Bhutan experienced one of the heaviest snowfalls in a decade

Email

On December 29, 2021, Bhutan experienced one of the heaviest snowfalls since Gasa’s record of 12cm in 2018.

A week of bone-chilling cloudy weather conditions later, Bhutan saw the season’s first snowfall on 29th December 2021 in the valleys of Thimphu, Paro, Haa, Gasa and Bumthang Dzongkhag. Every Bhutanese in the area got snow-excited as it was the first heaviest snowfall with 9cm of snow accumulation in Thimphu - in almost a decade as far as I could remember. with the ones in the past few years being light to no snow in winter. All Ministries, agencies, and Dzongkhags in the areas affected by the heavy snowfall were closed for a day on 29th December but asked to continue to provide uninterrupted services as per the “Work-From-Home” protocols as per the direction from the Prime Minister’s Office to ensure safety. 

Memorial Chorten, Thimphu covered in snow

According to the information from the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, the snow on 29th December 2021 settled 9cm in Thimphu and 24cm in Haa. Bumthang received the lowest amount of snow. It’s one of the heaviest snowfalls since Gasa’s record of 12cm in 2018. Bhutan being a mountainous country, first flurries are encountered while passing through the high passes to move from western to eastern Bhutan. However, there is nothing quite as magical as the first actual snowfall. A snowfall that settles in inches right at your doorstep. And this feeling of ecstasy was evident in people living in the places where it snowed. 

Snow-covered Thimphu in Bhutan

If you were up at 7am you are usually quite early for life in Thimphu – the capital city and one of the colder western regions that saw snowfall. Not on the snowfall day! You could hear cars buzzing to life at the wee hours of the morning to catch the snowfall in popular hangout places and viewpoints like Buddha Point, Sangaygang and some driving as far as Dochu La. Families with small children could be seen stomping in the snow, building a snowman and playing snowball fights by the side of the roads. Then there was the indoor experience, sitting on their balcony and sipping on suja or thuep (rice porridge) or changkey (fermented rice alcohol).

Photoshoot with snowfalls (Photo credit: tashi_chombal)

Playing in the snow

Social media platforms were flooded with pictures of the snowfall day – from glamorous pictures of people in gowns and dresses (talk about aesthetics!) to cozy sweaters and sweatpant pictures to maternity and newborns (and even pets!) experiencing their first snowfall pictures; Bhutanese did it all. Gone were the days of snuggle in time and a shift in a more active social life on snow day could be seen. The picture-perfect reel life called for support in real life from friends and family to get those shots and we could hope with an optimism that the time with loved ones outweighed everything.  

Figure 5: Many were out building snowmen in different parts of Bhutan

On the flipside, Bhutan and its mountains called for roads traversing from one side of the country to another on high altitudes. If the snow was heavy in the valley, it was heaviest on these peaks. Due to inclement weather and the snow resulting in the icy road, roads were closed to traffic and movement of vehicles restricted. The Department of Roads carries out de-icing work at this time. Till the roads were conducive for travelling, The Royal Bhutan Police and the Department of Roads could be seen issuing the notice of road condition updates through their social media platforms and also soliciting support from the general public to not travel at this time unless necessary. 

Talking about safety in such a situation the Prime Minister’s Office had written on the official Facebook page,

“…To the general public, the snowfall uplifts our spirit amid the pandemic. We have tendencies to go for rides or photoshoots outdoor. Please be careful. With all the positivity, we urge you to spend quality time with your loved ones. Stay warm and safe.”

While it continued to snow lightly in the morning of 30th December 2021 it moved on to a scattered rain as the day progressed and people got back to business and their ‘human life’ after a heavenly experience. Bhutan got back to reality with the announcement from the Royal Civil Service Commission, Royal Government of Bhutan on its Facebook page:

“As the situation of snowfall has improved, all civil servants are requested to return to their normal working schedule. The “Work-from-home” is lifted from today in all dzongkhags affected by snow. All concerned are requested to kindly cooperate. Drive with caution and stay safe.”



