Druk Wangyal Tshechu brings communities together
Thousands of people from across the country and many tourists attended the Druk Wangyal Tshechu on 13 December.
Druk Wangyal Tshechu is a significant annual event that brings together all the Bhutanese communities to witness religious and colorful traditional dances, receive blessings and to socialize.
It is one of the biggest and most colorful annual festivals in the country taking place at Dochula, one of the most scenic locations in the country.
The most popular dances performed at the festival were the dance of Jetsun Milarepa, the 11th century Buddhist mystical saint, and the dance depicting the heroes.
Every mask dance performed at the tshechu has a special meaning or a story based on the religion.
The festival was initiated in 2011 by Her Majesty Gyalyum Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck in commemoration of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo’s and the armed forces’ victory over Indian insurgents settled in southern jungles of Bhutan in 2003.
In a remarkable show of ultimate sacrifice, the Fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuck in 2003 personally led the military operation in the southern part of the country and flushed the Indian militants out in three days.
The tshechu is held in honor of the courageous service of the Fourth Druk Gyalpo who personally led the troops against the insurgents and the regular armed forces of the country.
The day was an opportunity to pay humble respects to His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and members of the armed forces for securing peace and security during the difficult time.
The Chairperson of National Council, Dasho Sonam Kinga wrote on his Facebook page that the day was to remember the ultimate and heroic sacrifices made by some of the soldiers. “We must never forget the heroism and leadership of His Majesty the Fourth Druk Gyalpo and the bravery with which our soldiers fought.”
Witnessing the dances and receiving blessings are believed to remove sins and take one closer towards attaining nirvana or enlightenment.
It is also believed that one gains merit by attending festivals such as this. The dances invoke the deities to wipe out misfortunes, increase good luck and grant personal wishes.
In addition to the mask dances, the tshechu presents colorful Bhutanese dances and other forms of entertainment.
Druk Wangyal Lhakhang where the tshechu takes place was built over the period of four years from 2004 until 2008 under the vision and patronage of Her Majesty the Queen Mother.
Besides the members of the public, Her Majesty the Gyalyum, Her Royal Highness Princes Sonam Dechan Wangchuck, prime minister, cabinet ministers, officials of the armed forces and other dignitaries attended the festival.