National situational update on COVID-19
Data as of 13th May 2020

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For Global situation update :…/novel-coronavirus-…/situation-reports/

Definition of transmission type:

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-Large numbers of cases not link-able to transmission chains
-Large numbers of cases from sentinel lab surveillance
-Multiple unrelated clusters in several areas of the country/territory/area

Stay Informed, Stay Safe!

Prime Minister’s Office – PMO, Bhutan
Sowai Lyonpo
Dechen Wangmo

The Jambay Lhakhang, situated in Bumthang and en route to the Kurjie Lhakhang, is the venue for Bhutan’s Naked Festival. A quick ten-minute drive from Chamkhar town leads to this ancient temple, one of Bhutan’s oldest.

Dating back to the 7th century AD, this temple was established by Songtsen Gampo, a Tibetan King. Legend has it that the king aimed to construct 108 temples known as Thadhul-Yangdhul in a day to pacify a residing demoness in the Himalayas. Jambay Lhakhang is one of only two of these 108 temples in Bhutan, with the second being Kichu Lhakhang in Paro, both built on the same auspicious day.

Guru Rimpoche, a revered figure, visited the site numerous times, acknowledging its profound sanctity. In the 8th century AD, Chakhar Gyab, the king of Bumthang’s Iron Castle, renovated the temple.

The temple’s history further includes the construction of the Dus Kyi Khorlo (Kala Chakra – Wheel of Time) by the first king of Bhutan, Gongsa Ugyen Wangchuck. This was in commemoration of his victory over rivals Phuntsho Dorji of Punakha and Alu Dorji of Thimphu following the battle of Changlimithang in 1885. Additionally, Ashi Wangmo, the younger sister of Bhutan’s second king, erected the Chorten Lhakhang.

Among its prized relics is the statue of the future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya), which lends its name to the present temple. Moreover, more than one hundred statues of the gods of Kalachakra, crafted by the first king in 1887, grace the Lhakhang.

Hosting the mesmerizing Jambay Lhakhang Drup, a five-day festival (verify dates with your tour operator), this temple is a focal point. The festival’s pinnacle is the evening fire ritual, drawing crowds who gather to witness the captivating and ritualistic naked dance.

Tentative Dates:

JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP Jambay Lhakhang, Choekhor, BUMTHANG: 15th November to 18th November 2024.

One of the biggest festivals in the country is the Thimphu Tshechu. This Thimphu festival tour is held in the capital city for three days beginning on the 10th day of the 8th month of the lunar calendar. This Tshechu is witnessed by thousands of people many of which travel from neighboring Dzongkhags (districts) to attend the festivities. The actual Tshechu is preceded by days and nights of prayer and rituals to invoke the gods.

When it was initiated by the 4th Desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867 the Tshechu consisted of only a few dances being performed strictly by monks. These were the Zhana chham and the Zhana Nga chham (Dances of the 21 Black Hats), Durdag (Dance of the Lords of the Cremation Ground), and the Tungam chham (Dance of the Terrifying Deities).

The Thimphu Tshechu changed in the 1950s, when the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks). These additions added color and variation to the festival without compromising its spiritual significance. Mask dances like the Guru Tshengye (Eight Manifestations of Guru), Shaw Shachi (Dance of the Stags) are enjoyed because they are similar to stage-theater.

Equally important are the Atsaras, who are more than just mere clowns. The Atsaras are the dupthobs (acharyas), who provide protection. The dances and the jesting of the Atsaras are believed to entice evil forces and prevent them from causing harm during Tshechus. Modern Atsaras also perform short skits to disseminate health and social awareness messages.

To farmers, the Tshechu is also seen as a break from farm life. It’s an occasion to celebrate, receive blessings and pray for health and happiness.

Besides the annual three-day Tshechu, Thimphu also celebrates a one-day festival known as the Thimphu Dromchoe. The day-long festival dates back to the 17th century. It was first introduced by Kuenga Gyeltshen in 1710, who was recognized as the reincarnation of Jampel Dorji, son of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyel. The dromchoe is celebrated 3 days before the Thimphu Tshechu.

The Dromchoe showcases the sacred dances dedicated to the chief protective deity of Bhutan, Palden Lhamo. Legend has it, that the deity Pelden Lhamo appeared before Kuenga Gyeltshen and performed the dances while he was in meditation. Based on these dances, Kuenga Gyaltshen initiated the Dromchoe.

Tentative Dates:

THIMPHU DRUBCHEN: 08th -10th Sept 2024

THIMPHU TSHECHU: 13th – 15th Sept 2024

Punakha, situated in the western part of Bhutan, serves as the winter residence of the Je Khenpo, Bhutan’s Chief Abbot, and holds immense historical significance dating back to the era of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the 17th century.

Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel is celebrated as the unifier of Bhutan, credited with shaping the distinct cultural identity that sets Bhutan apart globally.

In the 17th century, Bhutan faced multiple invasions by Tibetan forces aiming to seize the revered relic, the Ranjung Kharsapani. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel led the Bhutanese to victory against the Tibetans, commemorating this triumph by initiating the Punakha Drubchen. Ever since, the Punakha Drubchen (also known as Puna Drubchen) has evolved into an annual festival in Punakha Dzongkhag.

This festival stands out due to its vivid reenactment of the 17th-century battle with the Tibetan army. Local militiamen, known as pazap, don traditional battle attire, recreating the historic confrontation. This reenactment pays homage to the time when men from the eight Tshogchens (great village blocks) of Thimphu rallied to expel the invading forces, bringing about a phase of newfound internal peace and stability in the country.

