The Art and Tradition of Archery in Bhutan: Exploring the National Sport

 In Adventure, archery, Bhutan, Travel

Discover the tradition of archery in Bhutan, a Bhutanese archery pitch is around 150 metres long. The targets, one at each end, are white wooden boards, about one metre tall and a half a metre wide, stuck into the ground, with a bull’s eye painted on them. Bhutan tour Packages are best-selling tour packages for a spiritual vacation. Bhutan has also become Budget friendly to promote tourism. 

There are two teams, with members at each end of the pitch. Each member has two arrows. The teams shoot alternately. Then they hit the centre of the bull’s eye and if you get three points,  hit the target and you get one point. There are so many temples in Bhutan which you can explore. Also you will find many monasteries in Bhutan which you can visit to stay calm. 

You might be wondering what the Archery prices in Bhutan are? A compound bow – made of fibreglass and pulleys – costs between 50,000 to 100,000 Ngultrum, equivalent to about 1,600 euros or 1,45,223.76 Indian Rupee

History of Archery in Bhutan


Archery in Bhutan is a unique martial art that has been practised for generations for both amusement and combat purposes. Its origins may be traced back to the arming of villagers to protect the kingdom in times of conflict, as Bhutan formerly had an official military.

In Bhutan, the bow and arrow were traditionally the most important weapons for survival. Bhutan archery festival has also played a significant role in Bhutan’s ancient myths and tales, with various depictions of Buddhist gods wielding a bow and arrow.

Archery Places In Bhutan

Every village has a field for archery- Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu which is one of the kingdom’s most prominent archery fields. The most notable archery competitions in Bhutan are Coronation National Archery tournament and Yangphel tournament. So, the best Archery spots in Bhutan is Changlimithang Stadium in Thimphu. Book your hotels and resorts in Bhutan before your visit to avoid last-minute hassles

What is the Best Time for Archery in Bhutan?

The optimal time to archery Ground in Bhutan is during the spring (March to May) and autumn which is from September to November seasons. Many people visit Bhutan to witness this rich Bhutanese culture and their sport. While some choose this place for their honeymoon in Bhutan.

Why Is Archery Called the National Sport of Bhutan?

Archery was adopted as a national game when Bhutan joined the United Nations in 1971. Maybe the game was played in the country way before that but it gained its popularity afterwards. Bhutan was also known for archery games to the other parts of the world and it still is.

Bhutan Archery Festival 


Archery Bhutan goes hand in hand with the festivals in the kingdom, and not a single festival is complete without the traditional archery contests. There are also a number of adventure sports archery competitions that exist in the kingdom outside the festivals, where local and regional teams compete against each other. The most notable of these is the Coronation National Archery Tournament, which was instituted to celebrate the coronation of the current Dragon King in 2008. 

Another popular national competition is the Bhutan Archery Federation’s International Style Archery Competition, sponsored by Yangphel Archery, which is held in either September or October in the Gregorian calendar. 

There are also contests of archery skills, as well as demonstrations, during Losar, the Tibetan Buddhist New Year, which is also celebrated in Bhutan. And in every region, archery bhutan contests are run throughout July and August. One of the main highlights of the archery contests is the entertainment value of the teams. Whenever one makes a good score, the entire team will dance on the firing end of the range, cheering and applauding the archer who scored. Conversely, when an archer misses the target, the opposing team dances and jeers at the shooter and their team, throwing insults and mocking them, but all in good fun.

Archery contests in Bhutan are not usually set on the same date every year, as the dates are divided by astrologers. Many archers often prepare for their matches by seeking the help of astrologers. Teams also use astrologers to select members of the team, and these astrologers are often hired with huge fees to have favourable performances on the field and to gain the upper hand in a contest. This shows the value and importance of astrologers in the game.

Interesting Fact about Bhutan Archery

  1. The national sport of Bhutan is Archery, it is known as ’Da’.
  2. A major competition is a serious affair and according to tradition. An archer will not have sex the night before a competition, and women are not allowed to handle the bow.
  3. Bhutan also maintains an Olympic archery team.
  4. Archery is played during public holidays in Bhutan and local Festivals
  5. It is an exclusive male sport.
  6. All players shall wear the national dress during the Bhutan Archery Festival.

Bhutan Traditional Archery Rules

  1.  There are 13 players in each team.
  2. Each team shall be led by a team captain.
  3. The dimension of the archery range should be 200 metre long and 10 metres wide.
  4. The dimension of the target shall be 3 and half feet high 11 inches wide and 2 inches thick.
  5. The  distance between the two targets shall be 140 metres for traditional equipment; & 145 metres for compound  equipment
  6.  Each takes turns shooting two arrows at a time; first in one direction then in the opposite direction 
  7. Scoring 25 points won the game.
  8. All players shall wear the national dress during the play
  9. Wearing of any sort of cap, hat or headdress shall not be allowed.

Safety Tips for Archery in Bhutan

Here are the list of some Safety Tips for Archery in Bhutan which must be followed to avoid any mishappening during the contest :

  1. An archer who draws his bow sideways threatening the safety of spectators will not be allowed to participate in archery games and tournaments;
  2. Drink shooting shall not be allowed at any archery range. 
  3. If an archer gets hit outside the prescribed shooting area, the archer concerned shall be fully liable for the consequences. 
  4. An archer involved in fatal accidents shall be banned for life.
  5. A person learning to shoot shall take all necessary precautions by not playing in Bachos where public safety is a major concern.
  6. No spectators shall be allowed within the 10-metre wide shooting area of the archery range.
  7. All archers participating in an archery game or a match shall always be alert and take all necessary precautions from getting hit by an arrow.


Archery in Bhutan has been the national sport for more than ten years, and has its sporting origins in the early years of the 20th century, when the former king enjoyed archery, and began many of the contests and competitions across the kingdom. He promoted it as part of the festivities, though it was not officially a national sport until 1971. 

You can check the archery contests around the area of Thimphu and Paro, as well as in Wangdue Phodrang and Punakha, where contests run all year round. You will taste the Bhutanese cuisine which is delicious and mouth watering. Do check the restaurants in Bhutan to satisfy your taste buds and enjoy the rich culinary culture of Bhutan.

Festivals are often the best places to see archery contests, as well as the skill performances of the top archers. While you may not be able to take part in the contests, as you will need to be a registered and trained archer to do so, watching these amazing competitions is just as delightful. Also, there are many things to do in Bhutan apart from Archery. So! HurryUp and plan your trip today to explore and know more about this amazing game, which is not just a game but tradition as well.

Can visitors participate in archery activities in Bhutan?

Well! It’s a good question that when you visit Bhutan, you might be wondering about participating in the archery event. However,it’s not possible because it requires special skills and proper training to perform archery.

What role does archery play in Bhutanese festivals?

Archery plays an important role, when it comes to protecting you against animal assaults or either used as self defence. Bhutan archery festival has also played a significant role in the ancient myths and tales.

How is traditional Bhutanese archery different from modern archery?

Recurve is the traditional form of archery and is an Olympic sport while compound archery is a modern iteration of the sport. Archery is an ancient sport practised with a variety of bows and arrows.

What is the significance of archery in Bhutanese culture?

Archery in Bhutan is culturally distinctive because it is a martial art practised among a modern population that abhors killing. 

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