Thimphu Tshechu starts on the 10th day of the 8th lunar month. The three-day religious event plays an important role in the lives of Bhutanese people as it is an opportunity for the Buddhist followers to immerse and cleanse themselves of the bad Karma and to remind them of what to make of their lives.
Staying true to the age-old tradition, locals dressed in their finest outfit and jewelries gather at the Thimphu Tashichoedzong. This spiritual social event brings people together unified by the common culture, tradition, and beliefs. The sacred mask dance (Chham) is believed to invoke deities blessing all who witness the Chham.
A Tsechu is performed as a tribute to Guru Rimpoche, a great Buddhist master who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Sources say Guru Rimpoche healed a king called Sindhu Raja by performing eight forms of dances representing eight manifestations of Padmasambhava in the Bumthang Valley to restore the health of the king. These became the Chham dances depicting the grandeur of Padmasambhava which are now performed by monks and laymen.
The monks perform a series of meticulously choreographed religion inspired dances wearing grand silk robes and exquisitely crafted mask. It takes years learning and mastering the art of mask dance and months of meticulous practicing and rehearsing for the grand event.
The three-day event presents a collection of age-old Chham which includes Dance of the Stag and the Hounds, Dance of the Lords of the cemetery and the theatrical presentation of the judgment day after a person dies which are quintessential Buddhist beliefs and the Dance of Eight Manifestations of Padmasambhava.