Thimpu Festival

Thimpu Travel Blog

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Next day I woke up late until the sun was really out. Had a late breakfast and a stroll around the town. Also checked for the room in Tashi Delek, got a good one, single bed, TV with attached bath for only rupees 250. Changed the room, and started off towards the Thimpu Festival ground.

All the buildings in Bhutan are inspired by the Dzong like structures, with traditional wooden roofs. The first thing I noticed that was different from my last visit in Thimpu was that the capital is now becoming a bit disorderly and creaking up a bit under the congestion. There are brand new luxury cars on the roads, a few flyovers, loads of new hotels and restaurants on the main road and plenty of construction work going around.
But there still remains a solitary traffic police man on the main cross road and it has become kind of a popular tourist attraction.

The mood on the street is buoyant with people dressed in there finest,  colorful traditional dresses. This is the time of the year that families from Thimpu and all around Bhutan gather together in a festival. There is lots of celebration, dancing by monks/people and feasting. The dancing and the music are different on each of the 3 days of Thimpu festival.
There is a new King, a century of good monarchy has just been celebrated after which Bhutan went through a smooth  transition to democracy. The year 2008 was a rocking year for Bhutanese who measure the progress in units of happiness.

Soon reached the festival ground and at the first sight of it realized how lucky I was to witness this colorful festival.
The ground was jam packed with people continuously moving in and out taking short breaks. Everywhere you see, people are dressed in colorful traditional costumes. In the center of the ground there are dance members performing traditional dance numbers the whole day brazing in the hot sun. The dresses of each of these performers is unique and colorful resembling one of the characters from there mythology.

Performers wearing masks dance in a circle/square to the beats of the drums and the sound of the trumpets. In there hands they hold swords, vajras, beads and small drums. With every step they complete a turn, transforming the courtyard into a swirling mass of brilliant colorful robes. In between two clowns dressed in grubby overalls, wearing bright red masks and ugly long noses jump up and down, mocking the people and imitating the dancers and performing to cheer up the crowd  and give some time for the other dancers to rest.

This festival is really something to witness up close and personal. The atmosphere is electric, the music and dance steps are performed to perfection and there is not a dull moment during all the festival days. There wasn't much need for crowd control as people are helpful in nature, everyone mingling around and taking in the festival mood completely. As people are moving in and out of the main ground, everyone gets an opportunity to take a close look and participate in the celebrations, take blessing from the monks. For those who are not able to come to Thimpu ground, there is a direct live broadcast on television where people can watch the performing artists closely. In fact there were getting a better view of the dance artists.
All the dance performances are based on age old stories of people having a good time, the victory of good over evil.
  The smiles on peoples faces tells you, how much they are enjoying the festival. The festival activities are overlooked by the Buddhist monks performing prayer all through the day, blessing people and distributing sweets. There were quite a few foreign tourists as well, all ready with there big cameras, clicking photos continuously, mingling with the locals and having a good time. Another change i saw since last time was that quite a few locals had mobile phones now and some were clicking photos via there mobile phone cameras. I could have sat there the whole day just watching the people, the dance performances, people moving around. And irrespective of where you sit in the grounds, you get a
full view of the complete celebration ground.

Finally around 4pm, i started to walk back to my hotel, stopped for rest at a few places, chatted with the locals who were taking photos on there mobile phones and new cameras. After i reached my hotel, crashed and later went for a quick dinner of local food, beef and cheese momos.
deep-blue says:
Brilliant Travelogue!
Posted on: Nov 29, 2009
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photo by: Bluenose