Set in the winter Capital of Bhutan, the Drupchen at the Punakha Dzong is the apotheosis of the famous victory won by Shabrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of the Bhutanese state, in the 17th C.
The drama unfolding at the Drupchen portrays the Tibetan invading forces seeking to reclaim the national relic relic, the Ranjung Kharsapani, which was brought to Bhutan by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Subsequent events reveal the victory of the Bhutanese people over the Tibetans, and to commemorate this famous victory, the Punakha Drupchen is said to have been initiated by the Shabdrung.
The Punakha Drubchen, with its allegorical message of the good triumphing over the bad and negative forces, is a unique festival because it hosts a dramatic recreation of the scene from the 17th century battle with Tibetan army. The ‘pazaps’ or local militia men, dress in traditional battle gear and reenact the ancient battle scene.
The Punakha Tshechu, an equally spiritual event glorifying the achievements of Guru Rimpoche , was initiated back in 1985 in order to better preserve Buddhist teachings and keep alive the noble deeds of the great tantric master.