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Bhutan Tour & Travel Agency » Archives for Chokyi Dorji

The Jomo Dangling Soelkha, a cherished feast offering festival, continues to be celebrated in Trashigang’s Khaling Gewog in honor of the revered local deities Ama Jomo and Meme Dangling. This long standing tradition, which is believed to have originated around 1,200 years ago, aims to secure protection for the community, despite the absence of written records. The festivity occurs biannually.

Members of the Khaling community convene at Jadrung Lhakang to retrieve the sacred attire, jewelry, and weapons of Ama Jomo and Meme Dangling from the Goenkhang, handled solely by the designated local shaman.

The procession then advances to Jomo Dogsa, a site esteemed as a temporary abode for Ama Jomo and Meme Dangling during their return from their winter sojourn in the southern foothills, where the deities are believed to spend the colder months.

The soelkha is observed on the 14th day of the fourth and tenth months of the Bhutanese calendar, marking the seasonal migrations of the deities. Community members gather to honor the deities’ journeys to and from their summer residence at Jomo Dogsa, where they prepare the deities’ masks, attire, and weapons. A sacred stone used by the deities is also safeguarded here.

Dorji, an 89-year-old shaman, leads the offerings, distributing brewed wine in a ceremonial plea for the community’s safeguarding. “I began participating in the offerings as a young helper to my father, the caretaker of this Lhakhang. Now, Tenzin will carry forward this tradition, which I’ve been preparing him for over the past year,” he shares.

Jambay, a local resident, adds, “We’ve consistently held the Soelkha since my childhood, never missing a year. Even those unable to attend send contributions, and in return, we share blessings and wine with them.”

“Our elders have warned that failing to perform the Soelkha on the designated 14th day of the fourth month could lead to calamities, including harmful weather and crop damage, as well as other misfortunes,” explains Lama Pema, Khaling Gonpa.

Upon the ceremonies conclusion, locals and students gather to receive blessings, then solemnly return to the Lhakhang.

While traditionally organized by the local community, this year marks the second collaboration with Khaling Samdrup Goenpung Lhakhang in conducting the soeklha.

Ama Jomo and Meme Dangling remain the most venerated guardian deities of Khaling Gewog.

Bhutan Tour & Travel Agency » Archives for Chokyi Dorji

Thrumshingla Pass, located on the picturesque road connecting Mongar and Bumthang in Bhutan, is a captivating high-altitude pass that presents an extraordinary travel experience. Situated approximately altitude of 3,780 meters above sea level, it ranks as one of the highest motorable roads in Bhutan, making it a significant landmark for adventurous travelers and locals alike.

The pass is not only a critical link between the eastern and central regions of Bhutan but also a gateway to the diverse cultural landscapes that these areas offer. As you traverse Thrumshingla Pass, the journey unfolds with stunning panoramic views that encompass rugged mountain terrain and deep, expansive valleys. The ever-changing scenery—from lush greenery during the warmer months to the stark beauty of snow in winter—provides a dynamic backdrop that enhances the travel experience.

The crisp, thin air at this high elevation might challenge some visitors but also adds to the sense of adventure that Thrumshingla Pass is known for. The altitude brings with it a serene quietude, punctuated only by the sound of the wind and the occasional bird. This natural silence, along with the breathtaking vistas, makes the pass a perfect spot for reflection and appreciation of nature’s magnificence.

Traveling through Thrumshingla Pass is not without its challenges. The road is narrow and winding, often shrouded in mist or cloud, which can make driving here a thrilling yet cautious experience. The unpredictable weather can quickly shift from clear skies to foggy conditions, requiring drivers to be highly skilled and attentive. Despite these conditions, or perhaps because of them, the journey through the pass remains a memorable adventure. The sense of remoteness and untouched wilderness is palpable, giving travelers a feeling of being in a world far removed from everyday life.

Moreover, Thrumshingla Pass serves as a vital corridor for the exchange of goods and cultural interaction between different regions. It facilitates not only the movement of people but also the transport of local produce and products, playing a crucial role in the economic well-being of the local communities. This economic aspect, combined with its natural and scenic values, makes the pass an essential feature of Bhutan’s landscape.

For those inclined to explore beyond the road, the area around Thrumshingla Pass offers numerous opportunities for trekking and hiking. The trails provide more intimate encounters with the local flora and fauna, as well as the chance to meet indigenous communities whose lifestyles have remained relatively unchanged for centuries. These cultural interactions can be profoundly enriching as they provide insights into the resilience and adaptability of the human spirit in harsh environments.

In conclusion, Thrumshingla Pass is more than just a high-altitude road; it is a breathtaking journey through some of Bhutan’s most spectacular landscapes, offering awe-inspiring views and a unique glimpse into the region’s cultural fabric. Whether you are an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or a cultural enthusiast, a trip through Thrumshingla Pass promises an unforgettable experience filled with beauty, challenge, and the serene majesty of the Himalayas

Bhutan Tour & Travel Agency » Archives for Chokyi Dorji

Mavellous Bhutan Travel did an amazing job of hosting me and my two friends through Bhutan in April 2024. Prior to the trip, we met with Chokyi and informed him of the things we wanted to see and do while in Bhutan, and they did a great job of creating a customized itinerary for us that met all our needs.

Stepping off the plane in Paro felt unreal since the sky was so blue, the clouds so fluffy, and the air was so fresh and crisp. Bhutan definitely holds its status as the last Shangri-La. The temples were beautiful, intricate, detailed, and ornate. The lush and tranquil mountain-scape and terrain was serene and breath-taking. The people were kind and generous. The children were especially inquisitive and charming. I felt inspired, honored, and privileged to be able to witness all the beauty, culture, and tradition that Bhutan has to offer.

