Domkhar Festival and Local Culture Experiences

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Total Views:   299
12 Nights 13 Days
Availability : 7th Apr - 19th Apr
Tour Details:
Duration 12 nights and 13 days
Tour Date 7th April 2019 – 19th April 2019
Guide Knowledgeable with good command over English
Tour Highlights Cultural sightseeing, Festival, short hikes, meeting with the local people in the villages and in their homes, beautiful landscape and nature.
Tour Itinerary:
Day 1, 7th April: The rice fields of Paro (Paro)

Receive by the local representative and visit the following places
National museum: The watchtower or the Ta- Dzong was built in 17th century to guard the Paro Rimpong dzong (fortress) below. It has the collection of rare stamps on display. It will bring the history from 6th
Paro Rimpong Dzong: One of the best architectural masterpiece of the country and is as fascinating as their functions and beauty.
Originally built in 17th century by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the man who unified Bhutan, but then it was burnt down in 1907 and was rebuilt in the same year with the same architectural design. It is the head quarter of the district headed by the head administrator and the monastic body with about 200 monks.

Hike Stall around the town. Overnight hotel

Day 2, 8th April: Kila Gompa and Chelea la pass (Paro – Haa)

Drive to high valley of Haa crossing over the Chela pass at 3988m. Opened to the visitors only in 2004, Haa valley is one of the most remote valleys and the lives of the people are still governed by seasons and farm works.

On the way take a short visit Dzongdrakha village looking over the Paro valley and the rice fields. Stop below the pass and hike to kila Gompa monastery. The monastery houses about 30 nuns. After the monastery, continue hiking towards Chela pass. You may see some yaks on the way. Enjoy the stunning view over the Himalayas from the pass. In Haa, take a glimpse of two of the oldest temples in Bhutan, Lhakhang Karp and Lhakhang Nap. In the evening stall around the town. Overnight hotel

Day 3, 9th April: Remote villages (Haa – Thimphu)

The drive to Thimphu offers beautiful view over the deep valleys, old villages and beautiful forest. Stop to visit Dobji dzong, one of the oldest dzong in the country.

Once in Thimphu visit
Memorial chorten: Walk around 1972 memorial stupa  with pilgrims.  It was built in memory of the third king.
Buddha point: Overlooking the Thimphu town, it is one of the biggest statues of Buddha in the country.
Changangkha monastery: Built in 13th century, this is one of the most important monasteries for the people of Thimphu. Children born in Thimphu are brought to this monastery for blessing and protection.

In the evening visit
Trashichhodzong: Built in the 17th century, this dzong is the summer residence of the central monastic body headed by the Je Khenpo (chief spiritual leader).  The king’s office is also located inside this dzong.  The woodwork and the paintings are among the finest in the country.  You may take pictures in the courtyard.

Free time in the town. Overnight hotel

Day 4, 10th April: Over the Dochula pass (Thimphu – Punakha)

Stop at Dochula pass (3150m); enjoy the panorama of the Bhutan Himalayas. Spend some time walking around and photographing the 108 Druk Wangyel Chortens, built in 2004 to “celebrate the stability and progress that His Majesty has brought to the nation. This hill of 108 religious monuments in the middle of the pass reflects Bhutan’s spiritual and artistic traditions.

As you descend from the pass, you will observe dramatic changes in vegetation. At the lower elevations in Punakha and Wangdue, cacti, banana plants, poinsettias and other semi- tropical plants dominate the exotic landscape.

Continue your drive towards Punakha and visit Punakha Dzong. Built in 1637 between the confluence of the Po chu (male river) and Mo chu (female river), this fortress monastery is the winter residence of Bhutan’s spiritual leader, the Je Khenpo or Head Abbot, and the central Monk Body comprising of over 350 monks.

Take a short hike to Chhi- med (means no dogs) Lhakhang in the picturesque valley, to visit the temple of Bhutan’s foremost saint, the Lama Drukpa Kuenley, popular known as the Divine Madman. Overnight hotel.

Day 5, 11th April: Black Mountain ranges and the valley of the cranes (Punakha – Phobjikha)

This part of drive is one of the most scenic; you will be crossing streams, waterfalls, prayer wheels turned by water, yaks with their herders, remote and picturesque villages and lots of birds.

