Thimphu Tschechu 2017 - A Visual Feast

Tschechu, meaning ‘tenth day’ also corresponds to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). This festival is a tribute to the famous Yogi who introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas.

Held from 30 Sept to 2 Oct 2017, the Thimphu Tschechu (festival) was a vibrant visual feast for both locals and foreigners. It is a religious event celebrated on the tenth day of a certain month of the Bhutanese Buddhist calendar annually. The exact month of the Tschechu differs from dzongkhag (district) to dzongkhag and from lhakhang (temple) to llakhang.

Tschechu, meaning ‘tenth day’ also corresponds to the birthday of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava). This festival is a tribute to the famous Yogi who introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas.

Instituted by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867, the Thimphu Tshechu is arguably the one of the best and the second largest in all of Bhutan. This unique and colourful display of Bhutanese culture is also a major tourist attraction, luring visitors from all four corners of the globe to witness this extraordinary event.

Prior to the actual three day celebrations, the Tschechu was preceded by days and nights of prayers and rituals to invoke the gods. With tschechus taking place as early as the 8th century B.C., many ancient elements have been transmitted through the generations.

Held in the Tendrel Thang (courtyard) of the Tashichhodzong, the Thimphu Tschechu enticed Bhutanese from all walks of life to celebrate and mingle with tourists.

Especially for Bhutanese hailing from isolated communities from far flung dzongkhags, and particulary for farmers, the tschechu is regarded as a break from rural life. Donned in their finest attire, the villagers came prepared with their bamboo picnic baskets filled with food to last the day.

Besides partaking in the exciting festivities, many Bhutanese came to pray for health and happiness.

The highlight of the Thimphu Tshechu is the cham or religious mask dance performed by monks clad in flamboyant costumes. The Bhutanese believe that by attending a cham, they will wash away their sins and receive blessings.

Each cham is unique and has an interesting story behind it stretching back as early as the 8th century. With the aim of imparting moral values, scenes from the life of Guru Rimpoche, the founder of cham dancing were also re-enacted.

Some of the most appealing and exotic dances include the ‘Dance of the terrifying Gods’, the ‘Dance of the twenty-one black hats’ and the ‘Dance of the lords of cremation’. Moreover, other forms of captivating Bhutanese dances were also performed, with much fanfare.

In addition, ‘Atsaras’ or clown-like jokers and dances were also performed in the Thimphu Tschechu to ward off any evil spirits which might be lurking around.

The three days of lively festivities culminate in the unfurling of the sacred Thongdrel of Guru Rimpoche, which is a gigantic sacred cloth with intricately woven portrayals of the Yogi himself and other Buddhist imageries.

It is believed that one’s sins will be cleansed by witnessing the unveiling of the Thongdrel with many turning up at dawn to receive blessings.

 

Written by Zann Huizhen Huang for the Bhutan Times.


Related Posts

Patterns of Happiness opens in Thimphu

With 71 paintings by various Bhutanese artists, a competition exhibition named Patterns of Happiness opened at the...

Sep 28, 2017 07:07

Thimphu TechPark aims to attract foreign investment

The main mission of the company is to attract reputed IT/ITES companies from both within Bhutan and around the world to...

Oct 01, 2017 17:37

Preserving Bhutan’s Music and Traditions

“Bhutan is developing at a faster pace; traditional customs are not. We need to balance these developments. We are...

Sep 28, 2017 11:28

About 91 % Of International Visitors Intend To Revisit Bhutan And...

The majority (80.4 %) of the international visitors expressed that the culture and traditional charm attracted them to...

Aug 13, 2018 12:11

DrukAir To Fly Between Bhutan And Singapore Via Guwahati Starting...

The new flight will connect Paro to Singapore via Guwahati.

Aug 09, 2018 10:37

Bhutan Records Highest Number Of International Leisure Tourist...

Bhutan continues to be an attractive tourism destination, which is evident from its growing popularity resulting in the...

Aug 06, 2018 12:24

Latest

News

Bhutan’s Satellite Deployed From ISS Along With Limited Edition Stamps Launched To Laud Event

Live-streamed on YouTube, representatives from various countries and institutes gathered at the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) in...

Aug 11, 2018 16:08

Daily Professional Fee Proposed For Tour Guides To Boost Tourism In Bhutan

Such an initiative is also thought to help boost the image of the profession in Bhutan and retain senior tour guides.

Aug 10, 2018 12:09

Features

In Commemoration Of World Elephant Day, Bhutan Records 678 Elephants, Up From 513 In 2011

There are 678 elephants in Bhutan, according to the second edition of the National Elephant Survey Report.

Aug 15, 2018 12:54

Discover Raju’s Passion For Making The Traditional Bhutanese Bow And Arrow

The class VI drop-out earns at least Nu 8,000 a month by making bows and arrows.

Aug 08, 2018 16:09

Sports

The Myriad Of Sporting Facilities Constructed In Bhutan To Promote Healthy Living

The government in its 11th FYP report stated that it undertook the development of various infrastructure and institutions to promote sports...

Jul 29, 2018 08:33

Adolescent Girls In Bhutan Learn About Health And Sanitation Through Weeklong District Cricket Championship

The national nutrition survey 2015 conducted by the Ministry of Health and UNICEF Bhutan found anaemia in adolescent girls to be a critical...

Jul 21, 2018 16:29

Business

Start-up Centre In Bhutan Held Session To Provide Advice On Doing Business For Entrepreneurs

Guidance was provided during the first session on starting a business held at the newly established start-up centre at Changzamtog, Thimphu.

Aug 14, 2018 12:06

SDF To Develop E-Commerce Platform And Support Start-Ups In The South Asian Region

The SDF has already achieved and disbursed US$ 47mn for 12 cross-border projects.

Jul 24, 2018 09:03

Travel

About 91 % Of International Visitors Intend To Revisit Bhutan And 85 % Want To Recommend Nation Of Happiness To Others

The majority (80.4 %) of the international visitors expressed that the culture and traditional charm attracted them to Bhutan.

Aug 13, 2018 12:11

DrukAir To Fly Between Bhutan And Singapore Via Guwahati Starting Sept 1

The new flight will connect Paro to Singapore via Guwahati.

Aug 09, 2018 10:37

Lifestyle

Gokab – The First Dance Studio To Be Registered In Bhutan For Dancing Enthusiasts

Gokab, a youth group comprising of mostly dance enthusiasts, has seen a healthy growth of membership numbers since its inception in 2015.

Aug 12, 2018 15:44

Red Rice Is Bhutan's Staple Food And This Brewery Has Turned It Into Its Flagship Beer

Namgay Artisanal Brewery is the new kid on the block and it’s got everyone talking about its red rice lager.

Aug 03, 2018 14:04

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!