India
Location
14 days
Duration
8/10
Physicality

Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection.

DEPARTURE/RETURN LOCATION Paro
TOUR DURATION 14 Days
TOUR ROUTE Paro – Thimphu – Gangtey – Bumthang – Punakha – Paro

 

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Day 01: Paro-Thimphu

Bhutan’s first gift to you as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative, and afterwards drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan with enroute stop at Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Three different style of stupas; Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese adorn this confluence. Shortly before reaching Chuzom, you will see on your left TschogangLhakhang, “the temple of the excellent horse”. It is a private temple, built in 15th century, as the result of visitation from Balaha, the excellent horse, a manifestation of Chenrezig, the compassionate Buddha.

On arrival in Thimphu, check-into the hotel. The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions.

In the afternoon visit to King’s Memorial Chorten continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.

Later drive to Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around. The area also provides excellent view of the Thimphu valley from the west.
Evening take an exploratory leisure walk around Thimphu Main Street.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu (Altitude 2400m).

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Day 02: Thimphu

Morning after breakfast Excursion to Tango Goempa: (it is about 20 minutes’ drive till the motorable road and after that the walk start. From motorable road it is about 2 hrs walk, including both way).

This monastery was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa in the 12th century and the present building was built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’, Lama DrukpaKunley. In 1616 SshabdrungNgawangNamgyal visited Tango and meditated in a cave near the monastery. His meditation helped ensure the defeat of an invading Tibetan army.
The picturesque three-storey tower and several surrounding buildings were built in the 18th century by the eighth Desi, Druk Rabgye and ShabdrungJigmeChhogyel added the golden roof in the 19th century.

Afternoon visit the National Library, the library houses an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts;

Later in the afternoon visit Textile Museum. With the opening of Textile Museum, Bhutanese textile have reached new heights as one of the most visible distinct art form. Then visit ‘Simply Bhutan’, an exclusive project under Bhutan Youth Development Fund built to offer a unique experience to its visitors. It is a living museum and studio encapsulating the cultural heritage of Bhutanese people.

Evening can be spent strolling through the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts bazaar, to browse through example of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, interesting items made from local materials.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. Altitude 2400m

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Day 03: Thimphu-Gangtey

After early breakfast, drive to Gangtey across Dochu-la pass (3,088m/ 10,130 ft) stopping briefly here to take in the view and admire the chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If skies are clear, the following peaks can be seen from this pass (left to right): Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m ), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m), Kangphugang (7,170 m), Zongphugang (7, 060 m), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana – finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.

Continue your drive to Gangtey. Upon arrival, proceed for check-in at your hotel.
The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space, and extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valleys are tightly enclosed.

Evening take a stroll around fascinating Gangtey Village. (Altitude 3000m)

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Day 04: Gangtey

Morning visit Gangtey Goempa.

Perched on a small hill that rises from the valley floor, the Gangtey Monastery is the only Nyingmapa monastery on the western side of the Black Mountain’s and also the biggest Nyingmapa monastery in Bhutan. The Monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens who take care of the Monastery.

Later explore fascinating Phobjikha valley.

This place is the winter home of black necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains in the north to pass winter winter in milder and lower climate. Phobjikha, at an altitude of 2900 m, falls under the district of Wangduephodrang and lies on the periphery of the Black Mountain National Park.

Also visit Black Necked Crane Information Centre. Situated on the edge of the forest and wetland along the main road of Phobjikha valley, the black-necked crane information Centre has an observation room equipped with high power telescope and spotting scopes for catching the best view of the cranes.

Overnight at the hotel in Gangtey (Altitude 3000m).

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Day 05: Gangtey

Day excursion to Tangjey Lhakhang (3050 mtr) (Distance 10-12 km approx, 4-5 hrs)

After leisurely breakfast at hotel we set out on a day hike toward the southeast direction through the vegetation of dwarf bamboos that adorns the Phobjikha valley where the rare species of Black Necked Cranes resides during winter (beginning of November till mid-March). After an hour of easy hike we reach small settlement of Kilkhorthang, village. After a short rest to enjoy the dramatic landscape of the valley we continue towards Tangjey thru vegetable fields & orchards. Tangjey Lhakhang (temple) is dedicated to Lord Buddha and its local protective deity Yeshi Goempa. The original foundation of the temple dates back to 1517 – 1554. After a thorough scanning of the temple we head back to hotel crossing a wooden bridge over the crystal clear river. A day can be ended with a little celebration of locally distilled traditional drink.

Overnight at hotel in Gangtey (Phobjikha) (approx 5 hours round trip walk – moderate)

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Day 06: Gangtey- Trongsa

After breakfast drive to Trongsa across Pelela pass (3100m). Enroute visit to Chendbji Chorten, the stupa patterned on Swayambhunath in Kathmandu with eyes painted at four cardinal points. It was built in the 18th century by Lama Shida from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot.

Also visit the striking Trongsa Dzong, ancestral abode of Bhutan’s royal family. Built in 1648 as the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second kings of Bhutan ruled the country from this ancient seat. All four kings were invested as Trongsa Penlop (‘governor’) prior to ascending the throne. The Dzong is a massive structure with many levels, sloping down the contours of the ridge on which it is built.

Then proceed on to Bumthang across Yutong la pass (3,400m). Enroute visit Chumey valley and Yathra (woollen fabric) weaving center and villages.

Overnight at the lodge in Bumthang (Altitude 3000m).