Our guide, Phuntsho, was awesome!! He was prompt, prepared, organized, patient, and knowledgeable about the history, political, and socioeconomic landscape of Bhutan. He made sure we knew what each day entailed, what we needed to prepare for, and how we should dress appropriately for each day’s adventure. And most importantly, he knew where all the bathrooms were!! 🙂

I have a proclivity towards altitude sickness, so I was on altitude sickness meds the entire time I was in Bhutan and had to hike very slowly to get to wherever we were going and Phuntsho stayed with me the entire time and ensured I never felt pressured or hurried on my journey. Phuntsho made my time in Bhutan so memorable and awe-inspiring. I can’t thank him enough for making Bhutan such an amazing and phenomenal trip.

My epic 10-day adventure through Bhutan felt more like a road-trip with friends than a tour!!

I highly recommend Marvellous Bhutan Travel and Phuntsho, our guide. My small-group, customized, intimate trip through Bhutan was amazing and so memorable. Bhutan and its people, customs, and traditions will hold a special place in my heart forever!!

Embracing Tranquility: Inside Michael Imperioli’s Transformative Bhutanese Retreat

Renowned American Actor visit Bhutan, Michael Imperioli, widely recognized for his portrayal of Christopher Moltisanti in the HBO crime drama, embarked on a transformative journey to Bhutan in December alongside his wife, Victoria. Their inaugural stop was Thimphu, where they sought solace in the serene ambience of Kalu Rinpoche House. Over a two-night stay, they immersed themselves in the tranquility, and Rinpoche, a spiritual guide, bestowed upon them a Derma, signalling the commencement of their spiritual exploration.

Michael Imperioli's Spiritual Odyssey

The couple then ventured to Bumthang, a picturesque district, for a two-night sojourn. Serendipitously, Victoria’s birthday coincided with their Bhutanese escapade. In celebration, they visited Shugdra Drakar Namkha Dzong, a sacred fortress that witnessed nearly four hours of meditation within its hallowed walls. The spiritual aura of the temple left an enduring impression, enriching their Bhutanese odyssey.

Upon returning from the spiritual retreat, the couple once again took flight, returning to Thimphu. The vibrant culture and breathtaking landscapes of the capital city welcomed them. Their exploration continued with a visit to the iconic Tiger’s Nest, or Taktsang Temple, perched on the cliffs of the Paro Valley. This pilgrimage site, with its breathtaking views and spiritual significance, stood as the pinnacle of their Bhutanese adventure.

Michael Imperioli and wife at Bumthang Mebar Tsho

The concluding days of their journey were characterized by a sense of fulfilment and reflection. Bhutan not only offered them scenic beauty but also fostered a profound spiritual connection. The memories of meditation, temple visits, and the awe-inspiring Tiger’s Nest would forever linger in their minds.

From Thimphu to Tiger’s Nest: The Spiritual Awakening of Michael Imperioli in Bhutan

As Michael and Victoria prepared to bid adieu to the Land of the Thunder Dragon, they carried with them the wisdom gleaned from Bhutan’s ancient traditions and the warmth of its people. The expedition had transcended mere physical exploration; it had been a voyage into the depths of spirituality and self-discovery.

Michael Imperioli's visit to Tiger's nest temple

Retracing the steps of Michael Imperioli and Victoria through Bhutan evokes a palpable sense of the sacred energy that permeates the air, accompanied by the whispers of prayer flags fluttering in the Himalayan breeze. Their odyssey in this Himalayan kingdom serves as a testament to the transformative power of travel, where external landscapes mirror the internal landscapes of the soul.

In the tapestry of their Bhutanese adventure, each day unfolded as a chapter of introspection, cultural immersion, and awe-inspiring moments. From the tranquil abode of Kalu Rinpoche House to the meditative halls of Shugdra Drakar Namkha Dzong, and culminating in the heights of Tiger’s Nest, the couple’s journey encapsulated the essence of Bhutan—a harmonious blend of spirituality, tradition, and breathtaking natural beauty.

Michael Imperioli's Spiritual Odyssey in Bhutan

As they boarded their flight homeward, the mystique of Bhutan lingered in their hearts, leaving them forever changed by the enchanting Kingdom in the Himalayas.

Bhutan Bhutan, a small kingdom nestled in the eastern Himalayas, stands as a unique destination with a myriad of reasons that make it an appealing choice for travelers. Beyond its breathtaking landscapes, rich culture, and history, Bhutan distinguishes itself as a sanctuary of Buddhism, a bastion of natural beauty, and a success story in handling global challenges like the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Spiritual Haven for Buddhists

Bhutan Firstly, Bhutan is an absolute haven for Buddhists. The kingdom is steeped in the teachings of Buddhism, and its commitment to preserving and promoting this ancient philosophy is evident in every corner. From ornate monasteries perched on rugged cliffs to serene temples dotting the landscape, Bhutan provides a spiritual journey for those seeking a deeper connection with Buddhism.

Cultural Tapestry Tradition and Modernity

The cultural tapestry of Bhutan is another compelling reason to visit. Known for its unique blend of tradition and modernity, Bhutan has successfully maintained its cultural identity in the face of globalization. Traditional festivals, colorful dances, and elaborate rituals offer visitors a glimpse into a world where customs and heritage are revered and celebrated.

Nature’s Paradise on Earth

Nature enthusiasts will find Bhutan to be a paradise on Earth. The kingdom boasts diverse ecosystems, from lush green valleys to towering mountain peaks. Protected national parks and wildlife sanctuaries are home to a variety of flora and fauna, some of which are endemic to Bhutan. The commitment to environmental conservation is deeply ingrained in Bhutanese culture, making it an ideal destination for those who appreciate the beauty of unspoiled nature.

