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Bhutan: Land of Dragon with Thimphu Festival

Overview

Apart from its remarkable natural beauty, the Kingdom of Bhutan is also famous for its rich culture and heritage. The country holds a number of magnificent and colorful festivals every year based on religious beliefs. Tshechus, as the most dramatic religious festival of Bhutan, is usually performed in different regions, including Paro and Thimphu. From traditional mask dances to folk music and rituals, this Tshechu festival plays an important role in the lives of the Bhutanese people and also attracts thousands of tourists from all over the world every year.



Trip Highlights

  • VISIT THE CULTURAL AND HISTORICAL HERITAGE SITES SUCH AS FORTRESSES, BHUTANESE MONASTERIES, AND TEMPLES
  • HIKE TO TAKTSANG (TIGER'S NEST) MONASTERY - ONE OF BHUTAN'S MOST SACRED PLACES
  • THIMPHU FESTIVAL WITH CULTURAL MUSIC & DANCES
  • VISIT TASHICHHO DZONG IN PUNAKHA DZONG AND SEE THE BEAUTIFUL ARCHITECTURE OF THE FORTRESSES
  • VISIT THE BEAUTIFUL DOCHULA PASS FROM WHERE YOU CAN GET A SPECTACULAR VIEW OF THE HIMALAYAS
  • EXPLORE THE BEAUTIFUL VALLEY OF PHOBJIKHA, THE WINTER HOME OF THE BLACK-NECKED CRANES
  • SEE HOW PEOPLE LIVE AND LEARN ABOUT THE TRADITIONAL ARTS AND CRAFTS OF BHUTAN
  • EXPERIENCE THE LOCAL CULTURE AND TASTE BHUTANESE CUISINE
  • VISIT THE BHUTANESE FARMHOUSE AND ENJOY A HOT MEDICINAL STONE BATH



ITINERARY - 10 Days

Bhutan is the Land of the Thunder Dragon. After reaching Paro International Airport, you will be received by our representative on arrival.

Today, we will take it easy to acclimatize to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu, check in to the hotel and later go for an evening walk around the Thimphu city.

Bhutanese dinner will be served today. Overnight stay will be at Thimphu.

Every year Festivals or Tshechu (“tenth day”) are held in various monasteries, temples, and dzongs across Bhutan. It is mainly a religious event celebrated on the 19th day of the month of Lunar Calendar corresponding to the birthday of Guru Padmasambhava, an 8th-century Buddhist teacher.

In Tshechu festival, a number of sacred events are conducted to spread happiness and entertain the visitors by enlightening their minds in a holistic way. Thimphu festival is a sacred event conducted by fully ordained monks and enlightened masters.

First-day Tshechu Program: After breakfast at 9 am:

Morning: Tshechu Starts from 9.30 -10.00 AM at Tendrel Thang (Ground next to Tashichho Dzong). After every mask dance, a cultural dance is performed.

Zhana Cham (Dance of the Black Hats) Costume: Large black hat, felt boots and long, colorful brocade dress.

Zhana Nga Cham (Dance of the Black Hats with Drums) Costume: A large black hat, boots, long colorful brocade, and drums are played with curved drumsticks.

Bardo Raksha Mangchm (Dance of the Judgment of the Dead) Costume: A knee-length skirt and animal masks. Twenty-eight dancers comprise the full retinue, all of whom wear masks depicting different animal faces. This dance explains and demonstrates how the animal-faced guardian deities in the Bardo state judge the deceased’s evil and virtuous deeds. Scenes from the Dance of the Judgment of the Dead.

Overnight will be at Thimphu.

Tamzhing Ter Cham: Costume: White serene-looking mask, knee-length yellow skirt and bell, and little drum in hand.

Ging Tsoling (Dance of Ging and Tsoling) Costume: The Tsoling wears long colorful brocade dresses and terrifying masks. The Ging wears orange skirts, terrifying blue and orange masks with a flag on top, and holds a drum and curved drumsticks.

