Punakha Drubchen and Tsechu combined
Drubchen Duration: 3days
Tshechu Duration: 3days
Event date of Drubchen: 12th -14th February 2019
Event date of Tshechu: 15th -17th February 2019
Event location: Punakha Dzong
In the 17th century, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal of Punakha in western Bhutan defeated the invading Tibetan forces which led to the unification of the country as one nation. To honour this victory, a grand celebration, the Punakha Drubchen (a.k.a. Puna Drubchen), was held. It went on to become an annual festival of the district. Expectedly, the major part of the festival is a theatrical reenactment of the epic battle. The battle scenes are performed by the local militia men (pazaps) dressed in the battle gear of those ancient times. This highlights the fact that during that period there was no national army as such, and the battle was fought by young men from the eight village blocks (tschogchens) of Thimphu who came forward voluntarily to do battle with the enemy. The drubchen of Punakha is unusual because of its dramatic recreation of a 17th-century battle scene, in which the Tibetan armies invade Bhutan to seize Bhutan’s most precious relic, the Ranjung Kharsapani, a self-created image of Chenrezig. It is said that Shabdrung concocted an elaborate ceremony in which he pretended to throw the relic into the Mochu River, after which the disappointed Tibetan withdrew. During the course of the festival, a procession of monks led by the head abbot Jekhenpo proceeds to the river, where he throws a handful of oranges symbolizing the relic. During the festival, the ‘pazaps’ or local militia men, dressed in battle colourful battle gear ride horse and showcase a battle scene. his is one of the oldest festivals of the district. It shows a detailed dramatization of how the local Bhutanese militia duped and defeated an invading Tibetan army and forced them to withdraw. This 17th-century event was also the beginning of the consolidation process of Bhutan as a country and it is historically very significant for the country. This event is also a celebration of Bhutanese roots. At the end of the festival, there is a display of giant Thangkha with images of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal. T
In 2005, the locals put forward a request to the 70th Je Khenpo, (An abbot) Trulku Jigme Choedra, and the government that they wanted another similarly grand festival which would help in keeping the tradition alive besides, of course, further commemorating the great deeds of Zhabdrung Rimpoche. Accordingly, the Punakha Tshechu was introduced in the district as one more annual event. It should also be noted that Punakha is also where Chief Abbott (Je Khenpo) of Bhutan has his winter residence.
The unfurling of the thongdrol (a large tapestry) of Guru Rinpoche is the main attraction of the festival. It is believed that a mere sight of the thongdrol liberates an onlooker and cleanses him of his sins. Locals gather in a spirit of festivity, celebration and deep faith to witness unique masked dances and celebrations. The Tsechu is one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan.
These two festivals, Punakha Drubchen and Tshechu not only play an important role in preserving Bhutan’s rich culture and traditions but also provide devout Buddhists with an opportunity for prayer and pilgrimage. They reflect the richness of the Bhutanese cultural heritage and are very special in the eyes and hearts of both Bhutanese and tourists who visit Bhutan.
Customise/add more sightseeing places, Hiking/trekking and other activities on your Punakha Drubchen & Tshechu trip to make your trip the most memorable.
Unlike other tours itinerary package, we do not design readymade tour package for Festival tour program, instead, we’ll help you to customise your own tour program mainly depending on your available number of days you want to spend and which areas you wanted to cover besides Tshechu festival. This is because we understand that every traveller is different, some may like to spend their entire holidays in witnessing Tshechu while some would prefer to attend for only 2 days at Tshechu and spend the remaining days in exploring other activities. Hence, we don’t want to run your holidays rather we would love to hear from you and design your holidays which will suit you perfectly. Therefore whether you are a solo traveller, a couple, group of friends or a large group, we are here to help you open the doors to your Himalayan dream according to your taste.
To help you in designing of your festival trip we had provided (click here for customising) a detail information on the various tourist attraction sightseeing spots and hiking & trekking areas which you may want to experience along with the travel distance column. Most of the Tsechu and festival last for minimum 3 days, so we suggest you that, you could spend at least two days to witness Tshechu and spend your remaining holidays period in the sightseeing, trekking and doing other activities. For example; Punakha Drubchen & Tshechu consist of total 6 days, so you may either attend the first opening day of Drubchen or last closing day of Tshechu and spend the remaining days on exploring & hiking in other places.