In Its Third Year, The Royal Highland Festival In Laya Showcases The Stunning Beauty Of Northern Bhutan And More
Laya was turned into a hub of celebration as the Third Royal Highland Festival got underway from 23-24 Oct 2018.
By Yeshi Nidup | BBS
Laya was turned into a hub of celebration as the Third Royal Highland Festival got underway from 23-24 Oct 2018. More than a thousand people, including tourists attended the two-day festival.
The Royal Highland Festival was first introduced on 16th Of October 2016 to mark the celebration of the Birth of His Royal Highness The Gyalsey, 400 years after Zhabdrung’s arrival in the country and the Rabjung (60-year cycle) birth year of Guru Rinpoche.
Benefits that the festival will bring to the local communities
The festival showcases the beauty and wonders of Gasa Dzongkhag through its nature, history and age-old culture and tradition.
The festival is gaining popularity among locals and visitors alike. Despite the fact that it takes place at over 3000 metres above sea level, the festival is emerging to be a crowd-puller.
Gasa Dzongdag, Dorji Dradhul said that the festival is driven by the goal of making the Highlands a vibrant and thriving economy. It seeks to promote the sustainable livelihood of highlanders, showcase their innovation and exhibit the highlands as a pride of Bhutan.
The festival also brings together highlanders from other parts of Bhutan to exchange values, knowledge, skills and best practices related to life in the highlands and yak farming.
On Tuesday, as the fog parted for the third royal highland festival to begin, Langothang, located 3,800 m above sea level in Laya, sprang to live. Some 1,800 people gathered at the festival’s venue, which is surrounded by majestic snow mountains.
Horses and yaks, the livelihood of the highland communities grazed on the yellowing grass while their owners arrived in their finest. Young men adorned factory woven ghos, almost a replica of hand woven materials, available easily in the shops while women were clad in their traditional attire and ornaments. Visitors and tourists ambled around with their heavy cameras and jackets.
“Through festivals like this, we get an opportunity to experience nomadic culture and the pastoral way of living,” Chief Advisor of the interim government, Chief Justice Tshering Wangchuk who flew to Laya in a chopper, said at the festival’s opening.
Potential for the festival to enhance the economy of the Highlands and to develop homestays for tourists
“The festival is also expected to provide new economic opportunities to the highlanders by increasing and developing homestay facilities.”
A Laya resident, Tshering, 65, agrees that the festival brings nomadic communities together to celebrate and showcase their rich culture and traditions to the rest of the country and foreigners.
“We have been eagerly waiting for this festival and for His Majesty The King to grace the occasion as he did in the last two editions,” he said.
“We hope and pray that this festival would continue every year with the blessing of His Majesty.”
This article first appeared in BBS and has been edited for the Bhutan Times.