Journey of Distinction

14 DAYS
Category:
  • Dochula-pass

Description

The cultural tours offer unique insight into Bhutanese culture, tradition, life styles and beliefs. The cultural tours are the easiest ways to know about Bhutan.The unique cultural identity is deeply rooted in the teachings of Lord Buddha.

Itinerary

1

Arrive Paro

You will be received by the Representative from Bhutan Corinthian at the airport and drive to the Hotel.

After Lunch, visit Ta Dzong (built in 1656 and renovated in 1968) by Tenzin Drugda, first Penlop of Paro. Ta dzong is an ancient watchtower which protected the Ringpung dzong from all the invasions. The dzong is now the National Museum which promotes and preserves Bhutanese culture.

Dinner and overnight in Tashi Namgay Resort or similar. www.tashinamgayresort.com

2

Thimphu, Excursion to Taktsang Monastery

Taktsang(Tiger’s Nest) is the most sacred monastery of Bhutan and a place you must visit when you visit Bhutan. After early breakfast, short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten. We can reach the Tiger’s Nest either by walking or by horseback. The path climbs through beautiful pine forest and many of the trees are ornamented with Spanish moss, and fluttering prayer flags. About half way up the climb, we stop for a rest and refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria). We can get a tea and food there. Then after the short distance from cafeteria, we will reach to the viewpoint that overlooks Taktsang. We can take the best photos of Taktsang from the viewpoint. The main Lhakhang was built around Guru Rimpoche’s meditation cave in 1684 by the Penlop of Paro, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgay. Located at an elevation of over 900 meters into the valley below, Taktsang is the birthplace of Buddhism in Bhutan. Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), flew here on the back of a flying tiger, Dorji Drolo- said to be his favourite consort.

On the way back, visit Kichu Lhakhang, built in 659 A.D by the built by a Tibetan emperor called Songtsen Gampo in 659.

- Songtsen Gampo: He was a 33rd Tibetan king who married a Chinese princess, Wencheng in 641 as a part of her dowry was a statue called “Jowo” which was an Indian image of Buddha, Sakyamuni as a small boy. In 659, He decided to build 108 Temples in a single day to pin the Ogress to the earth forever and, at the same time, convert the Tibetan people to Buddhism. Kyichu Lhakhang was one of that which was built on the different points of the giant ogress body that troubled Tibet and Himalayas by lying across the land. 6 of these Temples lie in Bhutan, most prominent of them are Jambay Lhakhang in Bumthang and Kichu Lhakhang in Paro. Kichu Lhakhang is said to hold the left foot of the Ogress and Jambay Lhakhang pins the left knee.
In the evening, drive to Thimphu. On the way to Thimphu, we can view Tamchog Monastery-a private monastery built by Thangthong Gyalpo (Popularly known as Lama Chazampa, which means the Iron Bridge builder) in the 15th century. It is situated along the Paro Chhu river

- Thang Thong Gyalpo (1385 – 1464) was a Tibetan lama who built 108 bridges across Tibet and Bhutan, out of which 8 were built in Bhutan. His only surviving bridge is in Duksum (Tashi Yangtse in Eastern Bhutan).

Dinner and overnight in Hotel Migmar or similar. www.hotelmigmar.com

3

Thimphu Sightseeing

After breakfast, visit the National Memorial Chorten, a monument dedicated to the Third King of Bhutan His Late Majesty King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. The Memorial chorten is located at a walking distance from the main town of Thimphu. It is a Tibetian style stupa and also known as Jangchub Chorten. Thousands of people circumambulate this stupa everyday. Mornings and evenings are the best time to visit this chorten.

Then visit the National Library, which is located at Changgangkha area of Thimphu. The library gives the permanent home for sacred religious books and collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts. Then the visit is followed by visit to Painting School, National Institute of Zorig Chusum. It is famous for Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts that include carving and free hand art.

After lunch we drive to the Traditional Medicine Institute where medicines are prepared according to ancient practices, and to Lungtenzampa to observe the Royal silver smiths and Bhutanese paper factory at work. Other places of interest include a visit to the Tashichho Dzong, seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan).

Dinner and overnight in Hotel Migmar or similar.

4

Thimphu Sightseeing

After breakfast, visit Folk Heritage Museum, Textile Museum, and Changangkha Lhakhang and Philatelic office. We finally visit the Handicrafts Emporium followed by shopping for souvenirs in the shops of Thimphu.
Dinner and overnight in Hotel Migmar or similar.

5

Thimphu - Punakha

After breakfast, drive to Punakha via Dochula pass (3140m). If the weather is clear, we stop for a while at Dochula pass to view Higher Himalayas. The 108 Chortens at Dochula pass gives the passer the beauty of the fresh and high altitude vegetation.
Drive further to Punakha. On the way, stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang also called the “Temple of Fertility” built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley who is popularly known as “The Divine Mad Man” in 15th century. The Lhakhang is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some beautiful slate carvings. In addition to, there is a Bodhi tree which is believed to be brought from Bodhgaya. The childless women pray to a fertility goddess here.

- Lama Drukpa Kuenley (1455 – 1529) was one of the Bhutan’s Favourite Saints who was born in Tibet, trained at Ralung Monastery and was a contemporary and a disciple of Pema Lingpa. He Travelled throughout Bhutan and Tibet as a “Neljorpa” (Yogi) leading a lewd lifestyle to dramatize his teachings of Salvation.

After lunch, visit Punakha Dzong built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. Situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River), Punakha dzong is one of the Bhutan’s most beautiful dzongs. For many years it served as the center of Government until the 1950s when it was relocated to Thimphu. The dzong was built when the Zhabdrung took the architect, Zowe Palep in his dreams to Zangtopelri (Paradise) and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design. The Dzong was originally named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang which means the Palace of Great Bliss. The war materials captured during the battle with Tibetans are preserved here. Punakha is still the winter residence of Je-Khenpo. The best time to visit is on May when Jacaranda flowers will be blooming in the courtyard of the palace.

