Bhutan to organize first nomadic festival

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The first three-day nomadic festival will be held at Wangchuck Centennial Park in Bumthang starting December 26.

Nomads from all over Bhutan will come together dressed in their attires representing their regions and exchange their cultures and traditions.

Hundreds of nomads from Haa, Paro (Soi Yaksa), Thimphu (Naro), Gasa (Laya), Wangduephodrang (Sephu), Bumthang (Chhokhor, Tang, Shingkhar), Trashiyangtse (Bomdeling) and Trashigang (Merak and Sakten)will be participating.

During the three-day festival, various activities like awareness campaign on post-harvest of cordyceps, food safety and hygiene, yak and horse riding competition, yak bull lassoing, yak calf weight guessing and yak milking will be carried out. Traditional sports like dego, khuru, soksum and archery along with traditional songs and dances will be played.

Stalls selling yak products, yak and horse saddle parts, transport bags, unique cuisines from Lingzhi, Laya, Lunana, Bumthang, Bumdeling and Sakteng will also be on display.

Since tourism industry is the second largest revenue generator of Bhutan, this is an effort to diversify packages offered to the tourists. It will ensure that the benefits from tourism reach a wider circle of stakeholders not defying the policy of high value, low volume tourism.

With this festival, three major objectives would be fulfilled. First, at the national level, it would add diverse tourist experiences and services offered by Bhutan’s tourism industry distributing the cost and benefit of tourists spatially and temporarily during off seasons. This will enable Bhutan to compete successfully with other tourist destinations across the globe.

Second, at local level, it would supplement income for nomads through sale of livestock products, for tourist companies and local hoteliers from lodging, food and services for the locals as well as foreign visitors.

Third, it would be able to showcase nomadic culture and heritage, give exposure to monetary-based business, promote income generation opportunities, take stock of nomadic socio-economic progress and development situation and provide platforms to bring together all the highland farmers of different backgrounds to share their culture, tradition and experiences. “We have our nomadic brothers and sisters in alpine regions next to the high water towers which are the water sources of rivers in our country.

Therefore, it is important for us to educate the nomadic population on the importance of biodiversity conservation particularly on fragile alpine ecosystems and at the same time it is also important to understand and appreciate the importance of co-existence of rich nomadic culture and pristine alpine ecosystems,” said the Chief Forestry Officer of Wangchuck Centennial Park ,Damber Singh Rai.

The festival will end on December 28.

Source: Bhutan Observer

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