As we approach Pelela pass (3420m/10825ft), you will get the first glimpse of Black mountain ranges. In olden days it was used as border between east and west. Before reaching the pass, we will take right towards the valley of rare and famous Black Necked Cranes.  First stop is at the village of and Gangtey (30000m), followed by Gangtey Gompa.

The villagers are said to be descendents of about 50 gomchen or lay monks who settled there long time ago. After the School hike to the glacial valley of Phobjikha (2900m/10440ft). This is one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan. It is the nesting ground of the rare Black necked Cranes in winter. Overnight hotel.

Day 6, 12th April: Chendepji stupa and Trongsa dzong (Phobjikha – Trongsa)

Stop for pictures at the Pelela pass at 3420m/ 10825ft. from the pass, you will descend to through Langthel village, where inhabitants rare sheep and yaks. From the road you will see the clustered village of Rukubji village amid the potato, barley and mustard fields depending on seasons.

Next village you will come across is the village of Chendenji. The second king used to spend one night here along with his mules caravans.

Just few minutes, the big white stupa modeled out of Syambunath in Nepal built in 19th century.

As we approach Trongsa, we get the great view of Trongsa dzong overlooking the Mangde Chu in the deep valley. Stop at the viewpoint for pictures.

Built in 17th century, this dzong is the most strategically located dzong in the country. Sometimes the first two kings used to live there in winter.

Ta-Dzong or the watchtower, which was converted to museum in 2008. The museum houses about 244 items used over the years by Wangchuck dynasty. Overnight hotel

Day 7, 13th April: Textiles and temples (Trongsa – Jakar)

After the Yotongla pass 3420m, you will be descending to the first valley of Bumthang Chumey valley for known for its textiles.
Jakar Dzong: Built in 17th century, it had defended lots of enemies from outside and from within the country. The name Jakar originates from this place, meaning white bird. Houses the district headquarter and about 60 monks of Bumthang.
Wangdichholing Dzong: Built in 1900 by the father of first king and was used as the summer residence of the first two kings.  Beautiful woodwork and colorful paintings, currently houses about 30 monks.

Overnight hotel

Day 8, 14th April: Monks and monasteries (Jakar)

Explore the following places:
Jambay Lhakhang: The temple is dedicated to future Buddha and was built in 7th century. It is one of the oldest temples in the country.
Kurjey Lhakhang: Kurjey means Body imprint, Guru Rimpoche first came to this place to help cure the local king who was seriously ill.
Thangbi village and its temple. Most of the people living there are lay monks.
Tamshing monastery: The paintings date back to 15th century. Overnight hotel

Day 9, 15th April: Domkhar festival (Jakar)

Attend the small local festival of Domkhar. You will witness beautiful dances danced by the lay monks from the village. You will appriciate the simple local ambiance and the hospitality of the people. You can discuss them and take their pictures.  Overnight hotel.

Day 10, 16th April: Rinchengang village (Jakar – Punakha)

As we retrace our journey back to Punakha, you can make numerous stops on the way to visit villages, enjoy nature and to take pictures of local people on the road.

In Wangdue, take a short hike to Rinchengang village for cultural experiences.
Overnight hotel

Day 11, 17th April: Simtokha dzong (Punakha – Paro)

En route, visit Simtokha dzong. Built in 1629, it is the oldest dzong in Bhutan. Stop at Tachhogang and hike to the 14th century suspension bridge over the Pa chhu. You can hike further up to visit the temple located on the hilltop.  Stall around Paro town in the evening.  Overnight hotel

Day 12, 18th April: Excursion to Takshang (Paro)

After breakfast, drive 15 minutes to the starting point in order to hike to Takshang Monastery (the “Tiger’s Nest”).  Visited and sanctified by Guru Rimpoche, this place is one of the most venerated pilgrimage sites in the Himalayan world.  Over the years, many great Buddhist masters have visited and mediated here.  Later, in the year 1692 AD, the fourth temporal ruler of Bhutan built the monastery over the cave where Guru Rimpoche and his consort Khandro Yeshi Tshogyal mediated.  The monastic complex clings to the rock towering 800 meters above the valley (2950 meters above sea level).

After visiting the monastery, stop at the teahouse cafeteria half way down for lunch. Overnight hotel

Day 13, 19th April: Departure

Drive to the airport for departure.