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12-08-2009, 04:04 AM
<img src="/img/t/tour/2336/bhutan-festival-tours.jpg" alt="Bhutan Festival Tours" />Protected by the mighty Himalaya, the isolated kingdom of Bhutan is an unforgettable place to visit. The landscape is stunning, with steep forested hills and misty mountains rising from fast flowing rivers. However it's the fascinating culture that makes this country unique, boasting several colourful annual festivals.

At these festivals hundreds gather to see the monks, dressed in brightly coloured robes, perform ritual dances. For several days there are masked dances and prayer meetings, and a general carnival atmosphere prevails.
Bhutanese people celebrate different festivals like the Bhutanese New Year and other seasonal festivals like the summer solstice etc. But the most common festival is known as Tshechu. It is in fact a religious festival, and is celebrated all over Bhutan, usually after the end of the harvest season. The Thimphu Tshechu in the capital of Bhutan is held in September.
The main highlight of the Tshechu is the performance of the masked dances by the monks. There are many kinds of maksed dances all involving different moves, masks and costumes. All of them special religious significances.
According to legend, all these dances appeared in the past Buddhist master's vision during their meditation. The steps and moves are strictly followed as it was performed in the past. Alteration of the steps is seen as sacrilegious and would not be attempted by any masked dance teacher.

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