|Duration||11 nights and 12 days|
|Travel Date||11th April 2019 – 22nd April 2019|
|Guide||Knowledgeable with good command over English|
|Tour Highlights||Cultural sightseeing, Festival, short hikes, interaction with the local people, beautiful landscape and nature.|
Enjoy an intimate Tshechu experience set in the Ura valley in the Bumthang, Bhutan’s spiritual heartland of the country. Tshechu (festival) are one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. A Tshechu (festival) is a Buddhist festival in honour of Guru Rinpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Loca villagers gather in a spirit of festivity, celebration and deep faith to witness unique masked dances and celebrations. And visit sacred sites in the valley of Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Phobjikha, Trongsa and Bumthang.
This tour also offers the chance to savor the different customs and cultures of the Western and central valleys of Bhutan at a leisurely pace.
Arrive at Paro International Airport. Our company representative will meet you and take on a drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan along the Paro and Thimphu rivers.
En route, stop at Tamchogang and visit the magnificent Tamchogang Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s Iron bridge builder.
Take an early evening walk around town and soak in the atmosphere of this magical capital with its busy shops and photogenic citizens in a national dress. The costumes wear by man are called “Gho” and the women are called “Kira”.
In the morning drive to the Semtokha Dzong, the oldest in the country (built in 1629 AD).
You will have an opportunity to visit with some of the monks and observe life within the monastery. In the old days, the oldest don of every family was offered to a monastery where the child grew up as a monk. Even now, it is not uncommon for some families to continue the practice.
Next, return to Thimphu and visit National Memorial Stupa, Buddha point, 14th century Chnaggangkha lhakhang, preserved national animal of Bhutan, called Takin-a very unique creature which combines of the two animal-cows and a goat.
After lunch, visit Textile Musemum, Folk Heritage Museum, Nayional Library, and Arts and crafts school, and traditional handmade paper factory, crafts market opposite to the Hotel Taj and finally the Thimphu Dzong, where you are able to see the throne of our current king.
In the evening walk around the Thimphu town for shopping. Overnight hotel.
In the morning drive to the ancient capital of Bhutan, Punakha. The drive will be via Dochula Pass (3150 mtrs), where we will stop for a hot drink and enjoy the panoramic views of Eastern Himalaya ranges.
Upon arrival in Punakha, short walk/hike to the Chimmi Lhakhang-(the fertility temple of Divine Madman) built in the 15th century by the Tibetan Lama called Drukpa kuenly(Divine Madman).
After lunch, continue drive to visit the imposing Punakha Dzong. The Dzong showcases the finest architectures of the Bhutan. Overnight hotel.
Explore the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang before driving over the Pele la Pass (3,420 mrts) on the Black Mountain ranges, which divides Western and Central Bhutan.
The drive to Trongsa, the gateway to central Bhutan sets amidst spectacular scenery and often spotted white langur monkeys in the moss-draped forests in this area.
Further on, in silent isolation surrounded by great forested hills it stand beautiful Chendebji Stupa built in the 18th century to commemorate the subjugation of a locl demon.
Trongsa Dzong commands the eye from miles away. The imposing Trongsa Dzong can be viewed across a deep canyon to signal your approach to the town around a curving road. Overnight hotel.
After breakfast, visit Trongsa Dzong, a masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture. Trongsa has the largest Dzong in Bhutan. There are around 22 temples in the complex.
Visit Trongsa Ta Dzong (Watch Tower), today it is converted into the museum housing an incredible collection of historical artifacts of the Royal Family.
After the lunch, drive to Bumthang- a spiritual heartland of the country and one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan.
The road climbs rapidly up a series of hairpin turns out of Trongsa. After passing through the cultivated fields and forested hillsides you will reach the Yotongla Pass (3500mtrs). From here the road passes down through a dense, beautiful coniferous forest to a wide, cultivated valley of Chumey before continuing on in the soft afternoon light to the town of Jakar.
Before continuing drive to the Jakar Valley, stop at Zuney and visit the handicrafts which showcases of the hand woolen textiles. 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.
Drive to Ura valley to witness the colorful masked dances and cultural festivities of the Ura Festival, joined by the local villagers and gathered in their finest clothes for an exciting tradtion of music, dancing and religious blessings. Overnight hotel.
Visit Tak Rimochhene Lhakhang, it was built by Pema Lingpa in the 14th century to mark a sacred place where Guru Rinpochhe mediated. The original name Tak Rimochhne (an impression of tiger’s stripes) is derived from the tiger stripes that appear on a rock cliff behind the buildings. There are footprints of the Guru Rinpochhe and his concert Yeshe Tshogyal on the cliff face.
Ugyen Cholling Musemum, It’s a 16th century Nagtshang, or country manor, originally built by Deb Tshokey Dorji, the onetime penlop of Trongsa and a descendant of the terton Dorji Lingpa. The family that owns Ogyen Choling has turned the complex into a museum. Next, en route visit Tang Nunnery Monastery- where you can find around 250 Nuns. 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.
We begin our journey towards Paro from Phobjikha. Enroute stop at Dochula Pass and visit Druk Wangyel Lhakhang, built by our queen mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk.
Upon arrival in Paro visit Paro Rimpong Dzong (Fortress on a Heap of Jewels), followed by the Ta Dzong, which was formerly a watchtower and now the country’s national museum.
Later, we visit 07th century Kyichu temple, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built by King Songtsen Gyempo of Tibet in 659AD. Legend has it that it is one of the 108 temples that the King built within a year around the Himalayan region. 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 five 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 five hours (up and down) is an unforgettable one and promises every visitor an enthralling experience. Overnight hotel.
Depart from Paro International Airport