Thimphu Tshechu9 Nights 10 Days
Thimphu Tshechu, held in Bhutan’s capital city, was initiated by the 4th Temporal Ruler of Bhutan, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgay in 1867. The festival underwent a change in the 1950s, when the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, introduced numerous Boed chhams (mask dances performed by lay monks). The additions has added colour without compromising the spiritual signi cance. Thimphu festival begins on the 9th day and ends on the 12th day of the eighth Bhutanese month. In general, the four-day Tshechu program consists of twenty-four folk songs and twenty- five sacred dances. Usually the program for each day begins by 9 a.m.From the year of its establishment in 1687, Thimphu Tshechu was performed inside Trashichodzong courtyard until 2007. However, because of the steady increase in attendees, the inner courtyard became too congested to properly perform the rites. Therefore, to accommodate a growing numbers of viewers, a new Tshechu stadium was constructed and named Tendrel Thang, meaning ‘Auspicious Ground’.
Zoom into a cluster of quaint farmhouses that embroiders the beauty of Paro Valley. Visit National Museum, 1400-year-old Kichu temple, Rinpung Fotress, The best in Paro is hike to Taktsang Monsatry, the most renowned Buddhist structure in the entire Himalaya, built on sheer cliff wall 900m above the valley. Only the sounds are murmurs of winds, waterfall, birds and the chanting of monks.
Capture the unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient tradition in Thimphu. Visit academy of Art & Craft, World Biggest Buddha Statue, Takin Enclaves, Memorial Stupa, Textile Factory, Indigenous paper factory, Tashi Cho Dzong “ The Glorious Fort of Happiness” & weekend market to mix with locals and get a closer view of their traditions.
Punakha & Wangdue
Stop over at Dochula for the breath taking view of Eastern Himalaya. Visit Dochu-la Temple and 108 Stupas. Drive through a beautiful dense forest of spruce, pine, rhododendron and larch. Stopover at Chimi Lhakhang the “ Temple of Fertility”. The best for the day is the visit to the magnificent Punakha Fortress considered the best specimen of Bhutanese architecture and epitome of beauty and ancient political power. Also sock in the beauty at Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel another an impressive fine Bhutanese Art & Architecture and capture the beautiful landscape of Punakha valley with farms, rice fields and the part of Jigme Dorji National Park.
Arrival in Paro ( 2300m )
As the plane banks over the mountain slopes, the Paro Valley greet you with luminous paddies rippling in the breeze and tiny houses sprinkled on the bank of the meandering river. The air is crystal clear, light translucent and on horizon, snowcapped mountains frame the idyllic like painting. It does not matter how many times you land in Paro, the bucolic valley unfolds like a dream. If you are lucky, you will have a glorious view of the Snowcapped Himalayas. After visa formalities and collection of baggage, you will meet by our representative from “Journey To Discover BHUTAN. Your journey begins with a visit to: The National Museum, Which will express further light to some of things that you will be seeing on your trip. Paro Dzong: Built in 1646, which houses the administrative center of the Paro district and religious institute for monks. The Paro Dzong may be familiar to people who watched Bertolucci’s film “The Little Buddha” walk down to the coach crossing over the traditional wooden covered cantilever bridge called “Nymezampa” which spans over the Paro river. Over night at Hotel
After Breakfast drive Thimphu. It takes a 1½ - hour leisurely drive towards the Capital of Bhutan, Thimphu. Passing through hills and some astounding countryside. Thimphu is situated in a large valley traversed by the Wangchuk River and overshadowed by high peaks. En-route you will view Tachogang monastery, “the temple of excellent horse” built by Thangthong Gyalpo (Iron chain builder in Bhutan) we drive following the Thimphu River upwards passing through several villages. Visit the Place of interest in Thimphu: Kuengzang Phordang: To see World Biggest seated Buddha. The Memorial Chorten: With its golden spines shining in the sun, its tinkling bells built in honour of third King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The inside paintings and statues provide a very rare insights into Buddhist Philosophy in all its complexity of tantric Buddhism. This Chorten is centrally located and you will see an endless procession of elderly people circling around it. Visit Weekend Vegetable Market- The people from Thimphu, Paro, Punakha and other parts of country congregate to sell and buy products. It is an opportunity to mix with local people and the see the products they sell. Late evening: Easy & beautiful hike around Wangduetshe, which offer breaking view of Thimphu Valley
The Thimphu Festival is one of the most popular festivals in Western Bhutan. The festivals attract local communities who travel from the remotest of villages to celebrate. They are riots of colors, smells and noise. For a visitor, a well-timed trip to any such occasion is a golden opportunity to look at Bhutanese life in a miniscule. Today you get more opportunity to mingle with local people.
