CENTRAL BHUTAN CULTURAL TOUR   (08 DAYS)

Outline of the Tour

Day 01: Arrive to Paro International Airport then Drive to Thimphu.

Day 02: Thimphu (sightseeing)

Day 03: Thimphu to Gangtey

Day 04: Phobjikha to Bumthang.

Day 05: Bumthang (sightseeing)

Day 06: Bumthang back to Thimphu

Day 07: Thimphu to Paro

Day 08: Early morning transfer to Paro Airport for departure.

 

Detailed Itinerary

Day 01: After Arriving to Paro International Airport you will be driven to Thimphu.

(Elevation: 2,320m, Distance: 65km, Time: 1.2 hr)

  • On the way visit Tachogang Lhakhang. Tachogang Lhakhang, ‘temple of the hill of the excellent     horse’, rises in austere surroundings on the left bank of the river. This private temple was founded by the Tibetan saint, Thangtong Gyelpo (1385-1464), while he was meditating here, Thangtong Gyelpo had a vision of the excellent horse Balaha-an emanation of Avoloketeshvaras. He decided thereupon to build a temple at this spot in addition to one of his famous iron bridges (later carried away by floods in 1969).
  • Leisure in the Town.

Overnight in Thimphu Hotel

Day 02: Thimphu (sightseeing)

  • Visit Largest Buddha Statue.

Visit Buddha Dordenma Statue. It is a bronze statue gilded in gold. It is one of the largest Buddha Statue in the world, at a height of 51.5 metres (169 ft). The statue alone is being built at a cost of US$ 47 million by Aero sun Corporation of Nanjing, China, while the total cost of the Buddha Dordenma Project is well over US$ 100 million.

  • Visit National Library.

Visit the National Library, established in 1967. Among the highly prized collections, there is a book reported to be the heaviest in the world, weighing 59 kilograms (130 lb), known as “Bhutan Visual Odyssey Across the Last Himalayan Kingdom”.

  • Visit Changangkha Lhakhang.

The Lhakhang was built in the 12th Century on a site chosen by Lam Phajo Drugom Zhigpo, who came from Ralung, Tibet. It is an old fortress-like temple perched on a ridge above Thimphu and it has a beautiful view of Thimphu from the courtyard. The main chapel houses a unique statue of the seated Avoloketeshvaras, the Buddha of Compassion.

  • Visit Painting School.

“Zorig Chusum” means the Thirteen Crafts. To preserve our invaluable heritage and promote arts in Bhutan, the Royal Government initiated this institute in1971. Students are taught painting, calligraphy, embroidery, wood carving, sculpture, etc. They also learn to understand the traditional meaning and spiritual values enshrined in Buddhist art.

  • Visit Textile Museum.

With the opening of Textile Museum, under the patronage of His Majesty the Queen Ashi Sangay Choden Wangchuck, Bhutanese textiles have reached new heights as one of the most visible traditional crafts and as a distinctly Bhutanese Art form. The textile museum has opened its exhibition on six major themes: warp pattern weaves, weft pattern weaves, role of textiles in religion, achievements in textile arts, textiles from indigenous fibres and the royal collection.

  • Visit Memorial Chorten.

This stupa was built in 1974 by Her Majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden Wangchuck in the memory of her son Bhutan’s late third King His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, who is popularly regarded as the Father of Modern Bhutan.

  • Visit Semtokha Dzong.

It was built in 1629 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It is the oldest fortress of The Kingdom and now houses the School for Buddhist studies. The site is said to have been chosen to guard over a demoness that had vanished into the rock nearby, hence the name Semtokha (‘sinmo’ meaning demoness and ‘do’ Meaning stone).

Overnight in Thimphu Hotel

Day 03: Thimphu to Gangtey

(Elevation: 3,000m, Distance: 135km, Time: 5 hrs)

  • On the way visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang as well 108 stupa. The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, a temple in Dochula, offers an interesting example of traditional Buddhist culture meeting the 21st The Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck completed construction of this temple in 2008, in commemoration of Bhutanese casualities in the 2003 conflict with Assamese Militants.
  • Visit Chime Lhakhang.

Chime Lhakhang is a small 15th Century temple famous for its fertility endowments or rites due to the blessings of Lam Drukpa Kuenley. The temple sits on a hillock shaped, as only Drukpa Kuenley could describe it “like a woman’s breast “.

  • Visit Punakha Dzong.

Later visit Punakha Dzong (the Palace of Great Happiness) built in 1637 by the Zhabdrung. The Dzong is beautifully located in between the two rivers called Pho (male) and Mo (female) Chhu (river). It was the capital of Bhutan till 1955. The established of the Wangchuck Dynasty on 17th December, 1907 took place here and the first National Assembly was also held in the Dzong in 1953. Punakha Dzong continues to be the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) and the central monk body.

