Takin Festival will be held every year in Gasa to showcase Bhutan’s rich natural heritage, raise awareness on conservation of biodiversity, create avenues and strive towards financial sustainability of the park management, provide off-season ecotourism opportunities to the tourism sector, and provide supplemental income opportunities to the park residents, specifically the upland communities.
Jigme Dorji National Park (JDNP) is the second largest among the ten natural preserves in the country. It is closest to the country’s capital, Thimphu, and to the country’s international airport at Paro. 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.
Gasa Dzongkhag is located in the north western part of Bhutan. It is the least populated district in the country, but the richest in terms of medicinal plants and temperate biodiversity. The district is famous for having many hot springs and medicinal baths. It is also declared as an organic district. Gasa is also well known for the popular Bhutanese folklore of Gasa Lamai Singye and Changyul Bhumoi Galem which depicts the tragic love story equivalent to that of the famous Shakespearean play, Romeo and Juliet. Gasa Lamai Singye, who is Bhutanese equivalent of Romeo, was serving as a servant to the abode of monastic body in Gasa when Galem (equivalent of Juliet) was helping her parents with farm works in her village of Changyuel in Punakha. The story ended with Galem committing suicide when her parents vehemently objected to her idea of marrying Singye.
During the Takin Fair in Gasa, watch skilled nomadic herders as they weave tents, blankets, rugs and bags from raw material culled by shearing yaks. You might also like the demonstrations of local cane work tradition, which includes the much photographed conical hats that are a specialty of the region. Enjoy rich meals derived from yak meat and dairy, and try chugos, the dried and hardened cubes of yak cheese that are a popular snack. Learn about some of the environmental issues gripping the region and the world from the Wildlife. Conservation Division’s information booth, or catch a high altitude screening of a documentary film about the Takins and the issues undermining their survival and habitat. Become the natural observer of Bhutan’s little-known national animal at Gathana (where the tourist will be making short treks from Damji under Gasa Dzongkhag) as you track their salt licks and watch their mating and social behavior. Enjoy a medicinal hot spring bath in Gasa.
The Takin Festival will be held annually from 21st to 23rd February.