Journey Through Time: Bhutan’s Resilient History

Delving into Bhutan’s history is a journey through time. The kingdom’s story is one of resilience, sovereignty, and a commitment to preserving its independence. Visiting ancient dzongs (fortresses), monasteries, and museums provides a fascinating insight into Bhutanese history, showcasing a kingdom that has withstood the test of time and external pressures.

A Contemporary Success Story: Bhutan’s Response to COVID-19

In the contemporary context, Bhutan’s response to the global COVID-19 pandemic has earned its admiration worldwide. Led by the visionary King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, Bhutan implemented timely and effective measures to keep its citizens safe. The king, known for his personal involvement, ventured into mountainous terrains and border towns to ensure the safety of his people, embodying a leadership style that prioritizes the well-being of the nation. The concept of “Driglam Namzha,” which translates to the Bhutanese way of maintaining cultural etiquette, played a role in fostering a sense of responsibility among the citizens. Together with the cooperation of the people and the king Bhutan was undefeated.

A Beacon of Hope and Resilience

In a world where uncertainty prevails, Bhutan stands as a beacon of hope and resilience. Its holistic approach to development, encapsulated in the concept of Gross National Happiness, prioritizes the well-being of its citizens over mere economic indicators. This unique philosophy, coupled with the warmth and hospitality of the Bhutanese people, creates an environment that welcomes visitors with open arms.

In Conclusion A Multifaceted Experience

In conclusion, Bhutan beckons travelers with a combination of spiritual richness, cultural vibrancy, natural splendor, historical significance, and a contemporary success story. Whether you seek a spiritual retreat, an exploration of ancient history, a communion with nature, or an understanding of effective governance in challenging times, Bhutan offers a multifaceted experience that goes beyond conventional tourism.

Bhutan Tour & Travel Agency » Archives for Chokyi Dorji

I am Oliver Adkins organised a trip to Bhutan for me and a friend in September 2023. It’s taken us a while to write reviews, but it’s with real pleasure that I’m finally finding time to let Marvellous Bhutan know how happy we were with our tour. Everything was made easy by the company and, once we were in Bhutan, by our guide Rinchin — who was attentive, thoughtful and fun. Bhutan is a truly spectacular country and Marvellous Bhutan did a great job of showing it to us. Thanks again, guys! I Oliver Adkins do have a suggestion though, which is to make the online experience before the trip feel a bit more “official”; everything was great in the end, but if the website and communications were a bit fancier, we would have felt much more relaxed prior to the trip that things were going to be at a high standard (which they were!

Information about Trongsa Tshechu Festival

  • Official Name: Trongsa Tshechu Festival
  • Festival Duration: Takes place from the 8th to the 12th day of the 11th month
  • Dates Vary Annually, Generally Coinciding with Christmas
  • Classification: Festival of Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • Celebrated At: Trongsa Dzong
  • Location: Trongsa District

Trongsa Tshechu

Trongsa Tshechu Festival History

The Trongsa Tshechu event occurs at the Trongsa Choekhor Rabtentse Dzong, situated on a ridge overlooking the Mangdechhu and Truenpangchu gorges. This dzong is situated in the central town of Trongsa, which is part of the Nubi gewog in the Trongsa district.

The Bhutanese Tshechu festival holds a special focus on honoring Padmasambhava and commemorates his accomplishments through the performance of sacred dances. As precious master achieved full enlightenment, he holds immense significance in Bhutan, as his teachings illuminate the direct and swift route to enlightenment for Bhutanese practitioners. These ritual dances play a pivotal role in nurturing faith and comprehension of Padmasambhava’s actions, serving both as a tribute and an educational medium for attendees.

Before departing from the mortal realm, precious master pledged to return on the 10th day of each month according to the Bhutanese lunar calendar. This commitment is articulated in a prayer that explicitly states his physical appearance on the 10th day of each waxing lunar month. Hence, the term “Tshechu” (meaning tenth day) carries profound auspiciousness.

Every monastery in Bhutan participates in this festival, which honors precious master’s arrival in the country during the 8th century, symbolizing the victory of Buddhism over darkness. The festival is observed during the spring and autumn seasons, aligning with the Bhutanese calendar. Alongside masked dances, a prominent feature is the display of an expansive religious thangka (a large painted cloth) portraying Padmasambhava and other figures, known as the “thongdrel.”

In 1768, the 3rd Trongsa Penlop Zhidar and the 10th Je Khenpo Panchen Tenzin Chogyel established a monastic community consisting of approximately 50 monks at the dzong. The Trongsa Tshechu, spanning five days, stands as one of Bhutan’s major festivals, marking a significant event in the country’s cultural and religious heritage.

Trongsa Tshechu

About Trongsa Tshechu Festival

The Trongsa Tshechu takes place every year over a span of five days, occurring between the 8th and 12th days of the eleventh month in the lunar calendar, typically falling in December or January. This event unfolds within the northern courtyard of the temple.

The initial day of the festival is dedicated to the practice and preparation of mask dances. This involves the captivating blend of religious melodies performed by traditional instruments such as long trumpets known as “dungchen,” as well as oboes referred to as “jaling” (rgya gling). These mask dances encompass presentations by both monks and lay individuals.

On the following day, a sequence of dances takes place to provide amusement to the crowd, expel negative energies, and bestow blessings upon both the individuals and the surroundings.

The dances performed on this second day encompass:

Gelong gi Cham (dge slong gi cham) – monk dances

  • Shinje Cham (shin rje cham) – Yamantaka Dance.
  • Zhana Nga Cham (zhwa nag rnga cham) – Black-Hat Dance with drums.

