Annual Nomads’ Festival brings highlanders together
The 3rd annual Nomads’ Festival of Wangchuck Centennial Park was held from 23-25th March, 2012 at Nasiphel village in Bumthang with the theme “Celebrating bio-cultural heritage of the Nomads”. The festival was formally inaugurated by Dungtsho Karma Wangchuk, Member of Parliament. It was sponsored by Tourism Council of Bhutan and WWF.
Highlanders from Ha, Paro, Wangdue, Bumthang, Trashiyangtse, Gasa and Thimphu districts participated in the festival. Besides them, local communities, enthusiastic tourists, government & non-government officials also joined the festive occasion. At the festival, there were stalls that sold numerous household wares; some served scrumptious Bumthang cuisines while others entertained crowds with traditional games and sports including Soksum, Zigdum and Pungdo. Stalls were also set up by different divisions of the Ministry of Agriculture & Forests to provide insightful knowledge to visitors. Visitors wanting to experience village life were able to do so in farm houses established with assistance from Wangchuck Centennial Park.
Besides bringing monetary benefits to the highlanders and local businesses the Festival aimed to:
- Acknowledge, reinforce and value the special role played by highlanders in the conservation of bio cultural heritage of Bhutan;
- Provide a platform for nomads to showcase their transhumance practice, culture and traditions , and also provide an avenue for interaction with other fellow Bhutanese;
- Promote and establish the idea of linkage between ecotourism and conservation;
- Disseminate information to nomads on the values of environment conservation,
- Provide scope for developing market for livestock and its products;
- Showcase economically viable farm technologies, programs and entrepreneurial knowledge.
WWF has been co-managing the park together with the royal government since its inception in 2008.
Article contributed by Netra Binod, Co-manager, Wangchuck Centennial Park, WWF Bhutan