  • Visit Gangtey Goempa Monastery.

Gangtey Gompa Monastery was built in the 17th Century. The construction of the Goempa was prophesied by Terton (Treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa.

  • Visit the Black-necked crane centre.

A few kilometers past the Goempa, on the valley floor is the village of Phobjikha. This is the winter home of black necked cranes that migrate from the arid plains In the north to pass their winter in milder and lower climate.

Overnight in Phobjikha Hotel

Day 04: Phobjikha to Bumthang.

(Elevation: 2,650m, Distance: 188km, Time: 7hrs)

  • Visit Chendebji Chorten.

Chendebji chorten is situated on a river confluence. This Chorten or stupa was replicated from a stupa in Nepal.

  • Visit Trongsa Dzong.

On the way visit Trongsa Dzong. As prophesied by Palden Lhamo, Lam Ngagi Wangchuk meditated above the place where Trongsa Dzong stands now. While meditating, he saw butter lamps burning on a ridge and taking this place as sacred he built a small temple in 1543. Many people became his disciples and built small huts for themselves around the temple. The place began to look like a village and people called it Trongsar – New village.

  • Visit National Museum.

Visit Ta-Dzong. Ta means to watch in Dzongkha. So this Dzong was built in 1652 to watch over the massive Trongsa Dzong. Ta Dzong is now a museum which will display Buddhist art and the history of our Monarchy.

Overnight in Bumthang Hotel

Day 05: Bumthang (sightseeing)

  • Visit Chakhar Lhakhang.

This temple’s rich history dates back to the 8th Century when Chakar Gyap (Sindhu Raja) is said to have built an iron castle which is believed to be a colossal nine-storied structure built with various layers of metal at the present temple site. The castle however lost over time.

  • Visit Kenchosum Lhakhang.

Kenchosum Lhakhang dates back to the 8th Century. The inscription on the large bell testifies to it being cast for the Tibetan Royal Family. The pillar erected next to the entrance gate could be a megalith from prehistoric times.

  • Visit Jakar Dzong.

It is believed that Lam Ngagi Wangchuk had chosen a site for the construction of a Dzong in the lower valley of Chokor and while performing a ritual, a white bird flew out of the site and landed on the place where the current Jakar Dzong is built. Considering this as an auspicious sign, a small dzong was built and named Jakar. ‘Ja’ means bird and ‘Kar’ means white. Later in 1646, Choegyal Minjur Tempa enlarged the dzong.

  • Visit Jampey Lhakhang.

This is one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo on the same day as Paro Kichu Lhakhang. The temple hosts Guru Joyo Jampa, the future Buddha as its main statue. One of the most sacred festivals Jampey Lhakhang Drup takes place here every year.

  • Visit Kurjey Lhakhang.

The name ‘Kurjey’ translates into ‘Kur’ means body and ‘Jey’ means print. Guru Rimpoche has left his body print on a rock inside the main, old Kurjey Lhakhang. The big cypress tree is believed to be the walking stick of Guru Rimpoche.

  • Visit Tamshing Monastery.

It was built from 1501 to 1505 by Pema Lingpa, the great Bhutanese Nyingmapa Lama. The monastery contains some of the most remarkable paintings of this period in the Himalaya. Lining the circumambulation path on the ground floor of the monastery, and despite some damage, they constitute a unique Documentation of Pema Lingpa’s teachings.

  • Visit Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake)

The lake is named so after Terton (treasure discoverer) Pema Lingpa went into the lake with a butter lamp and came back with the butter lamp still burning while he discovered Guru Rinpoche’s hidden treasures.

Overnight in Bumthang Hotel

Day 06: Bumthang back to Thimphu

  • For the whole day you will be in vehicle driving Thimphu.

Overnight in Thimphu Hotel

Day 07: Thimphu to Paro

  • Hike to the Tiger’s Nest.

Built amazingly on a cliff, it brings pride to the Bhutanese about the work of their ancestors. It is said that Guru Rimpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and Meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’.

  • Visit Drugyal Dzong.

This Dzong, with a delightful village nestling at its foot, was built in 1646 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate his victory over the Tibetan invasions. “Druk” Means the land of the thunder dragon or the land of dragon people; “Gyel” means Victory. The dzong caught fire in 1951 and now it only remains as ruin.

  • Leisure in the Town.

You will have supper with the President/Representative of SNG Tours & Treks and bidding farewell to the Guest(s). Hold night at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2,280m).

Day 08: Early morning transfer to Paro Airport.

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