Bod Cham (bod cham) – laymen dances

  • Drametse Nga Cham (dgra med rtse rnga cham) – Drum Dance of Drametse.
  • Peling Ging Sum Cham (pad gling ging gsum cham) – Dance of the tree kind of Ging according to Pema Lingpa.
  • Nyulema Cham (myu li ma cham) – Malevolent Spirit Dance.
  • Kye Cham (skye cham) – Farewell/ accompaniment Dance.
  • Pholay Molay (pho legs mo legs) – Dance of Noble Men and Charming Ladies.
  • Shaw Sha Khi (shaw sha khyi) – Hound and Stag Dance.
Similar to the second day, the third day also showcases several dance performances. The dances presented on the third day encompass.

Gelong gi Cham (dge slong gi cham) – monk dances

  • Durdag Cham (dur bdag cham)- Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground.
  • Tungam Cham (stung rngam cham) – Wrathful Dance.

Bod Cham (bod cham) – laymen dances

  • Raksha Langgo Cham (rak sha glang mgo cham) – Dance of the Animals headed attendants.
  • Raksha Mangcham (rak sha dmang cham) – Dance of the judgment and the bardo.
The dances presented on the fourth day are:

Gelong gi Cham (dge slong gi cham) – monk dances

  • Eight Manifestations of padmasambhava Cham – Dance of the Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava.
  • Rig Ma Chudru (rigs ma bcu drug) – Dance of the Sixteen Dakinis.

Bod Cham (bod cham) – laymen dances

  • Shazam Cham (sha zam cham) – Stag Dance.
  • Durdag (dur bdag) – Dance of the Lords of the Cremation.
  • Ging Tshogling Cham (ging tshogs gling cham) – Dance of the wrathful deities and the Ging.
  • Acho Dang Phento Cham (a co dang phan noa cham) Jesters act.
  • Atsara gi Lochoe (a tsa ra gis lo chos) – mock ritual by the jesters.
  • Tashi Monlam (bkra shis smon lam), performed by the dancers from the district administration.

Trongsa Tshechu

Atsara Lochoe, the main entertainment at Trongsa Tshechu Festival

Known as Atsara Lochoe, this ritual takes place during the stag and hound dance, following all the steps of an annual ceremonial practice performed in households. The ritual pastries are crafted in the form of phalluses in varying sizes, accompanied by inflated condoms.

According to Wangdi, a senior monk aged 66, in the past, it was challenging to attract attendees for the Lochoe ritual, and only individuals with certain disabilities participated. “However, nowadays, civil servants, local leaders, and business people join as guests,” he remarked.

Wangdi clarified that while the Lochoe serves the purpose of entertaining people, it also functions as a protective ritual against malevolent forces and misfortunes for those who witness the event. He emphasized that both the participants and the observers are shielded from ill luck stemming from malicious gossip. Wangdi underlined that this is a revered practice for teachers and scholars, commonly known as acharyas, crafted to amuse a deity.

Tashi, a former leader of mask dancers from Dangla, mentioned that the atsaras, who are mask dancers, used to face the challenge of persuading people to attend as guests. “However, times have changed, and nowadays, those who receive invitations willingly accept,” he added.

He also highlighted that although the Lochoe ritual is performed during all tsechus, the guest etiquette and the provision of food and drinks differ in Trongsa.

The ritual commences with the atsaras presenting phallus cakes and carrying the lam. Over the course of approximately two hours, these jesters engage the audience with playful enactments of various ritual aspects. This involves playing drums, cymbals, trumpets, and clarinets, as well as singing songs instead of reciting customary prayers.

The purpose of the ritual is to expose the hypocrisy of those who oversee its conduct. Eventually, the atsaras conclude the ritual by serving meals to the guests and captivating them with dance performances. In return, the guests offer monetary gifts as a token of appreciation.

The Tshechu, a five-day festival, culminates with the unfurling of a thongdrel. Over the preceding four days, monks and local lay people engage in a variety of mask dances.

Experiencing Bhutan’s Unique Festivals & Culture

Highlights of Trongsa Tshechu Festival

Explore the enchanting realm of Bhutan through its rich cultural tapestry and vibrant festivals. Immerse yourself in the captivating Trongsa Tshechu, a five-day celebration of Padmasambhava’s legacy, featuring mesmerizing mask dances, sacred rituals, and the unveiling of the sacred thangka.

  • Witness the Trongsa Tshechu, a Festival of Intangible Cultural Heritage, honoring Padmasambhava.
  • Immerse yourself in the traditional mask dances performed by monks and lay individuals.
  • Experience the captivating rituals, including Atsara Lochoe, a unique and entertaining event.
  • Engage with local culture, enjoy Bhutanese cuisine, and explore the stunning Trongsa District.

Is This Trip for You?

This trip is ideal for culture enthusiasts, travelers interested in religious heritage, and those seeking a unique festival experience. It offers an opportunity to engage with Bhutanese traditions, witness vibrant mask dances, and explore the profound spirituality of the Trongsa Tshechu.

  • Smoking: Smoking is discouraged in Bhutan, and it’s advised to respect local customs and regulations regarding smoking in public areas.
  • Travelling in Bhutan: Bhutan is renowned for its serene landscapes and well-preserved culture. Travel within the country is typically organized through guided tours to ensure a meaningful and respectful experience.
  • Festival Departures: The Trongsa Tshechu takes place from the 8th to the 12th day of the 11th month in the lunar calendar, which generally coincides with December or January.

9 Nights, 10 Days Bhutan Tour Itinerary: Exploring Cultural & Natural Highlights

First Day: Arrival in Paro & Transfer to Thimphu

  • Arrive in Paro with a breathtaking view of the Himalayas.
  • Meet the guide and proceed to Thimphu, the capital city.
  • Check into the hotel and visit sites including the National Library, Zorig Chusum Institute, Traditional Medicine Institute, Folk Heritage Museum, and Tashichhodzong.
  • Overnight stay in Thimphu.

