The annual nomads’ festival is a three day event held in the proposed park headquarters of the Wangchuck Centennial Park. Nagsepel village, where the festival is held annually is located about 22 kms from the nearest Bumthang town, Chamkhar.
On 8th March, 2011Lyonpo Dr Pema Gyamtsho, Minister for Agriculture and Forests and the National Council Chairperson, Namgay Penjore graced the occasion amidst the presence of Members of Parliament from the park districts, government and non-government officials, tourists, Nagsephel and its adjoining village communities. Also in attendance were about a hundred highlanders from eight districts of Haa, Paro, Thimphu, Gasa, Wangduephodrang, Bumthang, Trashiyangtse and Trashigang.
The main aim behind hosting such a festival was to spread awareness and education on environmental conservation. Majority of the park residents are dependent on forest resources for their livelihood, for instance a major chuck of their household income comes from cordyceps auctioning. With the legation of the collection of the fungi in 2004, there has been a substantial increase in unsustainable harvest practices. To avoid a worst case scenario, forest and park officials have been using this platform to spread awareness. It was also an opportunity to talk about other pertinent issues of grave concern like waste water and forest resources management. Through pictorial representations and dialogue, officials gave residents ideas and suggestions on how one can take ideal responsibility of their forests.
“Dependence on cordyceps alone is alone not sustainable. Other opportunities like eco-tourism will flourish if you need maintain your environment and preserve your culture” Lyonpo Dr Pema Gyamtsho said while addressing the audience.
During the next two days, participants and visitors alike were kept engaged with constant cultural shows, interactive games, and a series of informative knowledge sharing programs like quizzes, documentary shows etc. The festival was also an opportunity to earn some additional income as most of the highlanders had brought with them locally made products such bamboo products, weaves, cheese, ornaments etc for sale.