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Popular religious festival or Tshechu in Bhutan - Thangbi Mani Tshechu

Thangbi Mani Festival - Popular Festivals in Bhutan

The Thangbi Mani festival is held at Thangbi Lhakhang which was founded in 1470 by Shamar Rinpoche of the Kagyupa religious school. Located in the north of Choekhor valley, it takes about 30 minutes walk from the road through the fields of buckwheat to reach the temple.Thangbi Mani Festival

Located at an elevation of 2730m, Thangbi temple is of historical significance and one of the temples managed by lay monks called Gomchens who are responsible for all rituals. Organized jointly by the people of three villages of Bumthang, Thangbi, Goling, during festival, the Gomchens of the monastery exhibits vibrant rituals, and young lads and lass wear masks of glorious demonic demons and animals to showcase hypnotizing masked dances and folk items believed to have hidden powers to bless onlookers with unending fortune. Also it is local belief that those amongst the present, if jump over a flame three times, are supposed to be protected from every impending misfortune at least for a year.

Thangbi Mani festival starts on 14th and concludes on 16th day of 8th Bhutanese month.

Festival Schedule:
Day 1: Festival begins at about 7.00 a.m. and lasts till mid-night.
Lay Monks perform burning ceremony called fire blessing which drives away or subdue the evil spirit.
Dricham (Sword dance)
Wilim (dance of first settler on this earth)
Goembarnak Tercham (treasure dance of Karmapa’s male tutelary deity)
Gensek (Burning ceremony)
Shazam (dance of stag)
Gekdroe (warding off evil spirits) from the village

Day 2: Starts with ceremonial procession from the Temple to the festival ground at about 10.00 a.m followed by Mewang (Fire blessing) performed in the open ground and lay monks perform purification ritual while people witnessing the festival jump over the fire flame thrice to purify sins, evil deeds and protect from ill luck and misfortunes.
Shanak (Black hat dance)
Tshokcham (Offering dance)
Wilim (dance of first settler on this earth)
Goembarnak Tercham (treasure dance of Karmapa’s male tutelary deity)
Ngaging (Drum dance of wrathful Deities)
Pholey Moley (Dance of Heroes and Heroines)
Atsara Dance (Clown dance)
Shazam (dance of stag)

Day 3: Start about 10.00 a.m
Shazam (dance of stag)
Dricham (Sword dance)
Acho Phento (dance of stag and hounds)
Jachung Buechung (dance of Garuda, the mythical bird.)
Atsara Dance (Clown dance)
Wang (Blessing from the head Lama)
Khandum cham (dance of the dakanis)

** Folk dances are performed in-between the mask dances

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