A befitting festival to honor rhododendrons in the country

The Royal Botanical Park at Lamperi shares its area with the communities of Chang, Kawang and Dagala gewogs under Thimphu and Toeb gewog under Punakha. The four gewogs are coming together again to celebrate the second annual Rhododendron Festival for three days from 18 to 20 April this year.

Having commenced yesterday, the festival will try to actively engage the community members in all sphere of the festival such as staging various cultural and entertainment programs.

In addition, the community members will also put up food and beverage stalls so that it provides them with an avenue to generate income. This, according to the park official, is to make the people realize that they can derive benefits from the park. “Most think that establishment of park in their areas is more of an imposition, in terms of restricting the extraction of forests and natural resources,” said the park official. Such festivals are also expected to clear such misconception.

The festival will also bring together almost all the stakeholders engaged in park management. Hence, during such congregation, they are expected to interact and share their views and opinions.

The Agriculture and Forests Minister, Yeshey Dorji, and other representatives will speak to the gathering and convey the crucial message on the importance of park management.

The park has also dedicated an area of the festival ground as ‘education and awareness village’ where they provide education and awareness on the park to the visitors. This is done through various means such as distribution of free brochures, pamphlets, banners and other educational materials.

Free talks by different stakeholders will also be delivered. Further, numerous audio-visual documentaries will be screened. All this, the park official said, is an effort to provide education and awareness about the park.

In addition, the visitors wishing to know more about the park is also entertained in the village and given the opportunity to freely interact with the park experts.

The Royal Botanical Park at Lamperi is also known for its prominent walking trails and camp sites. The trail such as Serichu nature trail runs through virgin and undisturbed part of the park where the trekkers get to smell the freshness of the forest floor with many species of birds chirping.

The visitors will also get to experience boating in Baritsho, a lake in the park, while others can join in horse riding fun. The visitors can also participate and enjoy playing a variety of traditional Bhutanese games.

The festival is organized with support from Nature Recreation and Ecotourism Division (NRED) under the Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS), Tourism Council of Bhutan and World Wildlife Fund – Bhutan.

The Royal Botanical Park which is spread over an area of 47 sq. mile and harbors over 46 species of rhododendrons which is two less of having all the 48 species of rhododendron found in the whole country.

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