Black Mountain Festival to be held on September 27

Black Mountain Festival to be held on September 27

The second edition of Black Mountain Festival and Cycling Challenge will be held in the courtyard of Trongsa Dzong, known for its historical significance and rich biodiversity on September 27, 2023

“The Department of Tourism (DOT) is delighted to announce that the second edition of the Black Mountain Festival and Cycling Challenge will be held on September 27th, 2023 in the courtyard of the Trongsa Dzong. Located approximately five hours drive away from Thimphu, this event aims to highlight the breathtaking beauty and cultural significance of Trongsa district,” the DoT has said in a press release.

The Black Mountain Festival is designed to showcase the hidden treasures of Trongsa, promote local products, and boost the local economy. The festival includes a wide range of activities for guests which includes indigenous sports, stalls displaying various local products, cuisines, and farm machinery. An exclusive stall will be dedicated to the Monpa community, offering visitors a chance to intimately explore their unique culture and lifestyle. Furthermore, the visitors can also partake in other traditional activities such as alcohol brewing and stone milling while dressed in the Monpa costumes. According to an article by the European Online Journal of Natural and Social Sciences Monpas are aboriginal Bhutanese who inhabited the forests around Black Mountains in Bhutan. They lived their lives gathering food and materials from the forests, however, their livelihood activities are now shifting towards modern economy with coming of new settlements. Monpas are considered the country’s first inhabitants. Earlier studies said that the Monpas occupy Wangling, Jangbi and Phumzur villages under Langthil geog in Trongsa Dzongkhag, and Rukha village (locally known as Oalay and hence Oalaps) in Adha geog in Wangdi Dzongkhag. The former villages of Wangling, Jangbi and Phumzur have a population of about 261 with 40 households and the Rukha village has a population of about 108 with 12 households. The two Monpa community groups are not in direct contact with each other. Other pockets of Monpa communities within Bhutan include: Reti, about 20 km. north of Nabjikorphu;  Chungseng, about 10 km. from Surey; and Berti in Zhemgang, which is 15 km. from Tingtibi.

The festival will also have captivating cultural performances that celebrate the distinctive heritage of the region. An enthralling Mega-night will showcase the exceptional talents of Bhutan’s young artists, ensuring an enchanting night of entertainment.

For cycling enthusiasts, the festival offers ‘The Cycling Challenge’- an exhilarating competition that will be held on the same day. Participants can register for the challenge by visiting the following link.

Set against the backdrop of the Black Mountain, which offers panoramic views of the surrounding valleys, Trongsa Dzongkhag boasts a serene and unspoiled natural environment rich in biodiversity. Serving as the seat of Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, the district is home to a diverse array of species as well as endangered mammals and bird species, the DoT has said.

Trongsa holds immense historical significance in Bhutan’s heritage.  As the ancestral home of the Wangchuck dynasty, it played a pivotal role in country’s unification when Ugyen Wangchuck was crowned as the first hereditary King of Bhutan in Trongsa’s majestic Trongsa Dzong. Moreover there is a tradition where all the Bhutanese Kings are appointed as Trongsa Poenlop before ascending the throne, emphasizing its role in the country’s royal Lineage.

Furthermore, Trongsa Dzong itself is a symbol of historical and architectural importance, serving as a strategic fortress that overlooks the Mangdi Chuu river gorge and is strategically positioned along the only connecting route between the east and west of Bhutan.

Today, the Dzong remains an important administrative building, housing the headquarters of the Government of Trongsa District, while its aesthetic and magnificent traditional Bhutanese architecture continues to captivate visitors.

 “The annual Black Mountain Festival and Cycling Challenge, held in Trongsa offers a great opportunity for visitors to immerse themselves in the unique culture and traditions of the Trongsa residents. This event also provides an excellent opportunity for visitors to explore the diversity of the cultures and cuisines represented across the district. So, we are excited to welcome our international and local visitors alike to this year’s Black Mountain Festival and Cycling Challenge,” concluded Dorji Dhradhul, the Director General of the Department of Tourism.

The first-ever Black Mountain Festival ended on October 2, 2023 in Trongsa. It saw hundreds of residents from the five gewogs of Trongsa displaying various aspects of their lives and livelihoods. Organized by the Trongsa dzongkhag administration, the two-day festival displayed arts and crafts, food items, farm produce, authentic cultural items, lifestyle and flora in the dzongkhag. The festival was also to help locals sell their products and also an opportunity for the local shopkeepers to boost their sales.  

The Black Mountains is a mountain range in central Bhutan and is a sub−range of the Himalayan Range System. Locally the mountain range is known as Dungshing Gang which means the peaks of fir. Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park protects a large area of the Black Mountains and the Eastern Himalayan broadleaf forests ecoregion within them. It was originally named Black Mountains National Park.

Staff Reporter from Thimphu