Visit the Choki Art School

Bhutan nurtures its culture and heritage with care and passion.Exploring one of the most interesting educational institutes can be a very edifying experience for visitors to Bhutan. This tour provides an excellent opportunity to visit the Choki Traditional Art School (CTAS) founded in 1999, in an endeavour to care for and bring education to underprivileged children from all backgrounds. It was instituted by Dasho Choki Dorji, a veteran artist whose interest and love for the profession and zeal to keep alive the zorig chusum (13 Arts and Crafts) inspired him to teach these children at his house. These represent hundreds of years of cultural practice, and many Bhutanese see their identity and history reflected in these crafts.

  • Learn about the background and history of art school
  • Learning about the traditional Bhutanese zorig chusum (13 Arts and Crafts)
  • Interacting with the students

This is no ordinary school as its focus is teaching underprivileged children from different background and age. The Choki Traditional Art School, set up in memory of the 4th King of Bhutan, teaches skills like weaving (ThagZo), Sculpting (Jinzo), Lhadri (Painting), Carving (Pap) and embroidery (Tshem Zo). 

The students who in the early days came to learn were from very humble families and faraway places, so Dasho Choki Dorji kept them in his house and provided free food and lodge. Soon enough the news spread and many parents started bringing their children. Thus the idea to establish a small school and provide learning opportunities for the economically and disadvantaged children was conceived. During their first two years, students study traditional rimo drawing, the foundation for future specialized study of more complex crafts. Additional practices covered include thanka (scroll) painting, Patra (carving), thag-zo (weaving), and tshem-zo (embroidery). These skills are several of the zorig chusum, or “thirteen crafts,” Bhutan’s major traditional crafts.

On the tour, you will observe how the handicrafts are being made by the students, some of whom also act as guides and take you around the institute. There’s a small gift shop where you can buy art products made by the students. The school runs mainly on donation and the education, food and lodging are free.

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