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7 Nights 8 Days Cultural Tour

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Itinerary

Day 1 | Arrival at Paro, Bhutan

Thimphu (alt.2400m/7875ft)

Thimphu is the capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce. A unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. Although not what one expects from a capital city, Thimphu is still a fitting and lively place. Home to civil servants, expatriates and monk body, and maintains a strong national character in its architectural style.
Thimphu has a population about 100,000. The town is made up of just three lines of shops and is the only capital in the world without traffic lights.

Memorial Chorten

This stupa was built in 1974 in the memory of Bhutan's third King, His Late Majesty, King JigmeDorjiWangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy

Buddha Point(KuenselPhodrang)

Located at a short drive from Thimphu city centre, visitors can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley from the Buddha point (KuenselPhodrang). You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley

Trashichhoedzong

Also known as "fortress of the glorious religion", it was initially built in 1641 and later rebuilt in its present form by King JigmeDorjiWangchuk in 1965. The Dzong houses, main secretariat building which houses the throne room of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. The National Assembly Hall is housed in a modern building on the other side of the river from the Dzong. During the warmer summer months, the monk body headed by His Holiness, the Je Khenpo, makes its home in the Dzong.

Day 2 | Thimphu – Punakha

Punakha (alt. 1300m/4265ft)

Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan until and still it is the winter seat of Je Khenpo (the chief abbot). Blessed with temperate climate and owing to its natural drainage from Pho Chhu (male) and Mo Chhu (female) rivers, the Punakha valley produces abundant crops and fruits. There are splendid views of the distant Himalayas at Dochula pas (alt. 3,050m) on Thimphu – Punakha road.

Punakha  Dzong

Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637, by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region, Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan's history. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King. The Dzong is open for visitors during Punakha festival and in summer months when the monk body moves to Thimphu.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten
A beautiful hike takes one to the regal KhamsumYuelleyNamgelChorten, which was built to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond.

Day 3 | Punakha – Bumthang (En route Trongsa)

Bumthang or Jakar valley (alt. 2600m-4500m / 8530ft-14765ft)

Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprising of four smaller valleys namely Tang, Ura, Choekhor and Chumey, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Bumthang is also the traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Linga to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its origin.

Trongsa Dzong

Like almost all towns in the Kingdom, this Dzong architecture dominates the entire Trongsa horizon dwarfing the surrounding buildings. Built in 1648, it was the seat of power over central and eastern Bhutan. Both the first and second King ruled the country from this ancient seat.

Protected from invaders by an impenetrable valley, Trongsa Dzong is an impregnable fortress. The Dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. It is built on many levels into the side of the hill and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa heralding its strength as a defensive stronghold.

Chendbji Chorten

Approximate four hours’ drive from Wangduephodrang is ChendbjiChorten, patterned on Swayambhunath temple in Kathmandu. It was built in 18th century by Lama Shida, from Tibet, to cover the remains of an evil spirit that was subdued at this spot.

Pele La Pass

Pele la pass (3420m), is marked by a Chorten and an array of prayer flags. On a clear day (which is rare in these parts) mount Jhomolhari (7314m)&JichuDrakye (6989m) are visible. Pele La pass marks the western border of JigmeSingyeWangchuck (formerly the Black Mountains) National Park and is the gateway to central Bhutan.

Yotongla Pass 

Yotongla Pass at 11,000 ft altitude is the highest pass. It is quite strange that from early April and May, we do not see snow at this height. Top of the pass is fully covered by mist most of the time. Prayer flags hang on top of the pass.

Day 4 | Bumthang Sightseeing

Bumthang or Jakar valley (alt. 2600m-4500m / 8530ft-14765ft)

Bumthang has an individuality that charms its visitors and separates it from other regions. Comprising of four smaller valleys namely Tang, Ura, Choekhor and Chumey, the deeply spiritual region of Bumthang is shrouded in religious legend. Bumthang is also the traditional home to the great Buddhist teacher Pema Linga to whose descendants the present dynasty traces its origin.

JambayLhakhang  

 This monastery was built in the 7th century by Tibetan King, SongtsenGampo. It is one of the 108 monasteries built by him to subdue evil spirits in the Himalayan region. Its present architectural appearance dates from the early 20th century.

KurjeLhakhang  

Situated before JambayLhakhang, KurjeLhakhang consists of three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652 on the rack face where Guru meditated in the 8th century. Second temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of Guru's body and is therefore considered the most holy. The third temple was built in 1990s by AshiKesang, the Queen Mother. These three temples are surrounded by a 108 Chorten wall.

Tamshing Lhakhang 

Located across the river from KurjeLhakhang, this temple was founded in 1501 by Terton PemaLingpa, the re-incarnation of Guru Padsambhava. The monastery has very ancient religious paintings like 1,000 Buddhas and 21 Taras (female form of Buddhistava). The temple was restored at the end of the 19th century.

Membartsho (The Burning Lake)

Tang valley is a wide spot on the Tang Chhu (chhu - water / river) and is considered to be one of the greatest pilgrimage sites of Bhutan. PemaLinga found several of Guru Rinpoche's hidden treasures here. The importance of this site is indicated by the extensive array of prayer flags and the small clay offerings called 'TseTsa' in rock niches.

Day 5 | Bumthang - Gangtey

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’sGangtey valley, Bhutan 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.Gangtey was founded by PemaTrinley, the grandson of PemaLingpa, the famous Nyingmapa saint of Bhutan. In 1613, PemaTrinleyestablish the monastery and became the first Gangtey Tulku. The religious traditions of PemaLingpa still taught there. The second Tulku, Tenzin LegpaDondrup (1645 to 1726), enhanced the size of Gangtey while keeping up good relations with Drukpas, and rebuilt the monastery in the form of a Dzong.

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. The centre also offers display information that outline the natural and cultural history of the area. There is a small gift shop, which sells handicrafts produced by the local people.

Day 6 | Gangtey - Paro

Dochula Pass

Dochula pass is located on the way to Punakha  and Wangduephodrang districts from Thimphu. This pass is popular tourists spot due to its ideal location from where one can enjoy 360 degree of beautiful panoramic view of Himalayan mountain range, especially on clear winter days. The beauty/attraction of this place is further enhanced by DrukWangyalChortens-108 stupa built by the eldest Queen Mother Her Majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck to commemorate the expulsion of Assamese guerrillas.

Chimi Lhakhang

The ChimiLhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama DrukpaKuenley, who in the late 15th century used humour, songs and outrageous behavior 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 fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning "field". It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to ChimiLhakhang

Day 7 | Paro

Taktshang Lhakhang (Tiger's Nest) 

It is one of the most famous of Bhutan's monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called "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 splendour.

Kyichu Lhakhang                               

It is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is JambeyLhakahng in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, SongtsenGampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. AshiKesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in original pattern.

 Rinpung Dzong                                 

Built in 1646 by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal , 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 NemiZam. 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.

 Drukgyel Dzong

This Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 1646 by ShabdrungNgawangNamgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invaders. Historically and strategically this Dzong withstood all its glory and was featured in 1914 vide National Geographic magazine. The glory of Drukgyel Dzong remained even when it was destroyed by fire in 1951. On a clear day, one can see the commanding view of Mount. Chomolhari from the village, below the Dzong.

Day 8 | Departure

After breakfast, drive to the airport and depart.