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Popular religious festival or Tshechu in Bhutan - Punakha Drubchen

Punakha Drubchen - Popular Festivals in Bhutan

Punakha located in the western part of Bhutan, is the winter home of the Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot of the country. It has been of critical importance since the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 17th century who is regarded as unifier of Bhutan.

punakha-drubchen-bhutan

During 17th century Bhutan was invaded several times by Tibetan forces seeking to seize a very precious relic, the Ranjung Kharsapani.  Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal led the Bhutanese to victory over the Tibetans and to commemorate the triumph he introduced the Punakha Drubchen. Since then Punakha Drubchen (also known as Puna Drubchen) became the annual festival of Punakha Dzongkhag (district).

The Punakha Drubchen is a unique festival because it hosts a dramatic recreation of the scene from the 17th century battle with Tibetan army. The ‘pazaps’ or local militia men, dress in traditional battle gear and re-enact the ancient battle scene. This re-enactment harkens back to the time when in the absence of a standing army, men from the eight Tshogchens or great village blocks of Thimphu came forward and managed to expel the invading forces from the country. Their victory ushered in a period of new-found internal peace and stability.

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