In 2005, responding to appeals from the Punakha District Administration and locals to preserve Buddhist teachings and honor Zhabdrung Rimpoche’s noble deeds, the 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra and then Home Minister His Excellency Lyonpo Jigme Yoedzer Thinley introduced the Punakha Tshechu.

Both the Punakha Drubchen and Punakha Tshechu play a crucial role in conserving Bhutan’s rich culture and traditions. These festivals not only serve as a platform for devout Buddhists to engage in prayer and pilgrimage but also showcase the profound heritage of Bhutan, leaving a lasting impression on both Bhutanese citizens and tourists visiting the country.

The Paro Festival, an annual event held every spring, stands as one of the most vibrant and culturally significant gatherings in Paro Dzongkhag (district).

A central highlight of the festival is the Tsehchu, drawing crowds from neighboring districts who eagerly participate in its festivities. As the celebration culminates on its final day, the monks present a magnificent display: the Guru Throngdel, a colossal embroidered painting showcased within the dzong. These Thongdrols represent exquisite examples of Buddhist artistry, captivating all who lay eyes upon them. They hold deep reverence, believed to possess the power to purify viewers of their sins with just a glimpse.

The Paro Fesatival is held every spring and is one of the most colorful and significant events in Paro Dzongkhag (district).

The Tsehchu is considered a major attraction and people travel from neighboring districts to participate in the festivity. Early in the morning on the last day of the celebration the monks display a gigantic thangkha (embroidered painting) , the Guru Throngdel, inside the dzong. Thongdrols are especially impressive examples of Buddhist art and never fail to amaze viewers. They are considered so sacred that simply seeing a Thongdrol is said to cleanse the viewer of sin.

Attentive Dates:

PARO TSHECHU  7th – 11th April, 2017.


SAARC Countries to improve regional tourism

The lack of connectivity and information sharing among the countries of South Asia, which hinders the development of tourism sector in the region, will be addressed by encouraging regional tourism among the countries. Lack of connectivity makes travelling difficult for tourists, which affects the tourism sector in South Asia region. President with South Asian Association Regional Corporation Chamber for Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI), Suraj Vaidya, said that South Asia is the least connected region in the world and the focus of the meeting has been to make travelling easier in the region.

“The aim is to make visa much easier for the south Asia region and make connections in different areas,” he added. It was pointed out that dis-connectivity in the region has resulted due to lack of cooperation between private sectors and government, and the political situations in the region.

It was discussed that to improve tourism sector in South Asia inter-regional tourism needs to improve which could be done by improving visa availability.

Afghanistan’s deputy minister of information and culture, Sayed Muzghan Mustafavi, said that there is an initiative to start e-visa in the SAARC nations. “We hope that in a year’s time, the religious visa will come through which is now under process,” he added.

It was recommended that to improve the relation in the region, tour packages such as Buddhist tour package aiming at multiple countries in the region could be started.

“We also have ‘Unleashing South Asia’ and 20 other projects which plans to make South Asia a tourist destination within and outside the region,” Suraj Vaidya said.

Chairperson of Pacific Asia Travel Association, Sarah Mathews, said that the region suffers from minimal information which limits the development. She added that the countries need to understand their target tourists and work towards it with proper resources such as visa and infrastructure. Spokesperson of Tourism Council of Bhutan, Damcho Rinzin, said that the recommendations made will be discussed. “The meeting has a huge potential. With the tourism connectivity, the countries will benefit with joint marketing space and exposure,” he added.

In South Asia, the tourism sector contributes 8.9 percent to the GDP. Consultant with United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Joseph George, said that the countries in the region have developed individually but the region as a whole still remains behind. He added that South Asia can improve by working together which will help the employment sector in large.

The 70th executive committee meeting of SAARC CCI discussed issues related to young entrepreneurs. It also aimed at making South Asia region one of the most preferred tourist destinations in the world among others.

The meeting began on July 23 and ended yesterday in Thimphu.

Phurpa Lhamo :


The year 2017 is a special occasion for the Kingdom of Bhutan and Australia as it marks 15 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries.

To commemorate this happy occasion, the Royal Government of Bhutan is pleased to present the “Bhutan – Australia Friendship Offer” to welcome all nationals of Australia to visit Bhutan in 2018.

What is the Bhutan – Australia Friendship Offer?

It is a one-time special package that is being offered to all nationals of Australia visiting Bhutan in June, July and August, 2018. The offer includes the following:

  1. Visitors may choose not to pay the all-inclusive mandatory minimum daily package rate of US$ 200 per person per night. Instead, they will pay only the government Sustainable Development Fee of US$ 65 per person per night.
  2. Visitors can avail discounted fare on Airlines.
  3. Visitors can avail up to 50 % discounts in partnering Hotels (See the list of hotels attached separately below).
  4. Visitors have flexibility / choice of services.
  5. Visitors do not have to pay the surcharge of US$ 40 per person per night and US$ 30 each for two persons.
  6. Special airport reception on arrival of the 1st Group

Terms and conditions:

  1. The offer is valid from 1st June 2018 to 31st August 2018.
  2. The offer is for the nationals of Australia only.
  3. Visitors should book their trip through a licensed Bhutanese tour operator.
  4. A one time visa fee of US$ 40 is applicable.

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