Kyecham Phole Mole (Dance of Noblemen and Ladies) Costume: Knee-length yellow skirt, animal masks

Guru Tshen Gye (Dance of the Eight Manifestations of Guru Rinpoche): Costume: Long colorful brocade dress with different masks

Rigma Chhudrug (Dance of the 16 Dakinis): Costume: Long colorful brocade dresses with a bone apron and golden crowns

This dance is performed to honor Guru Rinpoche during Guru Tshengyed Dance and bring forth his blessings. The Dakinis embody all-female Buddhas and the Wisdom-Emptiness that is the source of good qualities and knowledge.

Overnight will be at Thimphu.

After breakfast, we will drive to Cheri Monastery. Cheri Monastery is the first monastery in Bhutan, built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1620 and established the first monk body here. Cheri is still a very important place for meditation retreats.

Returning from Cheri Monastery, we will have a dry picnic at the junction of a way to Cheri and Lingshi Dzong.

After lunch, drive back to Thimphu, on the way we can see Pangri Zampa. Here is the center of learning traditional astrology.

Evening walk to Dzangdopelri Lhakhang near Sunday Market.

Drive to Punakha after breakfast. Pass by:

Simtokha Dzong - Five miles from Thimphu, on a lofty ridge, stands Simtokha Dzong the oldest fortress in the Kingdom, built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1629 and it is said to be the 1st Dzong built in Bhutan. It was once attacked by the Tibetians and the leader of the coalition, Palden lama was killed. Later on, the expansion and restoration were performed by the Third Druk Desi Mingyur Tenpa in the 1670s. This site said to guard the demon that vanished into the rock nearby and hence it was named Simtokha.

Dochula Pass: (3140m) The 108 Chorten was built by the present Queen Mother of Bhutan Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate Bhutan’s victory over Indian militants. From here visitors can see the serene Bhutan Himalaya mountains & snow. At the same time, they can visit Druk Wangyel Lhakhang. In Druk Wangyel Lhakhang visitors can see images of the fourth king battling rebels in the jungle, monks with laptops and Druk airplane, alongside a modern history of the kingdom.

Reach Punakha and check in to the hotel. Lunch at Lobesa Cafeteria

After lunch, short walk to Chimi Lhakhang

Chimi Lhakhang- The yellow-roofed Chimi Lhakhang was built-in 1499 by the cousin of Lama Drukpa Kinley in his honor after he dispirited the witch using his wisdom at Dochula. The women who can not bear child, go to this temple to seek the blessings from the saint.

Overnight will be at Punakha.

After breakfast, we will drive to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten. 7 kms north of Punakha is the huge Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, perched high on a hill on the opposite bank of the river. The 30m-tall Chorten (also known as the Nyzergang Lhakhang) took eight years to build and was consecrated in 1999. The Chorten is dedicated to the fifth king and serves to protect the country.

Punakha Dzong: It was built and served as the capital and seat of government until Thimphu was promoted to the top job in the mid-1950s. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche had prophesized that a person by the name of Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like an elephantand build the dzong. When Zhabdrung went to Punakha he selected the tip of the trunk of the sleeping elephant at the junction of the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu to build a dzong which is now famous as the Punakha Dzong.

Overnight will be at Punakha.

In the morning drive to Paro post breakfast.

Reach and check in to the hotel. Post lunch proceed for sightseeing at Paro valley.

Paro Dzong:

Paro Dzong is also known as Rinpung Dzong. This 15th-century massive fortress/monastery is also the administrative center of the dzongkhag. The correct name of the dzong is Rinchen Pung Dzong but in short people call it Rinpung Dzong meaning ‘fortress on a heap of jewels’. The dzong survived the 1897 earthquake but it got severely damaged by fire in 1907. It was formerly the meeting hall for National Assembly both for the monastic bodies and the district government.

An evening walk around the Paro town and then dinner.

Overnight will be at the hotel in Paro.

After breakfast drive to Ramthongkha.

