The Royal Highlander festival was first introduced on 16th Of October in 2016 to mark the celebration of the birth of HRH the Gyalsey; 400 years of Shabdrung Rimpoche and the Rabjung (60 years cycle) birth year of Guru Rimpoche. The Royal Highlander festival shares the beauty and the wonders of Gasa Dzongkhag through its nature, history and its age old tradition and culture, to share Gasa’s vision of “Good to Great Gasa” and to finally share all theses authenticity and the simplicity of the life of the Highlanders with our guests.
The festival takes place at an altitude of 3800 metres above the sea level. Getting up there is not so easy as well, especially for those who are not much of a hiker. Visitors have to undertake a two-day journey on foot from the road point in Koina. However, these factors, seemingly discouraging, are perhaps what make the festival more charming.
It offers the visitors an opportunity to witness first-hand and also immerse into the lifestyle, culture and tradition of the highlanders. Highlanders from eight districts set up stalls showcasing various products, including arts and crafts, unique to their community.
During the festival, visitors can witness The traditional offering of Buelwa (Gift offering) with Auley (traditional epic poem/song recitation tradition originated from Zhabdrung Rinpoche days) that begun during Zhabdrung Rinpoche’s reign in showing loyalty and respect by the community of Laya is being offered for dynamic and visionary leadership of our successive monarchs.
The highlanders largely depend on yak farming but its survival is under threat from other forms of livelihood making their way into the remote highland community. The festival, therefore, aims at ensuring the highlanders retain their old ways of life and livelihood.
Variety of cultural programs will be performed by Layaps. The various competitions on highland animals including the Yaks, horses and Mastiffs will be held and also competition such as traditional songs and dances will be held.
The festival consists of series of stalls ranging from local based yak produce to highland technology, highland agriculture technology, medicinal herbs & plants and others.