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Day 07: Bumthang

After breakfast proceed for the tour of Bumthang valley: Bumthang is the general name given to combination of four valleys – Chumey, Choekhor, Tang and Ura with altitude varying from 2,600m to 4,000m. It is home to many of prominent Buddhist temples and monasteries.

Visit Kurje Lhakhang, where the saint Padma Sambhava subdued a local demon and left his body imprint on a rock, the Jambey Lhakhang (7th century temple), Tamshing Lhakhang (housing some of the oldest wall paintings in Bhutan) and Jakar Dzong (administrative center of the region). Stroll in the village, visit the little handicrafts shop at the entrance to the town, and perhaps take refreshments at a local restaurant.

Afternoon take a short hike to Lhodrak Kharchhu Monastery: Located above the main town, about 3 km from Chamkhar town, the monastery was founded by Namkhai Nyingpo Rinpoche in 1984 who was recognized at a very young age by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama and H.H. 16th Karmapa as the reincarnation of a Tibetan lama.

Overnight at the hotel in Bumthang (Altitude 3000m).

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Day 08: Bumthang

After breakfast excursion to Ura Valley: Jakar (Bumthang central) to Ura is 48 km, about one-and-a-half-hour drive. To reach here, the road climbs through Bhutan’s amazingly open countryside, only occasionally running into forest. Large sheep pastures line the road up to 20 km behind the southern tip of the Tang valley. The route crosses Ura la pass (3,600m) with a magnificent view of Mount. Gangkhar Puensum. Villages in Ura have clustered houses, which is quite unusual in Bhutan. Above Ura village (3,100m) is a new temple dedicated to Guru Rinpoche. Inaugurated in 1986, it contains a huge statue of the master and remarkable paintings of the cycle of his teachings. Since last 35 years Ura has been transformed from a marginal community to prosperous valley.

Evening at leisure.

Overnight at the Hotel in Bumthang (Altitude 3000m)

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Day 09: Bumthang-Punakha

After breakfast, drive to Punakha enroute visit Ta Dzong in Trongsa, a cylindrical stone structure rising five storeys, was built in 1652 by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, a task entrusted to him by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. After more than 350 years, it has been resurrected into a classy museum that represents a tasteful blend of tradition and modernity.

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha (1300m)

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Day 10: Punakha

Morning after breakfast proceed for an excursion to Chimi Lhakhang (from hotel it is about 15 minutes’ drive till motorable road and then walk starts through paddy fields and villages. This is total about 1.1/2 hour walk, including both way). The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, also known as the temple of fertility. A walk through the village near the temple will give you rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villager’s life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting
In the afternoon visit Punakha Dzong, a massive structure built at the junction of two rivers. It was the capital of Bhutan until 1955, and still serves as the winter residence of the monk body.

Followed by a visit to the Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang nunnery: Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangdue Phodrang, gleams the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang(Temple). The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong).

The temple complex also houses a permanent higher learning and meditation centre for nuns where, apart from religious trainings, it provides life skill training such as tailoring, embroidery, statue making and thangka painting.

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha

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Day 11: Punakha

Today you will embark on a walking excursion to Limbukha Village: Drive towards Punakha Dzong and later walk across the suspension bridge (about 200m long) through absolutely fresh breeze and fascinating view of Dzong. Follow the farm houses gradually climbing towards Dompala hills. The view of Dzong, Pho Chhu, Mo Chhu rivers and surrounding village is superb amidst chirpine forests. The climb is another two and a half hours to Limbukha. Limbukha is also known for its love of peace and tranquillity. Legends says that during medieval wars the “limpus” or the people of Limbukha always volunteered as peace negotiators.

You will probably have a picnic lunch today.

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha. (Altitude 1,300m)

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Day 12: Punakha-Paro

Morning after breakfast drive to Paro, Enroute visit Simtokha Dzong, the oldest fortress of the country which now houses the school for Buddhist studies. This Dzong, built in 1627 is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies.

Upon arrival check in at the Hotel.

Afternoon visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum.

Afterwards, walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, which has a long and fascinating history. Built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the first spiritual and temporal ruler of Bhutan, the Dzong houses the monastic body of Paro, the office of the Dzongda (district administrative head) and Thrimpon (judge) of Paro district. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also the venue of Paro Tshechu, held once a year in the spring.

Overnight at the Hotel in Paro (Altitude 2200m)

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Day 13: Paro

Today will be a full day excursion to Taktshang Lhakhang or Tiger’s Nest (approx 5 hrs walk): perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro Valley floor, it is undoubtedly one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries. Lore has it that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery thus the name ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as a most sacred place and visited by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. On 19 April, 1998, a fire severely damaged the main structure of building but now this Bhutanese jewel has been restored to its original splendor.

Afternoon drive to Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, “mountain of goddess” can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong. Enroute visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. Later return to the hotel.

Overnight at the Hotel in Paro (Altitude 2200m)

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Day 14: Depart Paro

Today after breakfast, we proceed for Jodhpur by road (approx 270 kms – 6 hrs drive).
Also called “Blue City” Jodhpur, was founded in the year 1459 AD by Rao Jodha and is famous for its magnificent forts and palaces.
Lunch en route at a local restaurant. Afternoon You arrive and check into the hotel at Jodhpur by afternoon.
Post lunch proceed for a fascinating tour of the “Blue city”, which includes a visit to the massive 15th Mehrangarh Fort, within which are rooms with a rich collection of palanquins, elephant howdahs, musical instruments, costumes, furniture and an armory. The Canon displayed here is one of the best in India. Close to the fort is the “Jaswant Thada” a white marble.
Overnight stay at hotel
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