Religious and Cultural Tour

Culture shapes the way we see the world. Bhutan’s rich spiritual and cultural values set Bhutan apart from the world. For foreigners, tshechus can be a powerful means to learn Bhutan’s centuries-old religious, cultural, and spiritual values. Tshechus – religious festivals – are a varied symbol and representation of Bhutan’s unique religious and cultural elements and values. Tshechus, meaning the ‘tenth day’, are conducted annually in almost all the monasteries, dzongs and temples across the country.
Guru Rinpoche, the Precious Master, also known as Padmasambhava, is believed to have been born on the 10th day of the lunar month. The 10th day of the lunar month is, therefore, a holy day and tshechus are held on this day. Tshechus reflect Bhutan’s deep spiritual and cultural roots in religion, and they play a critical role in the Bhutanese way of life.
Tshechus are held for the wellbeing of a particular community and the spectators who come to witness it. Witnessing a tshechu is believed to cleanse one of negative karma and accumulate spiritual virtues. Tshechus display a few – usually three – days of spectacular show of mask dances and opera-like spiritual shows that have remained unchanged for centuries. A number of stories are told through the enactment of scenes during mask dances. Some dances depict the victory of good over evil. One tells an epic love story, while another depicts an evil person and a noble person appearing in the court of Lord of Death.
Tshechus are a medium of Buddhist teaching, but they are also a colourful platform for socialisation. Locals are seen in the finest clothes and jewellery singing, dancing, merrymaking, and feasting. For visitors, it is an opportunity to appreciate the essence of Bhutanese culture and traditions.
Mask dances displayed at the festivals are said to have been choreographed by accomplished Buddhist masters. It is also said that some masters composed the dances based on celestial visions they had.
One highlight of any tshechu is the unfurling of a thongdrel, a scroll painting of a religious figure, mostly Guru Rinpoche, the sight of which is believed to liberate one from suffering. Thongdrel means ‘liberation at sight’.
Tshechus undoubtedly can be the best of cultural adventures in Bhutan. If you do not have enough time and energy to trek across the mountains or visit remote villages, tshechus are for you. This is an opportunity to understand the culture as it gives you a lot of insight into the religious and cultural lives of the Bhutanese. Our guides will explain to you the significance of this intricately colourful festival.
Here are a few prominent itineraries.