Mongolian nomads to join the fourth nomads’ festival in Bumthang

Wangchuck Centennial Park, Bumthang.
Wangchuck Centennial Park, Bumthang.

A foreign group of nomads from the country of Mongolia in the north will join the fourth nomads’ festival held every year dedicated to the semi nomadic communities of the eight Dzongkhags of the country. This festival will bring together these communities and herders to showcase their varied cultures, traditions and experiences.

The semi nomads from Haa, Paro, Thimphu, Gasa, Wangduephodrang, Bumthang, Trashiyangtse and Trashigang participate annually in the event in Bumthang organized by the Wangchuck Centennial Park.

According to the Minister of Agriculture and Forests, Dr. Pema Gyamtsho, the Mongolian group has expressed their interest to join the nomad festival. He also said that the organizers expect the group to join the annual nomad festival in February next year.

The Ministry of Agriculture and Forests is in the process of working out invitations for a group of nomads from Mongolia. Such foreign group, according to an official of the ministry, will boost the morale of the counterpart in the country.

“Nomads have a sacred and indispensible duty of contributing towards sovereignty and border integrity of the Country by acting as a buffer zone at the bordering areas,” said a ministry official.

He added that this can be reinforced by encouraging them to continuously stay back taking care of their ancestral farmland. “Today, due to force of modernization and rural-urban migration, highland areas in the north of our country are slowly getting deserted. It is only the old people and senior members of the community who we can find”.

The government also has a policy to take education and other social amenities closer to them hoping that it will help retain the economically productive members of the family.

The festival encourages and brings together people from all sections of the society thus minimizing the social stigma attached to some sections of the society. Several stall exhibiting Renewable Natural Resources (RNR) technologies and information providing options and making farm activities more attractive to younger generations are also put up during the festival.

Official also said that in the backdrop of negative impacts of Climate Change, the northern pastoralists have an important role to play by shouldering their ‘natural responsibility’.

The festival every year is organized by the Ministry of Agriculture and Forests (MoAF) with financial support from the Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB).

The festival also aims to acknowledge, reinforce and value the special role played by the highland people in the conservation of bio cultural heritage of Bhutan, provide a platform for the nomads of different districts to showcase their transhumance practice (transfer of livestock from one grazing ground to another, as from lowlands to highlands, with the changing of seasons), foods, culture and traditions, and also provide them with an avenue for interaction with other fellow Bhutanese, promote the idea of linkage between ecotourism and conservation to boost the socioeconomic status of the nomads and provide tourists with the opportunity to experience the culture and traditions of rural Bhutan.

In addition, the festival also aims to disseminate information to the nomads on the values of conservation of flora and fauna, watershed management, economic development, animal and plant husbandry, provide avenue to the nomads to sell their livestock products; for local communities to supplement their income through home stays and catering services and for tour operators and local hoteliers from the hospitality services and showcase economically viable farm technologies, programs and entrepreneurial activities geared towards alleviation of rural poverty.

The festival celebrated every year from 23-25 March was held in Nasiphel; Chhokhortoe Bumthang last year with the theme “Celebrating Bio-cultural Heritage of the Nomads.”

However this year the annual nomad festival would be caught up due to the notice.

The festival is organized by Wangchuck Centennial Park with financial support from World Wildlife Fund ( WWF) Bhutan and Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB).

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