Second Day: Thimphu Sightseeing

  • Visit Buddha Point for panoramic views, National Memorial Chorten, Handicrafts Emporium, and local crafts shops.
  • Explore Takin Preserve, Simtokha Dzong, and Zilukha Nunnery.
  • Overnight stay in Thimphu.

Third Day: Thimphu to Punakha via Dochula Pass

  • Travel to Punakha via Dochula Pass.
  • Visit Dochula Pass with its 108 stupas, Punakha Dzong, and Chimi Lhakhang.
  • Overnight stay in Punakha.

Fourth Day: Punakha to Trongsa

  • Drive to Trongsa through Wangdue Phodrang.
  • Enroute, enjoy scenic landscapes and visit Chendebji Chorten.
  • Visit Trongsa National Museum upon arrival.
  • Overnight stay in Trongsa.

Fifth Day: Trongsa Tshechu Festival

  • Attend Trongsa Tshechu Festival, witnessing traditional dances and performances.
  • Visit the interior of Trongsa Dzong.
  • Overnight stay in Trongsa.

Sixth Day: Last Day of Trongsa Tshechu & Trongsa to Bumthang

  • Witness the unfurling of the Thongdrel at Trongsa Dzong.
  • Travel to Bumthang and visit the Yathra weaving center.
  • Overnight stay in Bumthang.

Seventh Day: Bumthang Sightseeing

  • Explore Jakar Dzong, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurje Lhakhang, Tamshing Lhakhang, and Lhodrak Kharchu Monastery.
  • Overnight stay in Bumthang.

Eighth Day: Bumthang to Gangtey

  • Visit Gangtey Goemba, the largest Nyingmapa monastery.
  • Learn about black-necked cranes at the Crane Information Centre.
  • Overnight stay in Gangtey.

Ninth Day: Gangtey to Paro

  • Drive to Paro and visit Rinpung Dzong, Ta Dzong (National Museum), Kyichu Lhakhang, and local farmhouses.
  • Overnight stay in Paro.

Tenth Day: Tiger’s Nest Hike

  • Embark on a hike to the iconic Tiger’s Nest Monastery.
  • Learn about its significance and Padmasambhava legacy.
  • Overnight stay in Paro.

Eleventh Day: Departure

  • Transfer to the airport for your onward flight.

Other Recommended Festivals

Accommodation, Food & Drink

Experience comfortable stays in handpicked hotels and guesthouses that reflect Bhutanese hospitality and provide a peaceful retreat after festival days. Indulge in authentic Bhutanese cuisine, savoring local flavors and dishes prepared with fresh ingredients. Dietary preferences can be accommodated.

  • Transportation within Bhutan: Travel within Bhutan will be facilitated by comfortable vehicles and guided by experienced drivers.
  • Weather & Seasonality: Expect cool temperatures in December and January, suitable for the festival experience. Dress in layers to stay comfortable.
  • Joining Instructions: Detailed joining instructions will be provided prior to the trip, including information on flights, visas, and essential documents.

Key Information on Trongsa Tshechu Festival

  • Official Name: Trongsa Tshechu
  • Festival Duration: 8th to 12th day of the 11th month
  • Location: Trongsa Dzong, Trongsa District
  • Classification: Festival of Intangible Cultural Heritage
  • What To Take: Pack comfortable clothing, sturdy footwear for walking, layers for changing weather, and any personal essentials. Don’t forget your camera!
  • Essential Equipment: Carry a daypack, water bottle, sunscreen, and any necessary medications.
  • Optional Equipment: Binoculars, trekking gear if planning additional activities, and a journal to document your journey.

Practical Information on Festival

  • Bhutan Visa: Obtain through Marvellous Bhutan private limited prior to arrival.
  • Vaccinations and Health: Consult your healthcare provider for recommended vaccinations.
  • Bhutan’s Time Zone: Bhutan Standard Time (BST), GMT+6.
  • Bhutan’s Electricity: 230V, Type D and Type F plugs.
  • Bhutan’s Currency: Bhutanese Ngultrum (BTN).
  • ATM Availability: Limited, carry sufficient local currency.
  • Extra Expenses & Spending Money: Plan for personal expenses, souvenirs, and additional activities.
  • Tipping: Tipping is customary in Bhutan, showing appreciation for good service. Consult guidelines provided by the tour operator.

People, Places & Planet: Tips for Sustainable Travel

  • Respect local customs and traditions.
  • Minimize plastic usage and waste.
  • Support local artisans by purchasing authentic crafts.

Optional Activities & Excursions in Trongsa

Explore nearby attractions, monasteries, and enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking and nature walks.
Trongsa, a mesmerizing town nestled in the heart of Bhutan, offers a myriad of optional activities and excursions that promise an unforgettable experience. From the historic Trongsa Dzong to the serene Chendebji Chorten, this article takes you on a virtual journey through the captivating attractions that await in this enchanting destination.

Trongsa Dzong & Kuenga Rabten Palace

The iconic Trongsa Dzong, a majestic fortress, stands as a testament to Bhutan’s rich history. This architectural marvel served as a seat of power for centuries, playing a crucial role in shaping the nation. Visitors are transported to an era of kings and queens as they explore the intricately designed courtyards, temples, and administrative chambers.

Step into the opulent past by visiting the Kuenga Rabten Palace. This former winter residence of the royal family exudes grandeur and elegance. As you stroll through its ornate halls, you can almost hear whispers of the royal legacy that unfolded within its walls.

Trongsa Museum & Chendebji Chorten

The Trongsa Museum, housed in the Trongsa Tower, is a treasure trove of Bhutanese art and artifacts. From intricate paintings to royal memorabilia, the museum offers a captivating insight into the nation’s cultural evolution. Each exhibit tells a story that binds the past with the present.

