Early each spring, when the winter snows still cover peaks elsewhere in Bhutan, the subtropical Punakha Valley basks in its customary warmth. With six straight days of festivities falling in the second lunar month, the intensity of the Punakha Drupchen gives way immediately to the more celebratory three-day Punakha Tsechu.
Punakha Tsechu was established in 2005 to help preserve Buddhist teachings and to celebrate the deeds of Bhutan's great unifier and leader, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The tsechu features masked chham dances and folk dances. Visitors trek down from the highlands to Punakha from as far away as Gasa and Laya to join the tsechu, which for many is the main highlight of a long, cold winter.