Dinner and overnight in Punatsangchhu Cottages or similar. www.punatshangchhucottages.bt

6

Punakha - Gangtey

After early breakfast, drive to Trongsa via. Gangtey. On the way, the sightseeing in the valley of Wangdiphodrang includes: visit to Wangdiphodrang Dzong (reconstructed) originally built in 1638. The significance of the Dzong is it depicts the flourish of Buddhism in four directions. The Dzong is situated at the union of Mo Chu and Tang Chu rivers. Drive further to Gangtey.
Visit Gangtey monastery also known as Gangtey Goempa, “The epitome of architectural heritage. It is located in the beautiful destination, Phobjikha valley of Bhutan. You can explore the globally endangered black necked cranes that make home in this valley.Gangtey Goempa is the largest Nyingma monastery in western Bhutan founded by Gyalse Pema Thinley, the grandson and reincarnation of Terton Pema Lingpa in 1613. Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation built the temple. At present the Gangtey Trulku Kunzang Pema Namgyal, the ninth reincarnation looks after the monastery. The packed lunch will be served at Gangtey.
Dinner and overnight in Theckchen Phodrang Guest House or similar.

7

Gangtey – Trongsa - Bumthang

After breakfast, drive to Trongsa. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest fortress in Bhutan built in its present form in 1647 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the official who was sent by Zhabdrung to unify eastern Bhutan. The dzong was further expanded by Desi Tenzin Rabgay in 1652. Trongsa serves both as the administrative and monastic centre for the district. Moreover, the Dzong is the ancestral home of the present Royal Family. Then Visit Trongsa Ta Dzong, an ancient watch tower. Ta dzong is located above the Trongsa dzong on the left bank of the Mangde River. It was built by Choeje Minjur Tenpa, the first governor of Trongsa in 1652. The watch tower now houses a museum. The Gesar Lhakhang inside Ta dzong is said to be the dedication to Trongsa Penlop Jigme Namgyal.

After Lunch, drive to Bumthang. Dinner and overnight in Swiss Guest House or similar. www.swissguesthouse.bt

8

Bumthang Sightseeing

After breakfast, drive to Bumthang. Lunch will be served at Bumthang. After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong, “The Castle of White Bird”. The current structure was rebuilt in 1667. The dzong acted as the fortress of defense of the central and easten Bhutan. Then visit Jambay Lhakhang which is said to be one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. It was built by King Srongsen Gampo of Tibet in the year 659 on the same day with Kichu Lhakhang in Paro to pin down an ogress to . The Lhakhang was visited by Guru Rimpoche during his visit to Bumthang and restored by Sindhu Raja after Guru Rimpoche returned his life force. One of the most spectacular festivals, Jambay Lhakhang Drup is hosted here for five days. The festival highlights the fire ritual in the evening where the crowds gather to watch the naked dance.

After lunch, visit Kurjey Lhakhang that is named after body print of Guru Rimpoche (Kur=body; Jey=Print). It was built in 1652 by Minjur Tempa. Kurjey is a very important place of pilgrimage for the Bhutanese and the Bhuddhist from all over the world. Then visit Tamshing Lhakhang (Temple of the good message), built in 1501 by Pema Lingpa. It is the important Nyingmapa temple in the country. It is famous for its collection of religious paintings. Its mother monastery is Lhalung in Tibet. Presently, the core missions of Tamshing are teaching the Dharma and providing religious services to the community.

Then visit Membartsho ( “The Burning Lake”), in the Tang Valley near Bumthang. It is associated with Guru Rinpoche and the Terton Pema Lingpa who discovered several of Guru Rimpoche’s hidden Terma / relics here.

Dinner and overnight in Swiss Guest House or similar.

9

Excursion to Ura valley & back to Bumthang

After breakfast, tour to the beautiful valley of Ura and visit Ura Temple built in 1982. The most important relic of the temple is copper made human size Guru Statue.
Dinner and overnight in Swiss Guest House or similar.

10

Bumthang –Wangdiphodrang

After breakfast, drive to Wangdiphodrang. Packed lunch will be served on the way. In the evening, visit a Farm House. Dinner and overnight Punatsangchhu Cottages or similar.

11

Wangdiphodrang -Thimphu

After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. After lunch, visit to the Tallest Statue of Buddha (Buddha Point), Motithang Takin Preserve and Sangay Gang view point.
Dinner and overnight in Hotel Migmar or similar.

12

Thimphu

After breakfast, excursion to Cheri monastery (2600 m) and Tango Monastery (2800 m ).
Tango and Cheri monasteries are the top of the list if you are looking for the day hikes.

- Tango monastery is 14 kilometres from Thimphu, the capital city. It belongs to the Drukpa Kagyu of Bhuddhism.
The monastery was built there by Drukpa Kuenley (The divine mad man) in 15th Century and built later by fourth desi, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel meditated and wrote down the Nga Chu Drugma (My sixteen accomplishments).

- Cheri Monastery, is a Bhuddhist monastery in Bhutan established in 1620 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal where he established his first monastic body.
In the evening, walk into the town and visit Handicraft emporium.
Dinner and overnight in Hotel Migmar or similar.

13

Paro

After breakfast, drive to Chelela Pass(3988m) to view the scenery. Chelela separates Haa and Paro valley. On a clear day, you can view the peaks of Mt. Jumolhari and Jichu Drake. After lunch, visit to a Bhutanese Farm House to see their daily life style and way of living.
Dinner and overnight in Tashi Namgay Resort or similar.

14

Departure

Early morning, drive to Airport and Farewell.

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