The Jhomolhari Mountain Festival was conceived as a Snow Leopard festival with an aim to raise awareness on the importance of conserving the endangered cat species. The first Jhomolhari Mountain Festival was held in 2013, its goal persists as Bhutan intensifies efforts to conserve the elusive cat and their habitat in the country.

Lingzhi Dungkhag organised the 6th Jhomolhari Mountain Festival from Octobe14-15 with the theme “Celebrating Living in Harmony with Ghost of High Mountains”.

Solitary, almost silent and majestically beautiful, the snow leopard is one the most enigmatic cats. It is also one of the rarest and threatened.

The Jhomolhari Mountain Festival is particularly aimed at conserving snow leopards in the mountains of Soe, Naro, Lingzhi in Thimphu and Yaktsa and Nubri villages of Tsentok Gewog in Paro.

The predator is often hunted for its fur, bones and organs. Human-wildlife is another threat to its existence. The festival aims to raise awareness on the importance of coexistence. Human-wildlife conflict where the farmers kill wild predators in retaliation to livestock deaths and crop destruction they cause threatens their existence.

In 2017 when the survery of the snow leopard population was carried, there were 96 snow leopards found in Bhutan. And Lingzhi has highest number of the population of the snow leopard as per the survery in 2016. The presence of snow leopard indicates that Bhutan’s high-mountain eco-system is healthy.

The Jhomolhari Mountain Festival also brings together the people of Lingzhi, Soe and Tsentok Gewog of Paro. The festival is a visual treat with various cultural performances native to these gewogs on display.The two-day festival is emerging to be a tourist attraction as well. It also draws locals.

Source: BBS