Dochula Pass, situated between Thimphu and Punakha, is adorned with 108 memorial chortens, known as “Druk Wangyal Chortens,” built by Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the eldest Queen Mother of Bhutan. Just above the pass, there’s an open courtyard where the Druk Wangyel Festival takes place. This unique festival is performed by the Royal Bhutan Army, a departure from the usual involvement of monks or laypeople. Established in 2011, it commemorates the victory of the Fourth Druk Gyelpo and the armed forces in 2003. Soldiers receive three months of training in folk and mask dances preparing for the festival.
The festival commences at 0900 and concludes at 1615, paying homage to the wise leadership of His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the Fourth King of Bhutan. It also celebrates the ongoing dedication of the Royal Bhutan Army to safeguard the nation’s sovereignty and stability. This exceptional Tshechu unfolds against the backdrop of the majestic Jigme Singye Wangchuck mountain range, with a composition by Dasho Karma Ura for the occasion. This is a must-experience event.