Rhododendron festival in tribute to the Fourth King

The 3-day Rhododendron Festival at the Royal Botanical Park at Lamperi, in tribute to His Majesty the Fourth King Jigme Singye Wangchuck, will start on April 18.

The festival is keeping in mind that the Fourth Druk Gyalpo is the foremost nature conservationist, and under His Majesty’s vision, Bhutan has conserved its pristine nature and environment.

Rhododendrons, locally known as Etho Metho, are a woody flowering plant. There are over 48 kinds of rhododendron with four endemic ones. The Royal Botanical Park is spread over an area of 47 sq mile and 46 kinds of rhododendron are found in the park.

The festival brings together the crucial communities residing within the park areas, like Chang, Kawang and Dagala gewog under Thimphu along with the Toeb gewog under Punakha.

The community members are actively engaged in all aspects of the festival, such as staging the various cultural and entertainment programs, like the rhododendron garden walk and exhibition, as a mark of respect to the Fourth Druk Gyalpo.

In addition, the community members will also put up food and beverage stalls enabling them to earn an income. This, according to the park official, is to make the people realize that they can derive benefits from the park.

“Most think that the establishment of parks in their area is more of an imposition,” said the organizers of the festival, adding that the communities had earlier expressed that establishing the park posed a restriction for extracting natural resources from the forest. The park officials said the festival will help clear such misconceptions as well.

The festival will also bring together the stakeholders engaged in park management.

Further, numerous audio-visual documentaries will be screened to provide education and awareness on the park. In addition, the visitors wishing to know more about the park will also be entertained with cultural shows and skits, and given the opportunity to freely interact with the park experts.

The Royal Botanical Park is also known for its prominent walking trails and camp sites. The Serichu nature trail runs through virgin and undisturbed parts of the park where the trekkers are enveloped with the scent of the flora and the freshness of the forest air, and surrounded with the melody of many species of birds chirping.

The visitors can also go boating in Baritsho (lake) while others can join in horse riding activity. The visitors can also participate in and enjoy the variety of traditional Bhutanese games.

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