Generic selectors
Exact matches only
Search in title
Search in content
Post Type Selectors

Table of Contents

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.
  6. Payment and Confirmation: After finalizing details, receive payment instructions. Make payments following the provided guidelines. Upon successful payment, receive a booking confirmation with a comprehensive itinerary and accommodation information.
  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 » Travel Journal » Trongsa Tshechu Festival