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Popular religious festival or Tshechu in Bhutan - Royal Highland Festival

Royal Highland Festival - Popular Festivals in Bhutan

Initiated in 2016 and held annually in the month of October, the exciting Royal Highland Festival, showcases the rich cultural heritage of highland community of Gasa (altitude 2,800m). The festival is a landmark activity of Gasa district’s ‘Good to Great Gasa’, a vision inspired by His Majesty’s passion to make country great.


Driven by the underlying goal of preserving highland tradition & culture and making the highlands a vibrant and thriving economy, the festival aims to promote the sustainable livelihood of highlanders, showcase their innovation, and exhibit the highlands as a pride of Bhutan. The highlanders from Wangdue, Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Trongsa, Bumthang, Trashigang, Lhuentse, Trashiyangtse and Gasa also participate in the festival to exchange values, knowledge, skills and best practices related to highlands and yak farming.

During the festival, variety of cultural programs performed by Layaps (people of Laya region). Various entertaining programs including the animal parade, tug of war, horse race, cattle show, strongwoman competition, wrestling, run and lottery along with various cultural dances also steal the hearts of visitors.

The festival venue also consists of series of stalls ranging from local based yak produce to highland technology, highland agriculture technology, medicinal herbs & plants and others.

Animal Parade is one of the interesting features of Royal Highland Festival. This iconic event has been showcased at the festival since its inception in 2016 and is the defining moment of the Royal Highland Festival’s reality show. Highlanders with their distinctive customs harmoniously match serene pace of life on the pristine environment and exhibit the decorated animals led by the owners nervously moving from the gentle slope to festival ground packed with onlookers. Observers keep their eyes on decorated animals’ walk circularly until wave natural stadium final goodbye. Every year, 10 participating Dzongkhags (district) take part in the parade championing in decorated horse or yak.

(Photo credit: Gasa Dzongkhag Administration)

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