|Duration||9 nights and 10 days|
|Tour Date||7th October 2019 – 16th October 2019|
|Guide||Knowledgeable with good command over English|
|Tour Highlights||Cultural sightseeing, Festival, short hikes, interaction with the local people, beautiful landscape and nature.|
Thangbi Mani Festival is one of the most popular festivals held in Chhoekhor Gewog, in Bumthang. The highlight of the festival is the fire blessing (Mewang) ceremony, performed in an open ground. The lay monks perform purification rituals while people jump over flames to purify themselves. Several mask dances are also performed. It is believed that the festivals would bring peace and prosperity and ensure better harvest for the entire community. Thangbi Mani is a unique festival, which displays the rich tradition and celebrates the cultural heritage of this ancient monastery Thangbi lhakhang, founded in 1470 by Shamar rinpoche, Choki Drakpa. The Iron curtain at the entrance is said to have been cast by the saint himself. Thangbi Lhakhang is located beyond the Kurji lhakhang. Overnight hotel
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. On your arrival, our company representative will be waiting outside the Airport and escort you for your first experience that awaits you. You will visit the Paro National Museum, which was once a watch tower and today houses some of the Kingdom’s historical treasures. You will also visit Paro Dzong (Fortress), which is the head quarters of Paro District and Kyichu Lhakhang, built by the Tibetan Buddhist King Songsten Goempo in the 7th century. Overnight hotel.
You will be visiting places of historical importance and landmarks of the capital. The Memorial Chorten (a huge stupa) built in memory of the third king of Bhutan Jigmi Dorji Wangchuck, Changangkha monastery built in the 12th century, statue of the world’s largest futuristic Buddha, Maitreya, Takin zoo, a Nunnery and Sangaygang, from where you can catch Thimphu in a celluloid form are some of the places you can visit in the morning.
After lunch at a local restaurant, visit the Wood Craft and Painting school and see the wonders of Bhutanese art and craft in the making. Take a stroll around town and visit the Post Office if you are an enthusiast of postal stamps. If time permits, we will also witness an archery match (Bhutan’s national game) in session.
In the evening, we will be visiting Thimphu’s most important landmark, the Tashichho Dzong (Fortress), the main secretariat building. This massive structure houses the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot and the senior monks, apart from other Ministerial offices.
After breakfast we will move to Punakha, which is about three hours drive from Thimphu. After a 45 minute drive, we will stop at Dochula Pass, (3,100m), which offers visitors the first spectacular glimpse of the snow-capped eastern Himalayan Ranges, consisting of peaks averaging heights of 6000m to 7554m. The pass is beautified by 108 stupas (chortens) built around a mound.
We then proceed to Chimi Lhakhang. About half an hour hike from the road point, it is associated with the great Buddhist master, Drukpa Kuenley, popularly known as the “Divine Madman,” and was constructed in the 15th century.
After lunch, we move to Punakha, which served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955. Punakha Dzong (Fortress) is an architectural masterpiece, which from far looks like a large ship rocked on a still mass of water. Built at the confluence of two rivers, called the Pho (male) and Mo (female) chus (rivers) in 1637 by Bhutan’s unifier, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it has played a very significant role in Bhutan’s history. Home to some of Bhutan’s most prized religious artifacts, it was destroyed four times by fire and an earthquake in 1897. However, it has now been restored to its original splendor, and is the home of the country’s Chief Abbot and religious body during the winter months. Overnight hotel.
Drive from Punakha to Bumthang vis Trongsa (07hrs) over the Pele la Pass (3,420mtrs) and youngtongla Pass (3500mtrs).
En route stop off at Changdebji stupa, erected in the 18th century. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road.
Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty.
After lunch, visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest Dzong in the country. Visit Ta dzong (watch tower)-today it is converted into the musemum housing an incredible collection of historical artifacts of the Royal Family.
After the visit, continue drive to bumthang, home to some of Bhutan’s oldest Places and temples. Overnight hotel
Today you will witness the festival of Thangbi Mani. You can see the lay monks performing the purification rituals of Mewang ceremony (fire blessing) which is performed in an opened ground. The entire people jump over the flame three times as it is believed that it will wash away all the sins, misfortunes for the entire year and wash away the negative energy and gained the positive energy. Masked dances and folk dances are performed in the enclosed courtyard of the temple. Overnight hotel
One of the most sacred regions in the Kingdom, Bumthang valley is a blend of the abstract and concrete with innumerable legends surrounding the area.
You will be visiting Kurje Lhakhang where the Great Indian Saint Guru Padsambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock. The other is Jamphel lhakhang, which was built in the 7th century by Songsten Goembo, the Tibetan Buddhist King. Jakar Dzong (the fortress of white bird) built in the 17th century by Tenzin Rabgay (the fourth Desi) is another famous landmark.
You will also be visiting, Tamshing lhakhang built in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa (the founder of religious treasures). Kunchosum lhakhang and Membertsho (the flaming lake) are other places. Legend has it that Pema Lingpa discovered several religious texts from the lake. Overnight hotel
Start early for Gangtey, about 06 hrs drive from Bumthang. We will move further to Phobjikha valley, one of the most beautiful valleys in Bhutan and home to the very rare black-necked cranes, who migrate from Tibet to Bhutan to winter (from November -March). There will also be a visit to Gangtey Gompa, one of the oldest Nyingmapa monasteries, that resembles a Dzong. Hike down to the nature trail (4.3 km) –where you can enjoy the beautiful landscape and continue hike to Kilkorthang valley with stunning view of the villages around. Overnight hotel
Drive back to Thimphu (approx 06hrs) en route stop at Dochula Pass and visit Druk Wangyel Lhakhang, built by our queen mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk in 2005.
The Pas offers spectacular glimpse of the snow-capped eastern Himalayan Ranges, consisting of peaks averaging heights of 6000m to 7554m. The pass is beautified by 108 stupas (chortens) built around a mound. Spend some time walking around and continue towards Thimphu.
In the afternoon visit the oldest dzong in the country, The Simtokha Dzong, traditional handmade paper factory, weaving center in Changzamtog and crafts market opposite to Hotel Taj. In the evening, explore the town and it has many photo opportunities. Overnight hotel
A visit to Bhutan is incomplete without going to Paro Taktshang (Tiger’s Lair), one of the most sanctified and sacred temples in Bhutan.
Our journey to the Lair will begin after half an hour drive to the base of the temple. It is a four hour round trip along an old trail, with prayer flags fluttering.
Taktshang is not just a sacred place, but also an architectural wonder. Perched some 1000 meters on a hill overlooking a valley, it is believed that the great Indian Saint and Budddhist Master, Guru Padma Sambhava flew on a tigress in a wrathful form to this place in 746 AD, to subdue evil forces who were obstructing the spread of Buddhism.
The trek, which will take about four hours (up and down) is an unforgettable one and promises every visitor an enthralling experience. Overnight hotel
Depart from the Paro International Airport.