For a moment of serenity, visit the Chendebji Chorten. This revered stupa stands amidst lush landscapes, emanating a spiritual aura that calms the soul. As you walk around the chorten, you’ll feel a profound connection with Bhutan’s spiritual heritage.

Off-the-Beaten-Path: Hidden Gems of Trongsa

  • Discover Trongsa’s lesser-known gems, such as the serene Nubi Gewog and the picturesque Yutong La Pass. These off-the-beaten-path locations offer a glimpse into untouched beauty.
  • Trongsa’s landscapes are a canvas of diversity. From lush valleys to snow-capped peaks, nature’s beauty is ever-present. Capture these breathtaking vistas and make memories that last a lifetime.
  • Trongsa invites you to embark on a journey that encapsulates Bhutan’s essence. With its historical landmarks, spiritual sanctuaries, and immersive experiences, this town promises a tapestry of memories that will forever linger in your heart.

Trongsa Tshechu Festival

Booking an Enriching Trongsa Tshechu Festival Trip with Marvellous Bhutan Travel

Experience the lively cultural heritage of Bhutan at the Trongsa Tshechu Festival through Marvellous Bhutan Travel Private Limited. This guide outlines the steps to book your trip and ensure a seamless, enriching adventure.

  1. Visit Marvellous Bhutan Travel Website: Go to to access a wealth of details about services, itineraries, and the Trongsa Tshechu Festival.
  2. Explore Festival Itinerary: On the website, locate the “Festival Tours” or “Cultural Tours” section to find the Trongsa Tshechu Festival itinerary. Understand festival dates, activities, and accommodations.
  3. Review Inclusions and Exclusions: Carefully read through inclusions and exclusions on the itinerary page to grasp what’s covered, including accommodations, meals, transportation, guided tours, and extras.
  4. Contact Marvellous Bhutan Travel: Reach out for queries or additional information through the “Contact Us” page at Utilize the provided contact form, email, phone number, or social media links.
  5. Customization and Booking: Communicate your preferences and desired customization for the trip. Address any uncertainties with the experienced team. Navigate the booking process, payment options, required documents, and special requests.
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  7. Prepare for the Trip: With your trip confirmed, review the itinerary and pack accordingly. Organize travel arrangements before departure.
  8. Enjoy a Seamless Experience: Upon arriving in Bhutan, Marvellous Bhutan Travel’s professionals will guide you through the journey. Fully immerse yourself in the Trongsa Tshechu Festival festivities, assured that Marvellous Bhutan Travel ensures a seamless, meaningful trip.

Trip Note Validity

The information provided in this trip note is valid for the Trongsa Tshechu Festival. For the most accurate and up-to-date details, refer to your authorized tour operator’s materials.

Important Information Trongsa Tshechu

Immerse yourself in Bhutan’s Trongsa Tshechu, a unique festival celebrating Padmasambhava. Engage with sacred mask dances, rituals, and experience the vibrant culture of Bhutan. Respect local customs, minimize your ecological footprint, and cherish the memories of this extraordinary journey.

On the final day of the Trongsa Tshechu, which is the fifth day, the festival comes to an end with an array of dances and the showcasing of a thangka. The performed dances include Pacham (dpaa cham), known as the Dance of the Heroes, Dramnyen Choe Zhe (sgra snyan mchod rje cham), a Religious Dance accompanied by a lute, and Zhe Zheng Pem Cham (bzhengs zhig pdmoa cham). The Thongdrel, a large ceremonial banner that represents liberation and blessings, is then unveiled for the public to pay their respects. This concluding moment of the festival is unquestionably the most captivating aspect of the Trongsa Tshechu.

Trongsa Dzong

Frequently Asked Questions about the Trongsa Tshechu Festival

What is the official name of the festival celebrated in Trongsa, Bhutan?

The festival celebrated in Trongsa, Bhutan is known as the Trongsa Tshechu Festival.

When does the Trongsa Tshechu Festival take place?

The Trongsa Tshechu Festival occurs from the 8th to the 12th day of the 11th month in the lunar calendar, usually falling in December or January.

Where is the Trongsa Tshechu Festival held?

The Trongsa Tshechu Festival takes place at the Trongsa Dzong in the Trongsa District of Bhutan.

What is the significance of the Trongsa Tshechu Festival?

The Trongsa Tshechu Festival honors Padmasambhava, focusing on his accomplishments through sacred dances. It symbolizes the victory of Buddhism over darkness and is observed by every monastery in Bhutan.

How is the Trongsa Tshechu Festival’s final day celebrated?

On the final day of the Trongsa Tshechu Festival, various dances are performed, including the Dance of the Heroes and the Religious Dance. The festival concludes with the unveiling of a thangka, a ceremonial banner symbolizing liberation and blessings.

Bhutan Tour & Travel Agency » Archives for Chokyi Dorji

In the realm of Bhutan’s rich cultural heritage lies the Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery, a sanctuary that seamlessly intertwines the realms of astrology, profound knowledge, and spiritual enlightenment. This remarkable institution stands as a beacon of wisdom and understanding, serving as a nurturing ground for seekers of truth and practitioners of ancient traditions. With roots that trace back through history, the monastery’s inception and evolution carry a significance that touches the hearts and minds of many.

A Humble Introduction to the Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery

Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery

Nestled in the serene landscape of Mangdhi Tshangkha, the Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of Bhutanese spirituality. It is a refuge where wisdom seekers gather to explore the mysteries of astrology, delve into the sea of knowledge, and find solace in the teachings of ancient shastras.

A Supplication & Homage

The journey begins with a supplication, a heartfelt homage offered to the refuge Buddhas and the compassionate spiritual teachers who have illuminated the path for countless souls. Dungwa Drakpo’s eloquent supplication encapsulates the spirit of reverence that permeates the monastery’s halls.