Witness the festival in Morning: Afternoon: Drive to Punakha Over a Dochu-La ( 3050m) This Pass is one of the most beautiful pass in Bhutan dotted by many colorful prayer flags and 108 chortens. On a clear day you will be able to see a spectacular view of the Eastern Himalayas from this pass. Walk around the pass. Their after descend through the forest of rhododendrons and magnolia to the fertile valley of Lobesa. Later Evening: Easy & beautiful evening walk to Chimi Lhakhang – also known as the temple of fertility - in Lobesa is associated with the “Divine Madman” Drukpa Kuenley, who is known for his eccentric teachings and is said to have subdued evil spirits on this spot. He used the phallus as a ‘medium’ to subdue and discipline the malevolent spirits, and also to free up the social inhibitions. The temple was built in 1499 by Lama Ngawang Chogyal. Evening leisure at Hotel.
After a good night’s sleep, get an early start to witness how night slowly turns into day as you venture on your morning walk towards the extraordinary Khamsum Chorten. From the hotel the trail takes you through farmyards and rice paddies and offers a wonderful opportunity to experience the local farming traditions. While you enjoy the superb views of the valley from the chorten rooftop. Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten is 30 meters (100 feet) tall and can be seen in the distance when driving or walking up from the footbridge towards the lodge. The three-levelled chorten took eight and a half years to build and was consecrated in 1999. Dedicated to the Fifth King, it was built to remove negative forces and to provide peace, stability, and harmony in an ever-changing world. It is therefore filled with every form of colorful protector imaginable. Time: 1 – 1 hour walk . Picnic Lunch will be served near the riverside. Afternoon: Visit Punakha Dzong, this dzong is one of the most beautiful and architecturally impressive Dzong in the country. It is ideally located between two rivers Pho Chu “Male River” and Mo Chu “Female River”. It was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngwang Namgyel and it has served as the seats of the Government till 1953. The construction of the Dzong was foretold by Guru Rimpoche, who predicted, “a person named Namgyel will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephant”. At the time there was a smaller Dzong “ Dzong Chung” that house a statute of Buddha. It has said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in from of the statue. While Palep was sleeping in front the statue; the Shadrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From this vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong, which in keeping with the tradition, was never committed to paper. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang, “Palace of Great Happiness.” Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo (Chief Abbot”) and central monk body. Take time to admire the impressive, colourful and detailed artistry of the surrounding, including the huge statues of Buddha, Guru Rinpoche and Zhabdung Nawany Namgyel.
Punakha - Gangtey
Drive to Gangtey and Phobjikha valley are some of the most stunning areas in the country. The wide flat valley without any trees after a hard climb through the dense forest is an extremely are experience in Bhutan. In contrast to some parts of Bhutan, where modern development is already very apparent, gangtey is a place with natural beauty, untouched scenery, local tradition and culture and unconstrained peacefulness. Unlike rest of the Bhutan you walk from one stunning viewpoint to next, in phojbjikha you will have constant breathtaking view wherever you venture. It is also the winter habitat for the Black necked cranes migrating from Tibet. These birds are venerated by a festival in November and such is their significance no electric cables can be built for fear of injuring them. Evening leisure at Hotel
In the Morning we will go on a beautiful 1 hrs hike ‘The Gangtey the nature trail’. It is one of the most beautiful hike in a valley. Their after before driving to Punakha we will explore Phobjikha valley. We will begin with the visit to the famous 16th century Gangtey Goemba that overlooks the large green expanse of the valley. The monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly be the families of the Gomchens (lay monk) who take care of the monastery. Afternoon visit to Kebatheythang village.
Drive to Paro over a Dochu-la pass enroute visit Temple Temple.
With Early Breakfast drive to Paro: Today a very special day begin with a hike to Tiger Nest Monastery ( 4-5 Hrs Hike a hike to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of tress festooned with Spanish moss and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, founder of Buddhism flew from Eastern Bhutan on a tigress, bringing Buddhist teachings and meditated here in this cliff. This is one of the most venerated and sacred of all Buddhist site around the world. After visiting the monastery, we will walk down to Taktsang cafeteria for lunch. Late Afternoon: Visit Kyichu Lhakhang The 7th century monastery is one of the oldest and most sacred temples in the Kingdom where the seed of Buddhism was won in Bhutan. The Tibetan King, Songsten Gempo ordered the establishment of monasteries in the Himalayan region to subdue evil spirits and to spread Buddhism. Of the 108 monasteries, which were to be built, two major ones were built in Bhutan namely the Kyichu Lhakhang and the Jampa Lhakhang in Bumthang.
Early morning, you will be driven to airport for your onward journey out of Bhutan. Our representative will escort you.
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Our ten day trip through Bhutan was a truly amazing experience. Bhutan is a beautiful kingdom and thanks to our excellent guide Tsheten, we could explore it thoroughly.
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I visited Bhutan in January/February 2007 for 11 days, and it was an incredible experience. Tsheten took very good care of me and introduced me at easy pace to Bhutan culture, customs, history and people.
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