Culture Tour

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festival of mask dances

Bhutan’s cultural attractions are at the heart of the overall tourist experience. The country’s rich cultural heritage, firmly anchored in the traditional Buddhist value systems, has always fascinated the curious visitor. Our culture tour will take you on a sightseeing tour of Bhutan from one town to another in comfortable new cars.

We have culture tour from two days to several days. During the culture tour you will visit historically and culturally important places. Intermingle with the locals and enjoy various cultural aspects of Bhutan.

Few culture tour itinerary

These are some sample itineraries. You can choose your duration and the activities. We can together discuss the activities you would like in your program.

Four days tour    Seven days tour   Ten days tour   Thirteen days tour   Day hike

Contact us for short or longer duration cultural tour.

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And one of the most fascinating cultural attractions is the festival of mask dances called Tshechu.

These ritual dances are performed once a year in all 20 districts and are the primary attraction in a cultural itinerary. For example, the Tshechu in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha continue to draw record visitors each year.

These dances have deep religious significance and are fervently attended by the local population who believe that witnessing these dances would cleanse an individual of the sins one has committed in one’s lifetime. Dressed in their best attire, men, women and children carry packed meals and watch the various dances for entire three days.

Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche in Bhutan,is said to have introduced the mask dances. However, it was only in the 15th century that the mask dances became an integral part of Bhutanese cultural life. In the 15th century, Terton Pema Lingpa introduced the famous Ter Cham (treasure dance) and Pe Ling Ging Sum that are still performed today.

Many new dances were introduced in the 17th century by Bhutan’s founding father Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Some of the popular dances are Zhana Cham or the Black Hat dance, the Degyed Cham or the Spirit dance, the Shinje Cham or the Yamaraja dance, the Durdag Cham or the Dance of Shamashan Lord and the Guru Tshengyed or the Dance of the Eight Manifestations of Guru Padmasambhava.

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Mask Dance

The Mask Dance of the Drums from Drametse in Mongar, locally known as the Drametse Ngacham, is now part of UNESCO’s Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity.

The dance is performed during the Drametse Festival in honor of Guru Padmasambhava. It takes place twice a year, during the fifth month and the tenth month of the Bhutanese calendar. The festival is held by the Ogyen Tegchok Namdroel Choeling Monastery.

Tshechus also feature clowns, locally known as atsara, who perform brief interludes in between the main dances.

The dances are performed in all important Dzongs, temples and monasteries on the 10th day of the months. The festivals normally last for three to five days and end with the unfurling of huge hand embroidered Thangka (applique) representing Buddha or Guru Rinpoche.

Festival of mask dances. Popular festivals

Two most popular Tshechus take place in Thimphu and Paro. Other notable festivals include the Jambay Lhakhang Drub in Bumthang in the month of October and Punakha Tshechu in the month of February. Adventure Bhutan Travel encourages its guests to take into consideration these special dances while planning a visit to Bhutan. Click here to check the festival dates 2015

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