Royal Highland Festival – Celebrating Bhutan

The festival this year is on the 23rd and 24th of October, 2022. Everyone is invited for this festival. Upon arrival at Laya, organizers will guide you to different farm houses. You have just one time every year to experience this

2016 was a very auspicious year for Bhutan as the nation celebrated three very significant occasions. The year saw Drukyul blessed with her future with the birth of His Royal Highness Gyalsey Jigme Namgyel Wangchuck. It was also the 400th year of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel’s arrival in Bhutan and the Rabjung (60 years cycle) birth year of Guru Rimpoche.

From several events that Bhutan celebrated and hosted that year, one was the Royal Highland Festival, which was introduced on October 16, 2016. The significance of the festival reverberates in the fact that it began on a year, when three historic events converged. While the festival shares the beauty and the wonders of Gasa dzongkhag through its nature, history and its age old tradition and culture, its significance can be seen from different prisms.

The festival celebrates Bhutan’s cultural diversity that has stood the test of time, as visitors witness the traditional offering of Buelwa (Gift offering) with Auley – traditional epic poem/song recitation tradition that originated from the days of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel.

Thus, from another lens, the festival is an occasion where the nation showcases its respect and reverence to one of Bhutan’s most historic figures – Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. It is also an event reflecting how Bhutan has struck a chord between development and preservation. Apart from a feast of Bhutan’s pristine environment and unadulterated culture, visitors can see local based yak products to highland technology in agriculture, medicinal herbs, plants and others.

Further, the festival acknowledges the roles that people living in the highlands play as custodians and guardians of our frontiers. It can be called as a festival, where people of Bhutan offer their gratitude to our highlanders.

In short, the festival is in many ways a celebration of Bhutan, woven within the beauty of Gasa dzongkhag, its culture and the people.