Journey to the last Shangrila, Bhutan - Day 6 (Paro Tshechu)

Paro Tshechu - Royal Flower Exhibition - National Museum - Farmhouse

Click here to read day 1day 2day 3day 4day 5day 6 report


Paro Tshechu (21st March 2015 – 4th April 2015)

Tshechu in Bhutan language means the 10th day of a month in lunar calendar. Paro Teshchu starts on the 10th day of 2nd lunar month of the year. It is a 5-day event and public holiday in Paro for that 5 days. It is a festival held in honour of Guru Rinpoche who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Thousands of tourists visit Bhutan to witness this interesting festival every year. It is one of the best way to experience the ancient culture of Bhutan.

Festival was held outside of Paro Dzong.


It is said that the first day of the festival is the most sacred. Months of preparation work took place before the event. During the festival, no one is allowed to ask for return of loaned money or pressure others to pay debts. This is to ensure everyone will have fun time during the 5 days event. 

Dance performance by trained monks and laymen in colorful masks and costume.


I had hard time taking these pictures. I'm short and there were too many people standing in front of me. I asked my macho partner carried me up to capture these pictures. 



This picture was taken from the corner beside Paro Dzhong which is one of the best spot to enjoy festival performance. It's not easy to chop these seats and you need to come here as early as 5am - 6am to reserve it. Then how I get into this corner? I just told the crowd control guard at the entrance let me go in to snap a few shots, they are usually very friendly towards tourists especially their guide are not there. This was a tip from my tour guide.


It was an eye opening experience to witness this festival. We did enjoy but the crowd was too big and we couldn't find a place to sit (couldn't even find a decent spot to stand) and watch performance. The weather was very good, sunny day and beautiful blue sky. 

We were there at 10am and I thought it was not too late but no we are wrong! Paro Dzong was full of people. I was told that some people will get up as early as 4am just to secure a seat. Just to be here as early as possible if you want to get a good seat. Since we couldn't find place to sit, we just wandered around, hide under the shade and observed local Bhutanese how they dress up.

Look at the crowd


Little young kid also trying to find a good viewing spot


Indian VIP was also invited for the event. These are Indian army aka body guard of the Indian VIP. 


Prepare some small change with you as the Atsara "clown" may come to you and ask for money. They like to target tourists. 


Friendly Bhutanese boy



Proper attire is required to attend the festival. I wanted to wear dress (above kneel length) but I was advised by my tour guide better not as I might not be allowed to enter.

Bhutanese women dressed up for Paro Tshechu.


I was very surprised to see them in high heels, sunglasses and leather handbag. They are very trendy and beautiful.

Paro Tschechu is also a good time for family to get together and celebrate. I noticed they like to sit under the sun. 



On the final day of the event, many will come down to receive blessing from the sacred Thongdrel (giant Thanka painting). Some of them even make a trip down from Thimphu. 

Bhutan King and Queen will also join the event on last day. Too bad I left Bhutan on the same day else I would have chance to see the handsome Bhutan King, Jigme! Jigme!


This photo was taken the next morning at 6am before I left Bhutan.




Royal Bhutan Flower Show (2nd April - 6th April)

We were very lucky, this is the first ever flow exhibition in Bhutan under the patronage of Her Majestic the Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck as a tribute to the 4th King of Bhutan, His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck who will turn 60 years old this November. It was held beside Ugyen Pelri Palace but unfortunately no one is allowed to visit the palace. It’s a free entrance event for everyone. 



A group of Bhutanese women who turned up for flower exhibition







One of the local is using his iPad


Young Bhutanese ladies with sunglasses and DSLR




Everyone should make a visit to this former palace turned National Museum to have better idea about Bhutan. There is a large display of different masks used in festival and video to watch. They have a room housing the history of Bhutanese tea. There is also a Bhutan natural life section, birds and animals in Bhutan. No photography is allowed in the museum. You can store your camera and smart phone in the locker provided outside museum entrance.

The main building is still under construction due to the earthquake in 2011.


Beautiful Paro valley, just right outside National Museum.



Farmhouse visit

Farmhouse visit is another highlight in our trip. Most of the people in Paro are staying in farmhouse. The roads from Paro town to farmhouse are all very bumpy. I hope I could spend a night there.

Rainbow on the way to farmhouse.


This farmhouse is already very modernized with concrete wall, fridge, gas stove and LCD television.



The hall where we had our dinner


LCD television in their kitchen



There are 13 guest rooms in this farm house


Dusk time at farmhouse




Hot stone bath

Hot stone bath is very important to Bhutanese as they believe that the mineral coming and the healing power from the stone can cure joint pain, arthritis and other illness.

Bath tub is made of wood and built in the ground. Water is taken from river. Bucket of cold water will be provided which you can mix with hot water until the right temperature.

Bathing suit is not needed but I suggest bring your bathing suit or swimming suit if possible as the place looked kinda "exposed". 


Stone is heated over open fire then quick rinsed over cold water before put into wooden bath tube.



Hot stone bathroom


The water is heated up by the hot stone. The tub is pretty narrow. There are 3 tubs in this wooden hut and each tub is only separated by a piece of hanging cloth. But we had the whole place just the 2 of us. It was very relax. The cost is USD15 per person.


Dinner in farmhouse, there are chili cheese, beef curry, scrambled egg and white rice. 



Hotel
Gangtey Palace. Read the review here.


Interested to visit Bhutan? Read my post here - How to plan your Bhutan trip? Click here to read day 1day 2day 3day 4day 5day 6 report









You Might Also Like

4 comments

  1. wow. this is amazing! *bookmarked*

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Azuan, a great travel blog you have! Ya, Bhutan is an amazing and beautiful country.

      Delete
  2. awesome blog.. i just travelled bhutan wif u.. thanks for sharing such a detail write up of yur bhutan trip.. lovely...

    ReplyDelete