they embark on mushroom picking excursions around the pristine forests and hills. Prized by gourmets in Japan, this fungi is native to the forests of Ura valley in central Bhutan. Sample delicious Matsutake recipes, engage in songs and dances together with the locals, hike through the stunning Himalayan landscape and even relax in traditional open-air mineral baths.

The Thimphu Festival (Tsechu) is one of the grandest of Bhutan’s festivals and attracts the largest audience. Featuring dances performed by trained monks and laymen in amazing masks and costumes, Tsechus (festivals) are one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. A Tsechu is a Buddhist festival in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. The Thimphu Tsechu was established by the 4th Temporal Ruler, Tenzing Rabgye (1638-1696) in 1670. This festival also provides a great opportunity to witness locals gathered in their finest Gho’s and Kira’s in a celebration of their culture and faith. This tour also visits sacred sites in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha.

Enjoy an intimate Tsechu experience set in the Ura district of the Bumthang Valley, Bhutan’s spiritual heartland. Tsechus (festivals) are one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. A Tsechu is a Buddhist festival in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Local villagers gather in a spirit of festivity, celebration and deep faith to witness unique masked dances and celebrations. Also visit sacred sites in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and Gangtey.

Discover the rich culture of Bhutan, and attend the unique Black Necked Crane Festival. The trip begins with a tour of Paro, Thimphu and Punakha before arriving in Gangtey/Phobjikha, home of the historic Gangtey Goempa Monastery and Phobjikha Sanctuary, famous for its rare Black Necked Cranes. Started by the local community, Black Neck Crane Festival activities include the opportunity to visit the Black Necked Cranes roost, stroll through handicraft and game stalls and enjoy masked and costumed dances in honour and praise of the Black Necked Cranes. Following the festival, you will visit Trongsa and the sacred sites of the Bumthang valley.

The Tsechu / festival are a religious festival in honor of Guru Rinpoche, who brought the Buddhism to this country in 8th century. The scared mask dances trace their origin in Nyingmpa School, dating from the 12th or 13th century and later by the middle of the 15th century, Bhutan had developed its own sacred dance traditions associated with the Great Saint Pema Lingpa. Trongsa Tsechu is one the oldest Tsechu in Bhutan. It is believed the Tsechus in Bhutan was spread from Trongsa. Most of the Champoen, the mask dance teacher, learned in Trongsa. On the last day of the Trongsa Tsechu, they unfurl the Thongdrel (liberation and blessings at the sight) every time, which is the highlight of the Trongsa Tsechu. It takes place always in winter.

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