Hike uphill for about 3 hours to Taktsang Monastery (Tiger's Nest). This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3,000 ft above the valley floor. It is a very sacred Monastery for the Bhutanese people who believe that it must be visited at least once in their lifetime.

In the evening experience a unique hot stone bath to relieve all aches & pains followed by typical Bhutanese dinner in an old traditional Bhutanese house.

Overnight will be at Paro.

Visit Ta Dzong, the National Museum housed in an ancient watchtower, which has a fine collection of ancient Thangka paintings, textiles, weapons, and artifacts. Also, visit Paro Rimpung Dzong and a traditional wooden cantilever bridge.

Sightseeing includes visiting Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan built in the 7th century AD and Drugyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where the Bhutanese once repelled Tibetan invaders.

Evening stroll through Paro town.

Overnight will be at Paro.

Early morning drive to Paro airport for departure. Your tour representative will see you off at the airport.

TOUR ENDS!



More Details

HOTELS: STANDARD HOTELS

DESTINATIONAS MENTIONED OR SIMILARNO OF NIGHTS
THIMPHUHOTEL PEDLING/ PHUNTSHO PELRI / THIMPU TOWER02
GANGTEYDEWACHEN/ GAKILING / ODIYANA/ DHANGSAR01
PUNAKHADHUMRA FARM / ZANGTOPERLI / DAMCHEN / YT KHURU / PUNATSANGSHU02
PAROEYE OF THE TIGER / OLATHANG / TENZINLING / NAMSAYCHOLING03



Cost & Terms

TOUR PRICE: PER PERSON

PER PERSON ON TWIN/DOUBLE OCCUPANCY

USD 3399

PER PERSON ON SINGLE OCCUPANCY

USD 4830

TOUR TO INCLUDE:

  • ACCOMMODATION AT MENTIONED HOTELS ON DOUBLE OCCUPANCY AND/OR SINGLE OCCUPANCY,
  • DAILY BREAKFAST & DINNERS AT THE HOTELS,
  • ASSISTANCE AT AIRPORT ON ARRIVAL & DEPARTURE,
  • LUNCH AT LOCAL RESTAURANTS/HOTELS,
  • PRIVATE CHAUFFER DRIVEN VEHICLE FOR ALL SIGHTSEEING TOURS AND TRANSFERS,
  • ALL SIGHTSEEING TOURS AS LISTED IN THE ITINERARY,
  • LOCAL ENGLISH-SPEAKING GUIDES FOR SIGHTSEEING,
  • ENTRANCE FEES WHEREVER APPLICABLE,
  • ONE HOT STONE BATH EXPERIENCE,
  • THIMPHU FESTIVAL EXPERIENCE,
  • SERVICE OF BHUTAN VISA PROCESSING,
  • ALL INLAND TRAVEL PERMITS,
  • RGOB ROYALTIES AND TAXES,
  • VISA FEES OF BHUTAN,
  • ALL APPLICABLE GOVERNMENT TAXES.

SPECIAL PRIVILEGES INCLUDED:

  • TWO BOTTLES (500 ml each) MINERAL WATER PER PERSON PER DAY IN THE VEHCILE, AND
  • DEDICATED 24/7 TOUR MANAGER / COORDINATOR FOR TOUR.

TOUR TO EXCLUDE:

  • TIPS AND GRATUITIES TO CHAUFFEUR AND GUIDE,
  • EXPENSES OF PERSONAL NATURE,
  • CAMERA FEES AT MONUMENTS AND MONASTERIES,
  • INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS TO AND FROM THE US,
  • TRAVEL INSURANCE,
  • ANY OTHER SERVICES NOT MENTIONED IN INCLUSION LIST.

NOTE:

THE HOTELS ARE SUBJECT TO CHANGE AS PER AVAILABILITY. INCASE OF HIGHER NUMBER OF ROOMS IN A GROUP, IT MIGHT BE SPLIT OVER MORE THAN ONE HOTEL.




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