Venue: Tendrelthang grounds inside the historic Thimphu Dzong (Fortress)
Total Duration: 12 days
Other places: Paro, Punakha, Wangduephodrang
Entry and Exit: Paro
Perhaps one of the country’s biggest religious festivals, Thimphu Tsechu has its roots in 1867, when the then fourth Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay, initiated the Tsechu. However, the dances were performed strictly by monks and were few in numbers. In the 1950s, the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks), adding color and variety to the festival. One of the highlights though is the Thimphu Dromchoe, celebrated three days before the Thimphu Tsechu, the Dromchoe is dedicated to Palden Lhamo, Bhutan’s chief protective deity. Introduced by Kuenga Gyeltshen in 1710, who was recognized as the reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, son of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel, legend has it, that the deity Pelden Lhamo appeared before Kuenga Gyeltshen and performed the dances while he was in meditation. Based on these dances, Kuenga Gyaltshen initiated the Dromchoe.