21 February, Gasa: ‘Gasa Dzongkhag unlike other Dzongkhags is limited to industrial development and therefore we must promote eco-tourism in Gasa’ said Dasho Dzongdag, Gasa Dzongkhag during the opening of the fourth Takin Festival held on 21 February coinciding with the birth anniversary of His Majesty the King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck.
The festival set within Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP) was organised mainly to create avenues and strive towards financial sustainability by providing off-season ecotourism opportunities to the tourism sector and provide supplemental income opportunities to the highland communities. The festival which is organised every year is also an opportunity to raise awareness on the conservation of Takin, the national animal and to showcase Bhutan’s rich natural heritage.
Jigme Dorji National Park is the second largest national preserve in the country. The park encompasses areas that are rich in temperate biodiversity and medicinal plants. The park spans across five dzongkhags of which almost all of Gasa Dzongkhag is encompassed. Offering spectacular Himalayan vistas of awe-inspiring scenic beauties and enchanted mix of cultural and wildlife safaris, JDNP is considered a conservation heritage of nature and culture in harmony.
Students of Bjishong Middle Secondary School enacted a short skit on the downfall of poaching to create awareness on the need to protect Takin and their habitat. In addition, various cultural programs were also showcased. Guests were also taken on an excursion through Tashithang-kabina trail for Takin sighting.
The Bhutan Takin (Budorcas taxicolor whitei) is a vulnerable subspecies of the Takin native to Bhutan, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, and western China. The mythology of its origin involves the magical power of Lam Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529) or the “Divine Madman.” During a visit to Bhutan, a group of devotees requested the Lam to perform a miracle. He asked them to serve him a cow and a goat for lunch. After the sumptuous meal, he placed the goat’s head on the cow’s body and commanded the skeletal amalgam to rise up and graze on the lush mountains.
The fourth annual Takin Festival was organised by Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP) in collaboration with Nature Recreation and Ecotourism Division (NRED), Toursim Council of Bhutan (TCB) and Gasa Dzongkhag.
Officials from Gasa Dzongkhag administration, Tourism Council of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji National Park, Ministry of Agriculture and Forests, teachers and students of Bjishong Middle Secondary School, Gups and Mangmis of Gasa Dzongkhag and local communities were at the festival.
Reported by: Tandin Dorji, ICS
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