Bumthang Festival

Jakar Travel Blog

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Got up a bit late as it was quite chilly in the morning due to rains at night. By 10am I was out on the streets and found the whole town deserted. All the houses were closed, no vehicles or taxis in sight, and then remembered, its because of the festival day at Thangbi. The whole town went there as it is one of the major festivals in this part of Bhutan marking the blessings for over a year for good fortune and protection. I found one lone shared taxi to Thangbi and soon we reached the festival ground where the celebrations had already
begun and were in full flow.
The fire is lit in the center of the ground at 2 adjacent places and people walk in the space in between these 2 fires. Later the monks and priests entered the monastery to perform prayers.
There is a small dance performance by local dance artists. The festival goes on for the whole day with prayers inside the monastery and dance performances based on local culture, and folk tales outside. The ladies do a slow, stylized dance and then there is a dance by the heroes which is like a martial arts dance. The dancers dressed like warriors brandish there weapons and leap into the air touching there feet to there head. After that the monks and his manifestations walked slowly back into the monastery to continue the prayers.

There were quite a few foreign tourists at this small place and got really crowded so I moved outside in the ground where the place was decorated like a local fare. There were shops all around selling all sorts of things from clothes, souvenirs, shoes, decoration stuff and of course food.
There were also a few stalls of games which the locals were enjoying in full flow. I was there till lunch and started feeling hungry as did not have my breakfast. It was getting really hot so decided to go back to the town. Found the same taxi fellow and he gave me a small discount on the return trip. But when I reached the town, found its the same, empty. Nothing is available, all shops, restaurant, houses closed. Luckily found a small place who were selling some breads and maan was I glad to buy them. They were locally made and quite famous as Bumthang bread, tasted really really good. I could not help but finish 2 whole breads for lunch. Had some fruits and a bottle of
tomato sauce, so quickly made a few sandwiches for lunch. This was the best bread sandwich i had, as the breads were really really tasty.
Retired to my room as everything else was closed outside, got a good afternoon nap. Later on in the evening it started getting cold again and dark. I walked around a bit and went back to the same bread shop to buy more of those delicious breads to stock up for the next days. The owner commented that anyone who buys the bread from them the first time, always come back again for more.

I decided to move on, but seems the only option available is to take taxi as due to the festival there weren't any vehicles going out of the town towards my next destination, Mongar, so the option of hitchhiking was ruled out.  The cheaper option of bus or shared taxi did not go thorough so I informed the hotel guy to check if there are any people going towards Mongar with whom I can share a taxi. Jakar is a very small town and soon the word was spread quickly, that a passenger is available to share a taxi to go to Mongor. Luckily they found a lady with a small kid going in the same direction and we were able to split the taxi ride cost. Individually it would have cost around rupees 4000, but the taxi fellow was happy to charge me Rupees 1000 only. Fix the time for the next day early morning and came back to the room, packed my luggage and went to sleep.
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Whole town is empty, all at the fe…
Whole town is empty, all at the f…
No restaurants were open, everyone…
No restaurants were open, everyon…
photo by: lrecht