Paro Festival (11 days)

Paro Festival (11 days)

Paro Festival presents diverse facets of Bhutanese culture and religion. You will see flamboyant mask dances, folk dances, opera-like enactment of scenes, jesters, and not to mention huge crowds of people in their finery feasting on the dazzling sights or delicious local rice and sumptuous meat dishes. Our guide will guide you through mask and folk dances. The festival unfurls a huge scroll painting called thongdrol against the face of the building before dawn and the sheer number of people seeking blessing from it can keep you in the queue for hours on end.

Thongdrol means ‘liberation at sight’. The spiritual merit of seeing a thongdrol is so big that one will be liberated. No wonder that hundreds of people from nearby districts converge on the festival ground to get blessed.

Highlights of the tour:

  • Paro festival
  • Hike to the Tiger’s Nest
  • Phobjikha valley, the winter habitat of the rare and endangered black‐necked cranes
  • Visit the cultural and medieval times villages in Bumthang

Itinerary

  1. Arrive in Paro – Thimphu

The representatives from BCD-Bhutan Tours and Travels will receive you at the airport and drive you to Thimphu. Stop for a while on the way to visit Tamchog Lhakhang built by Thangtong Gyalpo. In the evening, take a stroll around Thimphu town, the only capital city without traffic lights.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Thimphu

Your day in Thimphu begins with a visit to National Institute of Zorig Chusum, the school of 13 traditional arts and crafts, where you can meet the students in their classes. Then, visit Folk Heritage Museum which provides a peek into a traditional Bhutanese farmhouse. Visit the 12th-century Changangkha Lhakhang and Takin Preserve (takin is Bhutan’s national animal) before lunch.

After lunch, visit National Memorial Choeten built in 1974 in memory of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. We then visit Thangtong Dewachen Nunnery before visiting Tashichho Dzong, the seat of the central government and the Central Monastic Body.

Dinner and overnight in a hotel

  1. Thimphu to Punakha

Drive to Punakha after breakfast. The first stop is at Dochula Pass (3,160 m). From Dochula, you can see the eastern Himalayan range if the weather fine. En-route, we will visit Chime Lhakhang, also known as the Temple of Fertility associated with Lam Drukpa Kunley, the Divine Madman. In the late afternoon, visit Punakha Dzong which stands at the confluence of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. The dzong was built in 1637 by the founder of the Bhutanese nation state and has been witness to defining moments of Bhutanese history. It is a fine example of Bhutan’s highly refined architectural skills.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Punakha to Trongsa to Bumthang

After breakfast, drive to Trongsa. After lunch, drive to the cultural heartland of Bhutan, Bumthang. On the way, stop at a Yathra textile handloom centre. You can watch weavers at their looms.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Bumthang sightseeing

Your day visit includes Jampa Lhakhang built in the 7th century by Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo followed by Kurjey Lhakhang which consists of three temples surrounded by 108 choetens (stupas). We then visit Tamzhing Lhakhang built in 1501 and known for its ancient religious paintings of a Thousand Buddhas and Twenty One Taras (female form of Bodhisattvas). After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong known as the ‘Castle of the White Bird’.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Bumthang to Ura

Today, we make an excursion to Ura valley. Explore the valley.

In the evening, drive to Bumthang. On the way back, visit Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), a sacred lake for the Bhutanese who believe that Terton (treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa discovered religious treasures from the lake.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Bumthang to Phobjikha

Today, we drive to the beautiful valley of Phobjikha, home to the rare black-necked crane. On the way, stop a while at Chendebji Choeten built on the model of Kathmandu’s Swayambhunath stupa with eyes painted on the four cardinal points.

After lunch, visit Gangtey Gonpa.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Phobjikha to Thimphu

After breakfast, visit the Crane Observation and Information Centre and then drive to Thimphu. Enroute, visit Rinchengang village where the houses are built with mud and stone.

Stop at Dochula Cafeteria for lunch.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Thimphu to Paro Festival

Attend the festival whole day.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Hike to Paro Taktshang

After breakfast, hike to Taktshang or Tiger’s Nest, one of the holiest Buddhist sites in the Himalayan region. The monastery clings to a rocky cliff about 90 0m above the valley floor. The uphill hike from the road point takes around 3 hours. Legend has it that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantric mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD, flew here on the back of a flying tigress and meditated for three months.

On the way back, visit Kyichu Lhakhang built in 659 A.D by Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.

Dinner and overnight stay in a hotel

  1. Departure

Drive to the airport and bid farewell.