Royal Highland Festival Bhutan
Bhutan Royal Highland Festival (RHF)
The Royal Highland Festival was initiated under the Royal command of the King of Bhutan, by the Royal Government of Bhutan in the year 2016 to help the nomads and highlanders of the Laya region. It’s an occasion to show case the culture of these nomads and support them to have a better life.
Hence then, the Royal Highland Festival is held every year during the month of October at the high plateau of Laya.
Laya lies at 4200 meters altitude and is home to the nomads of Western Bhutan. Whole of the year these nomads rear their Yaks for sustenance but come October and it festival time and this festival brings people from all over Bhutan to interact and enjoy the hospitality of the Layaps, the highlanders of Bhutan.
During this festival one can witness and partake in the local dances, enjoy the local foods, there is the strong man and strong women competition, best Mastiff dog competition, horse riding competition, ride the Yaks, enjoy the yak hair weaves by nomads which you could buy and take back as souvenir, and of course one can never miss the beauty of the Laya region and its Pristine environment.
Apart from the festivities, the District organizes TWO Runs, one is the SNOWMAN RUN and the other is the LAYA RUN.
SNOWMAN RUN: This run is a part of the Royal Highland Festival. It is a very challenging two days race of 53 kms of running. The race starts at the GASA Tshachu ( Gasa Hot spring) which is at 2,231 above sea level and ends at the Laya plateau at 4,200 meters. Runners will cross several passes and pass by near mountain Rivers and streams and is one of the most beautiful runs.
Locals and tourists challenge their endurance level on this run. If one is a professional runner or athlete, this is one run in the world that you should not miss out on cause this is a run against nature and nature here includes the fast and strong Laya men and women who run these terrains like a walk in the park for all of their lives they have been walking the mountains for their livelihood. And it’s unimaginable but true that they run in their rubber plastic boots as they almost do not know how to run in a proper running shoes. So come challenge the unbeaten ones in Bhutan.
LAYA RUN: This is part of the Royal Highland Festival. It is a One Day race of 25kms. The race starts at Gasa and ends in Langothang ground in Laya. Usually it takes about 8 hours walk to complete this stretch of the trek but runners in Bhutan have completed this route in just under Two hours. The locals and tourists alike sign up for this race as it is doable and not very challenging as the Snowman Run.
The Royal Highland Festival is getting very popular with the locals of Bhutan and tourists alike, as it is an entirely different and once in a life time experience where one gets to share the space with the nomads of Laya with such festivities and at such an altitude.
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