Re: Festivals in October
Hi, I just visited this festival this year, 30 Oct 2012. I would say this festival is rather special and not the usual masked dances festivals you will attend in any part of the world.
My first trip to Bhutan was in March 2011 for the Paro festival. I fell in love with this country because of its cultural, friendly people and beautiful sceneries. Because of this, I decided to visit Bhutan again this year to visit this Jambay Lhakhang Festival in Bumthang.
During the day, you will witness the masked dances festival at the Jambay Lhakhang. The highlight is the midnight dance with 16 naked man around the bonfire. In the 8th century, in order to subdue evils which prevented the construction of this temple, the villagers danced nakedly in front of the evils to distract them. The great treasure discoverer, Tertoen Dorji Lingpa, managed to subdue the demons. Today, all the local bhutanese believe by attending the festival, the naked dance will blessed them with good luck.
This festival is very interesting to me. The local and foreigners enjoyed the festival by sharing laughters and comments on the dancers. But one thing to take note. In autumn, Bumthang is very cold during the night. The temperature can drop down to minus 2/3 degree celsius. You need to wear warm enough to endure the cold weather for at least one hour. Personally, I enjoyed it but not the cold. I didn't wear warm enough. Hence, I didn't finish watching the festival.
I would strongly recommend you to visit Bhutan and this festival. However, you need to book the tour at least 4/5 months before the festival as hotels and flights are very hard to reserve during the festivals.
The festival dates are tentatively from 18 Oct 2013 to 22 Oct 2013 from Tourism Council of Bhutan. Website : tourism.gov.bt/what-to-do/ts.... The dates might change. Hence, I would suggest you to confirm you trip about 4/5 months before October, in case there might be changes.
Although the festival is about 5 days, the program is the same everyday. You need only 12 days tour just to visit Western and Central Bhutan, including this festival. If you want a complete tour of Bhutan, you need at least 16 days tour, flying in via Paro Aiport, exit via Samdrup Jongkhar to Guwahati Aiport in India. If not, a minimium 18 days tour is necessary if you want to fly in via Paro Airport and leave via Paro Airport.
Not sure whether are you going through your local agency or directly from local bhutanese agency. For my second trip, I booked my tour via with the local bhutanese agency. I believe it might be slightly cheaper than booking through your local agency.
If you have intentions to book directly with a local bhutanese agency, you can try Legendary Bhutan Tours & Treks (website : http://www.legendarybhutan.bt/). My guide and driver gave us very good services and this add to good experience with Bhutan.
Hope this is useful to you.
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