23 February, Bumthang: “This whole new initiative of tourism promotion has encouraged the people in tourism activity, we lack avenues for income generation and this festival has opened many avenues especially in community based tourism” said Gup Thinley Namgyel, Tang Gewog, Bumthang.
This annual gathering of Bhutan’s nomadic highlanders at the Nomads Festival brings together the herders of the northeastern and northwestern Himalayan frontiers in an unforgettable celebration of their unique culture and traditions. The festival is an opportunity to showcase the diverse cultural mores, lifestyles, cuisines and indigenous products.
Speaking at the fifth Nomads Festival held at Tang Gewog, Dasho Dzongdag, Bumthang Dzongkhag shared that this festival is a platform for commoners to comprehend the imperative roles played by the nomads in beefing up border security along international frontiers and for the nomads to apprise themselves of latest scientific advancements in the field of agriculture and livestock farming.
Besides these main objectives, nomads’ festival serves as an avenue for tourism promotion, allaying community poverty by way of home stay provision to tourists and fun galore. The Nomads’ festival showcased tradition and culture of the nomads including dairy products, handicrafts, weaves, and nomadic way of life. It also had other major attractions like traditional games-soksum, degor, pungdo, zigdum, khuru, and dances by the Nomads’ and local community besides hordes of Bumthang cuisines like Zambuli, khuli, puta, pin etc.
“Exhibiting the nomad heritage also allows one to take stock of the social and economic condition in each of the respective area. It provides a forum for the sharing of ideas and innovations between cultures that might be experiencing similar obstacles, but would otherwise never meet”, said the Park Manager, WCP.
The festival was held within encompasses of Wangchuck Centennial Park (WCP), the largest protected area in the country. It is source to headwaters of four major river systems: Punatsang chu, Mangde chu, Chamkhar chu and Kuri chu. It represents the middle Himalayan ecological biomes, ranging from blue pine forests to alpine meadows, over an altitude of 2,500 to 5,100 meters. The park is home to 244 species of vascular plants, 23 species of large mammals and 134 bird species. Charismatic wildlife species such as the Royal Bengal Tiger, Snow leopard , Wolf , Takin and Himalayan Black bear are found in the park.
The fifth annual Nomads Festival was organised by Wangchuck Centennial Park (WCP) in collaboration with Toursim Council of Bhutan (TCB) and Tang Gewog, Bumthang.
Reported by: Tandin Dorji, ICS
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