Every year on the 13 th of December, on the mountain pass of Dochula (3150 m) with the majestic snowclad Jigme Singye Wangchuck mountain range as the backdrop, a unique Tshechu festival is held in honour of his majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck and the Royal Bhutan Army for a successful military operation in which Indian militants hiding in the southern regions of Bhutan were successfully flushed out in December 2003.
The festival was inaugurated on the 13 th of December 2011 at the behest of Her Majesty, Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.
The Druk Wangyel Tshechu takes place every year on the 13 th of December, it is a one-day festival.
The festival location is at Dochula Mountain pass, it is an hour’s drive away from the capital city, Thimphu and it is enroute to Punakha valley.
Itinerary for the Paro Tshechu
Mask Dances (Chham)
During the Druk Wangyel Tshechu celebrations, Mask dances will be performed by the royal Bhutan army to the accompaniment of live music performed on traditional ceremonial instruments. Each dance has its own significance, some tell the tales and noble deeds of saints, and some are a re-enactment of the military operation of 2003
Folk Songs and Dance
The Royal Academy of performing arts will perform traditional songs and dance between the Mask dances to slow down the pace and allow the mask dancers to prepare for the next performance.
Reasons to attend the Druk Wangyel Tshechu
Being a new festival, the mask dances are unique from the traditional festival dances. First, the performers are all members of the Royal Bhutan Army and there are various unique masks and costumes that can be viewed only at this festival.
With the snow-capped Jigme Singye Wangchuck mountain range in the background and a colourful festival taking place at the foreground, it is one of the most picturesque settings for a festival. With a steady hand and a little bit of patience, anyone will be able to take stunning photographs.
Sole Winter Festival
Unlike other festivals that take place during spring and autumn, both peak tourist seasons. The Druk Wangyel Tshechu festival takes place in winter and is one of the only festivals taking place during these colder months. You can take advantage of the lower pricing on the package during this off-season period and at the same time enjoy a festival.
Since the festival takes place in winter on top of a mountain pass where it can get windy at times, we would recommend that you bring warm clothing for the occasion.
The high-altitude sun can be quite strong during this time, so do remember to put on some sunscreen before attending the festival. A pair of sunglasses would be an useful accessory for the occasion.