Bring­ing com­mu­ni­ties to­gether

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

The first Royal High­land Festival was held from 16 to 18 Oc­to­ber in Laya. It brought to­gether all high­land com­mu­ni­ties of Bhutan in Laya vil­lage.

The festival was a unique op­por­tu­nity for vis­i­tors to Bhutan, as well as the Bhutanese, to ex­pe­ri­ence the high­land way of life.

The festival en­ables the high­land com­mu­ni­ties to so­cial­ize and ex­change their cul­ture her­itages. And for the out­siders, it was per­haps the best way to ex­pe­ri­ence the amaz­ing cul­ture of high­land com­mu­ni­ties.

Yak herders from Haa, Paro, Thim­phu, Gasa, Wang­duepho­drang, Trongsa, Bumthang, Lhuntse, Tashigang, and Tashi Yangtse dis­played their an­i­mal prod­ucts dur­ing the festival.

Hun­dreds of peo­ple across the coun­try gath­ered at the festival and it was a chance to ex­pe­ri­ence a dif­fer­ent world, of yak-fur tents, their tra­di­tional songs, dances, and the liv­ing cul­tural her­itage of the high­lands.

Be­sides, the com­mu­ni­ties show­cased their dogs, strong­est cou­ple con­tests, horse and yak shows, horse rac­ing and cul­tural pro­gramme by stu­dents and high­land com­mu­ni­ties.

Laya Ge­wog won the prize in horse rac­ing while Merak-Sak­teng se­cured sec­ond. Dorji Wangchuk and his part­ner from Pazhi Chi­wog won the price in the strong­est man com­pe­ti­tion on the fi­nal day.

The lot­tery prizes such as bows, yaks, ruck­sacks, mo­bile phones, tents, and air ticket to Bang- kok, among oth­ers, were pro­vided to the peo­ple of high­land com­mu­ni­ties.

The three-day first live­stock festival brought op­por­tu­ni­ties to earn from home stays owned by the Laya vil­lagers. All vis­i­tors, in­clud­ing min­is­ters, were lodged in home stays ex­cept for some of­fi­cials and tourists.

While mak­ing money from home would bring a new life to the vil­lagers. Tourist trekkers are paid Nu.150 per night which is very low.

The gen­tle hills above the Laya vil­lage, festival venue lies at an al­ti­tude of 4,000m above sea level where the stalls were housed in tra­di­tional woolen tent. The Laya vil­lage is lo­cated at an al­ti­tude of 3,800m above sea level.

The festival was jointly or­ga­nized by the Min­istry of Agri­cul­ture and Forests, and Gasa Dzongkhag to pro­mote the sus­tain­able liveli­hood of high­land com­mu­ni­ties.

As the festival con­cludes the main aim of the festival was to bring the high­landers to­gether and know them well.

It will just be the be­gin­ning and with the or­ga­ni­za­tion of more of such events, we will know each other well and will help in fos­ter­ing peace and har­mony in the so­ci­ety. Not only that the high­landers felt the im­por­tance given to them and will re­new their ef­forts in car­ry­ing out the de­vel­op­ments ac­tiv­i­ties in their area.

A slight im­prove­ment in their life style will have enor­mous ef­fects in the over­all de­vel­op­ment of our coun­try. We can­not not ig­nore them as they are part of us too.

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