Day 01: Arrival Paro
- Representatives of SNG Tours will receive you from the Paro International Airport.
- Transfer to hotel.
Overnight in Paro Hotel
Day 02: Paro (Excursion)
- 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’.
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.
Overnight in Paro Hotel
Day 03: Paro to Thimphu
(Elevation: 2,320m, Distance: 65km, Time: 1.2 hr)
- Morning visit Dungtse Lhakhang.
The temple is notable as it is in the form of a chorten, very rare in Bhutan. It is located on the edge of a hill between the Paro valley and the Dopshari valley, across the bridge from Paro. The Buddhist iconography depicted in the Chorten is considered a unique repository of the Drukpa Kagyu School.
This is one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century to subdue the ogress that lay across the whole of the Himalayas.
This is also known as the “fortress of the heap of jewels”. It was built during the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 after the small Hungrel fortress built by Lam Drung Drung was offered to Zhabdrung. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional cantilever bridge.
National Museum was built as a watch tower. Unlike the rectangular shape of the Dzongs, Ta Dzong is conical, more like that of a European castle. Since 1967 the Dzong was re-established as the National Museum and holds a fascinating collection of art, relics, religious thangkha paintings and Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps.
- After lunch 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).
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.
Overnight in Thimphu Hotel
Day 04: 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 Rupas 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 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), and 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.
“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.
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.
Overnight in Thimphu Hotel
Day 05: Thimphu to Punakha
(Elevation: 1,350m, Distance: 174km, Time: 3 hrs)
- On the way visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang as well 108 stupas.
The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang, a temple in Dochula, offers an interesting example of traditional Buddhist culture meeting the 21st century. The Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck completed construction of this temple in 2008, in commemoration of Bhutanese causalities in the 2003 conflict with Assamese Militants.
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 “.
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 establishment 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.
Overnight in Punakha Hotel
Day 06: Punakha to Phobjikha
(Elevation: 3,000m, Distance: 71km, Time: 3 hrs)
- Morning see the ruin Dzong of Wangdue.
Wangdue Phodrang Dzong was founded by the Zhabdrung in 1639. It is situated on a hill with a commanding view of the valley. It is believed that the protective Deity, Yeshi Gampo told Zhabdrung Rimpoche that if he built a Dzong on the ridge he would be able to bring the whole country under his power.
- Visit Gangtey Gompa Monastery.
Gangtey Gompa Monastery was built in the 17th Century. The construction of the Gompa was prophesied by Terton (Treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa.
- Visit the Black-necked crane centre
A few kilometers past the Gompa, 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 07: Phobjikha to Bumthang
(Elevation: 2,650m, Distance: 188km, Time: 7hrs)
Chendebji Chorten is situated on a river confluence. This Chorten or stupa was replicated from a stupa in Nepal.
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 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 08: Bumthang (sightseeing)
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.
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.
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.
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 09: Bumthang to Mongar
(Elevation: 1,700m, Distance: 198km, Time: 7 hrs)
It is site of one of Bhutan’s newest Dzong built in 1930s. Yet the Dzong is built in the same method and traditions of all the other Dzongs; no drawings and nails have been used. A visit gives visitors an impression of how traditional Bhutanese Architecture has continued to thrive through the centuries.
Overnight in Mongar Hotel
Day 10: Mongar to Trashigang
(Elevation: 1,150m, Distance: 90km, Time: 3 hrs)
Dramtse Monastery was founded in 1511 by Ani Choten Zangmo, the grand- Daughter of the famous Bhutanese saint Pema Lingpa (1450-1521), who named the place as Dramtse, meaning no enmities place or peak. It is the home of Dramtse Choje family which has produced many eminent religious personalities including three Zhabdrung incarnations and the seventh Gangtey Tulku.
This Dzong is built on a very steep hill overlooking the river Drangme Chu. Kudung Pekar Choephel built the Dzong in 1659 on the site originally planned by Trongsa Penlop Minjur Tempa. Trashigang Dzong means the Dzong of auspicious mount.
Overnight in Trashigang Dzong
Day 11: Trashigang (sightseeing)
This Chorten is similar to Chendebji Chorten. Every year, this place hosts two religious festivals and people from Arunanchal Pradesh in north-east India also come for the festival. The Chorten is surrounded by many small prayer wheels.
The famous Gomkora Lhakhang was visited by the great saint Guru Rimpoche where he subdued evil spirits. You will find a small meditating cave of Guru Rinpoche. There is whole lot of myth surrounding this place and it is worth hiring a local guide for interpretation.
Overnight in Trashigang Hotel
Day 12: Trashigang to Samdrupjongkhar
(Elevation: 220m, Distance: 180km, Tine: 6 hrs)
The Lhakhang has been founded by Tantric Master Lama Karpo Rimpoche alias Lama Tshewang Penjor. He was the disciple of Terton Dudjom Lingpa Jigdrel Yeshi Dorji, who named him as Lama Karpo.
- Visit weaving centre in Khaling.
The national handloom center at Khaling is a good option for shopping authentic Bhutanese textiles created with age-old indigenous techniques of dying and weaving. Lying a few kilometers off the small Khaling town, this center is a good Place to understand the overall production process of Bhutanese Textiles.
Overnight in Samdrupjongkhar
Day 13: Samdrupjongkhar to Guwatti (India)
Departure from Guwatti Airport
Please note that sometimes this tour may last for more than 13 days. 13 days tour is exclusively for the experts as it is quite tiring. It can be extended to 16 days for the first timer.