Monday, October 26, 2015

Rhododendrons festival, a tribute to the fourth Monarch
Tanden Zangmo/Thimphu

Bhutan today is still among the top biodiversity hotspots in the world and major chunk of the land is still under forest due to the farsighted vision of His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo Jigme Singye Wangchuk.
Hence the third Rhododendron festival is the best tribute to His Majesty the fourth Druk Gyalpo who has done so much for the forests and nature conservation.
“this little effort from us is a tribute to what he has done”
Rhododendron locally known as Etho Metho is a woody flowering plant and Bhutan today is home for over 40 species of rhododendron which among four are known to be endemic like R.Kesangiae named in honor of Her majestry The Royal Grandmother of Bhutan Ashi Kesang Choden.
Recognizing the crucial part the communities residing within the park plays in its management, the Royal Botanical Park at Lamperi will bring communities such as Chang, Kawang and Dagala gewog under Thimphu and Toeb gewog under Punakha Dzongkhag together in celebrating the third annual Rhododendron festival for three days from today (18 April).
During the three day long festival the park would actively engage the community members in all sphere of the festival and the festival would feature the rhododendron garden walk and exhibition as a mark of respect to the fourth Druk Gyalpo.
This is done through engaging the community members in staging various cultural and entertainment programme.
In addition, the community members will also put up food and beverage stalls so that it provides them avenue to generate income. This, according to the park official, is to make the people realize that they can derive benefits from park. “Most think that establishment of park in their areas is more of imposition.” Imposition, in terms of restricting the extraction of forests and natural resources.
So, such festival is 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 views and opinion.
Besides, several other representatives will speak to the gathering and pass on crucial messages of the importance of park management.
Free talks by different stakeholders will also be delivered. Further, numerous audio-visual documentaries will be screened. All this, the park official said is their 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 while others can join in horse riding. The visitors can also participate and enjoy playing variety of traditional Bhutanese games.       
The festival is organized at Royal Botanical Park with support from Department of Forests and Park Services (DoFPS), Tourism Council of Bhutan and World Wildlife Fund – Bhutan and 60th Birthday Celebration Committee, Royal Government of Bhutan.
The Royal Botanical Park which is spread over an area of 47 sq. mile incredibly 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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