Related Posts

A summary of Bhutan's 114th National Day

Every year Bhutan celebrates its most historically significant day – the National Day (Gyalyong Duechen) on 17th...

Dec 28, 2021 11:52

2021 Bhutan Year in Review : The Past, Present and Future

Prime Minister Dr Lotay Tshering presented the third State of the Nation report on 24 December 2021.

Dec 29, 2021 18:10

Bhutan Receives Annual Special Travel Destinations Award

This is Bhutan's second tourism award in China, reaffirming its status as an extraordinary travel destination.

Feb 02, 2024 11:12

Bhutan Waives SDF for MICE Events

Bhutan seeks to establish itself as a prime destination for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions)...

Jan 24, 2024 14:34

Bhutan Receives Outstanding Destination Excellence Award

The awards ceremony took place at the ZHENGDA Center in Beijing and acknowledged outstanding accomplishments in travel,...

Jan 17, 2024 12:45

PDP Wins 2024 National General Elections with 30 Seats

Bhutanese citizens participated in the final round of parliamentary elections on Tuesday, January 9th, from morning...

Jan 10, 2024 10:36

Latest

News

Bhutan Receives Annual Special Travel Destinations Award

This is Bhutan's second tourism award in China, reaffirming its status as an extraordinary travel destination.

Feb 02, 2024 11:12

Bhutan Waives SDF for MICE Events

Bhutan seeks to establish itself as a prime destination for MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and Exhibitions) events in the region.

Jan 24, 2024 14:34

Features

Rifles and Rituals: Satire and Societal Shifts in Bhutan as Portrayed in 'The Monk and The Gun

Pawo Choyning Dorji, whose film "The Monk and the Gun" offers insight into the Himalayan nation's modernization process.

Feb 20, 2024 11:04

All You Need to Know About Gelephu Mindfulness City

The kingdom of Bhutan is planning to develop a "mindfulness city" covering about 2.5% of its land, which is larger than the size of...

Feb 08, 2024 10:42

Business

Brand Bhutan: Karma Yangchen

Karma Yangchen, a distinguished artisan from Bhutan exemplifies a profound commitment to the art of handwoven textiles.

Dec 14, 2023 10:22

Brand Bhutan: Bhutan Herbal Tea

Bhutan Herbal Tea is the brainchild of two Bhutanese individuals who first crossed paths in New York during a Bhutanese New Year gathering...

Nov 25, 2023 13:56

Sports

Bhutan Cricket's New Milestone: The Inaugural Indoor Cricket Academy

The Bhutan Cricket Council Board (BCCB) inaugurated its inaugural indoor cricket academy on 20th December, with the objective of ensuring...

Dec 21, 2023 14:57

Paro FC Clinches Third Consecutive Victory in BOB Bhutan Premier League

Paro FC has once again claimed the BOB Bhutan Premier League championship, marking their third consecutive title victory during the season's...

Dec 12, 2023 10:26

Travel

Alii Palau Airlines Inaugural Flight From Singapore to Palau via Drukair

On November 23, 2023, Alii Palau Airlines made history with its inaugural flight to Palau.

Dec 04, 2023 10:32

Singapore to Palau: Alii Palau Airlines Launches Historic Route With Drukair

You can now visit the Palau Paradise directly from Singapore!

Oct 27, 2023 16:17

Lifestyle

Chunipa Losar: Bhutan's Timeless Celebration of Traditions and Offerings

Chunipa Losar is a day of offerings, a moment when communities come together to express gratitude, seek blessings, and strengthen bonds.

Jan 12, 2024 12:31

Bhutan's Time-Honored Tradition: Exploring the Nyilo Season and the Lolay Ritual

Approximately 750 children recently took part in the traditional practice known as "lolay" in Bhutan, marking the beginning of the Nyilo...

Jan 04, 2024 14:18

Subscribe to our newsletter

Never miss out on new happenings and news stories!

Download Daily Bhutan Mobile App

Connecting with us just got easier!