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Tsechu Mask Dance Festival

Tsechu, literally “day ten”, is a most celebrated religious festival, celebrated in the Himalayan regions of Nepal, and Bhutan. The annual festival is celebrated in every significant monastery on every 10th day of the month according to the Tibetan lunar calendar. The most important celebration takes place around October to April in various monasteries in the Himalayan region where Tibetan Buddhism is practised. In Bhutan, the festival is unusually colourful, with people dressed in their most beautiful clothes and jewels and socializing, eating, and merrymaking.

The Tsechu commemorates the deeds of Guru Rimpoche (Guru Padmasambhava), the great Nyingmapa scholar and the founder of Tibetan Buddhism. It believes that Guru Rinpoche himself organized the first Tsechu in Bumthang valley, in Bhutan, during his visit to Bhutan and Tibet at the beginning of 8th century. There the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche (Guru Rinpoche being his human form) were presented in eight types of dances. These became the Chhams (dance), which re-enacts the glory of Guru Rinpoche.

The focal points of the Tsechus are the sacred Chham dances (banned in Tibet). Chham dances represent divine beings and the eight forms of Guru Rinpoche whirling, leaping and somersaulting within the precinct of monasteries/dzongs. It is also an opportunity to view the unfurling of the thongdrol, a sacred multicoloured portrait of Guru Rinpoche in Paro in Bhutan. One glance at the thongdrol is believed to cleanse all sins may be the viewer hold by his mind and deeds. The thongdrols is a centuries-old jewel of Bhutan and are only displayed at night to protect it from sunlight. Thousands gather for precious sight.

Those wishing to visit Nepal/Bhutan and enjoy these Tsechus should plan their visit well in advance. Flights and accommodations fill up quickly, so it is essential to book early, at least three months in advance. Please, let us know at annatreks@gmail.com detailing your interest and available time. We will help you tailor an accurate plan for a lovely trip to the Himalayas.

The most important celebration takes place around October to April in various monasteries in the Himalayan region where Tibetan Buddhism is practised”