Monks at Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery

The Birth of a Dream

The origins of Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery are intricately woven into the life of Norbu Wangchuck, known as Sangay Jamtsho in his monastic abode. Norbu Wangchuck’s journey is one of transformation, from the shadows of disillusionment to the radiant light of purpose. His Majesty’s command to establish a center of learning catalyzed his destiny, creating a haven for the pursuit of astrology and profound knowledge.

A Vision of Nation-Building

Ugyen Shaydrupling temple

The fourth Druk Gyalpo’s vision extended beyond monastery walls, embracing the essence of nation-building. With a gift of Nu. One million one hundred seventy-two thousand six hundred fifty-five, the foundation for a new chapter in Bhutan’s educational landscape was laid. The newly constructed center became a haven of learning, nurturing the intellectual growth of its students.

The King & the Living Buddha

In the midst of royal routine, King Jigme Singye Wangchuk and Gyeltsen Rinpoche saw astrology’s deep importance. A letter from the king himself requested the establishment of a monastery dedicated to the study of astrology. This profound connection between the worldly and the spiritual exemplifies the harmony that Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery embodies.

Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery

The Resurgence of Astrology

Astrology, often misunderstood or overlooked, finds a nurturing sanctuary within the walls of the monastery. Despite modern skepticism, His Majesty’s decree reinstates its importance. The blend of astrology with arts and sciences ignites new insights, motivating students to explore the intricate relationship among the physical world, living beings, and elemental forces.

Unraveling the Mysteries of Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery

The monastery’s curriculum is a tapestry of profound teachings. It unfolds in layers, from understanding the nature of existence to exploring the intricate energies that shape the cosmos. The students traverse the complex terrains of lunar and zodiacal phenomena, reaching into the depths of empowerment and spiritual maturation.

The Eternal Pursuit | Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery

The monastery’s essence goes beyond the temporal realm. It calls seekers to embrace eternal truths, uniting awareness and emptiness, embracing mindfulness, and grasping sutra and tantra essence. The teachings culminate in a pursuit of knowledge that transcends generations.

The Graceful Spiritual Master

The essence of the monastery is embodied in the spiritual master, a bridge between the physical and spiritual realms. This embodiment resonates with the purity of Buddha’s teachings, guiding aspirants towards the cessation of cyclic existence. The ultimate aspiration is to achieve longevity with altruism, a testament to the power of noble intentions.

A Timeless Message

As we stand at the crossroads of time and tradition, Ugyen Shaydrupling Monastery offers a timeless message. It speaks of unity between the seen and the unseen, the worldly and the divine. It invites us to embrace the legacy of knowledge, the art of astrology, and the wisdom of the ages. With gratitude, we tread the path to ultimate happiness, guided by Dungwa Drakpo and enlightened masters’ compassionate teachings.

Bhutan Tour & Travel Agency » Archives for Chokyi Dorji

The Mystical Realm of Goen Tshephu Ney, an exalted cavern, bears a profound connection to the venerated Guru Padmasambhava of the 8th century. Legend has it that following Guru’s retreat at Maratika in Nepal, he embarked upon a pilgrimage to this sacred cave, where he was bestowed with the divine sight of the resplendent Amitayus, the “Buddha of Long Life.” Subsequently,

Tsephu Trulku Gyeltshen Pelzang, an ardent disciple of Saint Goe Tsangpa, established a monastery, which harbors numerous relics. Amongst these treasures, the gold-plated replica of Zhabdrung’s hat takes center stage, signifying its paramount significance.

The primary statue adorning the monastery is the Guru sungjouen, an eloquent masterpiece. Pentsa Deva originally sculpted this awe-inspiring figure in Punakha with the intention of transporting it to Bumthang. However, upon its completion, the statue astoundingly vocalized its desire to be enshrined at Gon Tshephu. Evidently, this statue occupies a position of utmost sanctity within the sacred confines of The Mystical Realm of Goen Tshephu Ney.

The Mystical Realm of Goen Tshephu Ney is the one approaches the monastery’s entrance, a distinctive rock comes into view, believed to be the upper lip of the Mara subdued by Guru Rinpoche himself. Adorning this stone visage are three-foot imprints left by Guru Rinpoche,

having tread upon it before taking flight to Tshechudra in Gasa. Curiously, the same stone bears the footprints of Terton Dorje Lingpa as well. In close proximity, one can witness the wish-fulfilling tree known as pasam jinshing, generously bestowing fruits throughout the year.

Just at the threshold of the main Life Vase cave, a tap channels Tshe Chu, the holy water of longevity, ever flowing. Moving onward through a narrow passage of rocky terrain, a sudden revelation awaits—a vast expanse of cavernous magnificence. Within this remarkable space,

longevity water incessantly drips from above, as though emanating from the tongue of an elephant. Further up, nestled within a small cave, resides the crowning treasure of Gon Tshephu—the Life Vase, harboring a self-arisen treasure letter denoted by the sacred symbol ཨ (Ah), having journeyed from Nepal’s Maratika Cave.

This hallowed cave stands as the epitome of sanctity, as Guru Rinpoche communed with Buddha Amitayus face to face, eagerly imbibing his teachings and empowerment. Adjacent to the Life Vase Cave lies an iron ladder, beckoning visitors to explore the depths of the Dakini meditation cave.

In close proximity to the Dakini meditation cave, known as Dedh Drib Ney, lies a cavernous chamber that allows one to discern the nuances of positive and negative Karma. Upon returning to the monastery and ascending further, a cave reveals itself, adorned with twenty-one self-arisen images of Tara, the compassionate Bodhisattva, concealed within.

Aside from the Tara cave, a rock bears the mark where Guru Rinpoche once sat, presumably offering protective prayers for all sentient beings. Gazing outwards from this vantage point, the magnificent vista of vast mountain ranges unfolds, inviting the release of all burdens and stresses.

