Flight into Paro with Bhutan flight, Bhutan’s Airlines/ Druk air is spectacular. The flight takes you over the great Himalayas, offering most amazing scenery of the world’s highest mountains. As you enter beautiful Paro valley, you will see the Paro Dzong (fortress or castle) on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu (river), with Ta Dzong, formerly a watch tower and now National Museum, above it. On arrival you will be greeted by our representative and drive to Thimphu. The first stop will allow you to view the magnificent Tachogang Lhakhang, the hereditary place of worship for Bhutan’s Iron Bridge Builder and further drive will reach to Chuzom marks by the confluence of Paro Chu (river) and the Wang chu. Opposite of you, at the confluence, are three protecting chortens each built in a different style. Evening stroll through the market and mingle with the local people and visit shops. Overnight at Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 2. Thimphu
After breakfast we will explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at a altitude of 2,300m. First stop we drive up to Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha point) to see the 169 feet bronze Buddha Dordenma image which fits exactly on a one-acre land and will be completed with 17 storeys of different Lhakhangs (monasteries) within it, including the throne. Kuensel Phodrang offers a panoramic view overlooking the Thimphu valley. Then we stop at the National Memorial Chhorten which was constructed by the revered Dung–se Rinpoche at the behest of the late Royal Grandmother Ashi Phuntsho Chhodron in 1974 in memory of her son the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who died in 1972. The chhorten contains paintings and sculptures of excellent quality and reflects the devout faith of the Bhutanese. Then we will travel north of Thimphu to Pangri Zampa Monastery, situated just beyond Decholing Palace (5 km. from Thimphu). This temple was the first residence of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal when he arrived in Bhutan in 1616 A.D. Ngawang Chogyel, the great ancestor of the Shabdrung, built it during the first quarter of the 16th century. We will have lunch at the Folk Heritage Museum which also provides you a glimpse of lifestyle, items and artifacts of Bhutanese villages and rural households. Besides the display, the museum also organizes demonstrations of rural traditions, skills, habits and customs, educational programs for children and research and documentation on rural life of Bhutan. We will then visit the Zorig Chhusum ( School of arts and Craft) . At the Painting School, children follow a course in religious drawing and painting, sculpturing, carving and mask making. After the visit to the Zorig Chhusum we will proceed to the Textile museum. The museum showcases the living national art of Bhutanese weaving. Operated by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs in Bhutan, the Museum was established in 2001. Since its establishment the
Day 3. Thimphu – Wangdue
After breakfast we will be travelling to the east onwards to Wangduephodrang through some of the Kingdom’s richest agricultural land and most dramatic river valleys. En-route we will stop over Dochu La, the 3050meter pass, snow-capped eastern Himalayan ranges can be seen on a clear day. Prayer flags will flutter you over the pass deeper into the essence of Bhutan. The beauty is further enhanced by the Druk Wangyal Chorten – 108 stupas built by the eldest Queen Mother. Wangdue district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and slate which are mined up a valley a few kilometres from the town. Sitting atop the ridge with a commanding view of the valleys below is the Wangduephodrang Dzong (recently caught fire in June 2012. Plans are there to reconstruct the Dzong). On reaching Wangdue, lunch will be served at the hotel and then we travel to Punakha. Punakha served as the capital town of Bhutan until 1955, and it is still the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot). Visit Punakha Dzong, located strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. The Dzong served as the religious and the administrative centre of Bhutan until the mid-1950s. It was here that the dual system of government was introduced in the early 17th century and the Bhutanese enthroned the first King, Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck in 1907. After visiting the Punakha dzong we will visit Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behaviour to dramatise his teachings and due to this also known as ‘Divine Madman’. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice
Day 4. Wangdue-Phobjikha-Wangdue
After breakfast we will drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black-necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit Gangtey Gompa (Monastery), the only Nyingmapa monastery which dates back to the 17th century in western Bhutan. The village of Phobjikha lies a few kilometer down from the monastery, on the valley floor. This quite, remote valley is the winter home of black necked cranes, which migrate from the arid plains of Tibet in the north, to pass the winter months in a milder climate. If you require s more information on the cranes we can also visit the information centre for the black necked crane run by the Royal Society for Preservation of Nature(RSPN). After lunch you can explore Gangtey village, Phobjikha valley and visit some farm houses and experience the life style in a villages. Later we will drive back to Wangdue and overnight at the hotel.
Day 5. Wangdue-Thimphu-Paro
After breakfast we drive back to Thimphu. En-route to Thimphu we will visit Simtokha Dzong. Simtokha means the place of profound tantric teaching. It is the oldest fortress in the Kingdom which was built in 1627, which now houses the School for Buddhist studies Lunch at Thimphu and we will head back to Paro. After checking in the hotel in Paro we will visit Kichu Lhakhang, a scared monument pinning down the left foot of a treacherous ogress, which is built in 659 A.D by the Tibetan king Srongsen Gampo. This Monastery is one of the 108 monasteries built across the Himalayan region by the Tibetan King to subdue the Demons that lay across the Himalayan region. The rest of the monasteries lie in other neighboring countries. In the evening you can take a stroll through Paro’s market area before returning to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel in Paro
Day 6. Paro
After breakfast we will take a hike to Taktsang Monastery. Taktsang meaning “Tiger’s Nest”, is built around a cave in which Guru Rimpoche (also known as Guru Padmasambhava) meditated. The monastery clings seemingly impossible to a cliff of rock at 914m above the valley floor. For the local people it is a place of pilgrimage, but for a tourist, a hike up to the viewpoint opposite the monastery is exhausting, thrilling and mystical. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche is said to have flown to the site of the monastery on the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave. We will have lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria and walk down to the base where you started the hike. In the afternoon we will drive to the beautiful valley to the watch tower or locally known as Ta-Dzong. The third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck housed it into the National museum in the 1960s. The seven floor museum highlights various aspects of Bhutanese culture and history dating back to the 7th century. If time permits we can try the traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language, has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak. Later in the evening after reaching the hotel a special farewell dinner will be serviced with a traditional dance show. Overnight at hotel in Paro
Day 7.Paro departure
Early morning, drive to the airport, your journey begins and a future pilgrimage to further explore the hearts and lands of the Kingdom’s charming farmers, fascinating weavers, enchanting monks and charismatic leaders awaits.