Punakha Drubchen & Tsechu
Five day Puna Drubchen is followed by three-day Punakha Tsechu. Puna Drubchen is an annual festival introduced by Zhabdrung to commemorate the victories over the Tibetans. As for the Punakha Tshechu, it was introduced in 2005, in keeping with Dzong and monastic traditions of Bhutan and upon request of the public. The annual Dromche or drubchen of Punakha is unusual because of its dramatic recreation of a 17th century battle scene, in which the Tibetan armies invade Bhutan to seize Bhutan’s most precious relic, the Ranjung Kharsapani, a self created image of Chenrizing. It is said that Shabdrung concocted an elaborate ceremony in which he pretended to throw the relic into the Mochu River, after which the disappointed Tibetan withdrew. During the course of the festival, a procession of monks led by the head abbot Jekhenpo proceeds to the river, where he throws a handful of oranges symbolizing the relic. During the festival, the ‘pazaps’ or local militia men, dressed in battle colorful battle gear ride horse and showcase a battle scene. At the end of the festival, there is a display of giant Thangkha with images of Zhabdrung Nawang Namgyal.