Perched atop a large rock above the monastery rests a cooking oven, utilized by the Dakini to prepare nourishment for Guru Rinpoche. Astonishingly, a small plant exhibits a profusion of long, sinewy roots, serving as a makeshift rope or ladder for ascending. Utmost care must be exercised while scaling or remaining atop, for an inadvertent slip could prove calamitous.

Descending below the monastery, on the backside of Mara’s upper lip, an extraordinary self-arisen symbol, ཨོཾ་ཨཱཿཧཱུྂ:, comes into view. On closer inspection, each letter stands raised, evoking a sense of wonder and awe. This portion of the stone is believed to encapsulate Mara’s heart.

Adjacent to the chamber where butter lamps are offered, a small boulder captures one’s attention. Here, Wangchu chenpo, accompanied by male and female conches, assumes a captivating presence.

Within the face of the stone, a small aperture bears witness to Terton Dorje Lingpa’s extraction of the Phurbi Ter, a sacred ritual implement.

Numerous Bodhisattvas have graced Gon Tshephu Ney with their divine presence, including:

  • Terton Dorje Lingpa,
  • Gyalse Gyaltshen,
  • Yongzin Ngawang Drakpa,
  • Thukse Dawa,
  • Trulku Gyaltsen Pelzang,
  • Phajo Drugom Zhingpo, and Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.

During Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal‘s meditative sojourn at Gon Tshephu, he received a vision of Guru Rinpoche, along with a prophetic revelation regarding the flourishing propagation of the Palden Drukpa teachings in Bhutan.

Caretaker has observed a surge in the influx of pilgrims to this hallowed sanctuary. “In the bygone days, when no pathway existed, only a solitary traveler or two would venture to the Ney,” he expressed. “However, with the arrival of the road near the monastery’s base, the number of visitors has swelled. Until a few years ago, the Ney remained relatively obscure.”

The construction of the route leading to Goen Tshephu commenced approximately six years ago and has recently concluded. Caretaker remarked that tourists heading towards the nearby Koma Tshachu, a natural hot spring, frequently incorporate a visit to the Lhakhang in their itinerary. “It has become customary for individuals to pay homage to the lhakhang and subsequently proceed to Koma Chhu, or vice versa.”

Previously, the responsibility for the upkeep of the monastery rested with the Yurbu and Gumgang chiwogs of Goenshari Gewog. However, it has now been entrusted to Zhung dratshang.

Within the lhakhang, one can find twenty-one sacred neys, including images of Tara, Guru Rinpoche’s Zhuthey, Soethap, Terton Dorji Lingpa (Phub Terzhi gi Shue), Dungkar Phomo Wangchuk Chhenmo, Choe gi Zhabjay, and Guru Rinpoche’s Chakar.

Goen Tshephu Ney stands as a testament to Bhutan’s profound veneration for spiritual customs, beckoning both locals and visitors to embark on a transformative odyssey through its mystical domains.

Who is Guru Padmasambhava and what is his connection to Goen Tshephu Ney?

Guru Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, is a venerated figure from the 8th century who is deeply connected to Goen Tshephu Ney. According to legend, he journeyed to the sacred cave at Goen Tshephu Ney after a retreat at Maratika in Nepal. There, he was blessed with a divine vision of Amitayus, the “Buddha of Long Life.”

What is the primary statue found in the monastery at Goen Tshephu Ney?

The primary statue in the monastery is the Guru Rinpoche sungjouen. This statue was originally sculpted in Punakha with the intention to transport it to Bumthang, but upon its completion, it voiced its desire to be housed at Goen Tshephu Ney.

What are some of the notable features surrounding the entrance to the monastery?

Near the monastery’s entrance is a unique rock believed to be the upper lip of the Mara subdued by Guru Rinpoche. This rock features footprints left by Guru Rinpoche and Terton Dorje Lingpa. Nearby, there is a wish-fulfilling tree known as pasam jinshing, which bears fruit all year round.

Who is responsible for the upkeep of the Goen Tshephu Ney monastery?

The upkeep of the monastery was formerly the responsibility of the Yurbu and Gumgang chiwogs of Goenshari Gewog, but it has since been entrusted to Zhung dratshang.

What is the significance of the Life Vase Cave in Goen Tshephu Ney?

The Life Vase Cave is considered an epitome of sanctity. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche met Buddha Amitayus here, from whom he received teachings and empowerment. The cave houses the Life Vase, a treasure that contains a self-arisen treasure letter symbolized by the sacred symbol ཨ (Ah). A tap near the cave entrance channels Tshe Chu, the holy water of longevity, which is always flowing.

Bhutan Tour & Travel Agency » Archives for Chokyi Dorji

Dear Marvellous Bhutan,

I was a member of the Singapore tour group from 28 May to 3 June 2023. I am writing in to offer my compliments for your staff who assisted us on the trip.

Our tour guide was Mr Phuntsho Wangdi. He was clear in his explanation on all the sites we went to and kept to time for our schedule. I am particularly impressed by how he will observed our needs along the way, and lent a helping hand to without us even asking. 

We had some difficult tour mates on this group and affected the mood of the whole group. I saw how Mr Phuntsho made separate arrangements for them and attended to their demands with good attitude. There were several unpleasantness that he had to face but he never made it visible when he returned to our group. He has left a deep impression and a good example of how nice and peace-loving Bhutan people are. 

I would also like to commend our driver Mr Sonam for being cheerful and careful in his driving to bring us around. He livened the mood and made the journey light.

Please help to convey my appreciation to your staff Mr Phuntsho and Mr Sonam.

I hope to have the chance to visit your beautiful country again.

Thank you!


Joyce Chua (Singapore)