Punakha Festival Tour (10 days)

Outline of the Tour

Day 01

Destinations: Paro (sightseeing)

Day 02

Destinations: Paro to Thimphu

Day 03

Destinations: Thimphu (sightseeing)

Day 04

Destinations: Thimphu to Punakha

Day 05

Destinations:  Punakha (Tshechu)

Day 06

Destinations: Punakha (Tshechu/sightseeing)

Day 07

Destinations:  Punakha to Gangtey

Day 08

Destinations: Gangtey-Punakha-Thimphu

Day 09

Destinations: Thimphu to Paro

Day 10

Destinations: Paro (departure)

Detailed Itinerary

Punakha Tshechu Festival (10 days)

punakhs

The Punakha festival is the annual festival held at the Dzong, which is largely attended by people from all villages and far places of the district. The Ranjung Karsapani (self-created) image of Chenresig enshrined and the utse of the Dzong (brought by Zhabdrung from Tibet) is displayed during the festival. During this five-day festival, also known as Punakha festival, held in February/March, there are some very impressive displays. The important display is a re-enactment of the Tibetan invasion of Bhutan in 1639 where the Tibetans were defeated. In this theatrical display, which was conceived by the Zhabdrung, a mock throwing of a relic to the Mo Chu River is dramatized.

Day 01

Destinations: Paro (sightseeing)

(Elevation: 2,250m)

  • Representative of SNG Tours will welcome & receive you at the entrance gate.
  • Visit Kichu Lhakhang. 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. Later in 1968, Her Majesty, the Royal Grandmother Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck, built a second temple alongside the first one.
  • Visit National Museum. It is 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.

Overnight in Paro Hotel

Day 02

Destinations: Paro to Thimphu

(Elevation: 2,320m, Distance: 65km, Time: 1 hr. approx.)

  • 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, Thangton Gyelpo (1385-1464), while he was meditating here, Thangton 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).
  • 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 National Institute of Zorig Chusum. It is the centre for Bhutanese Art education. It was set up by The Government of Bhutan with the sole objective of preserving the rich culture and tradition of Bhutan and training students in all traditional art forms.

Overnight in Thimphu Hotel

Day 03

Destinations: Thimphu (sightseeing)

  • 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 the Memorial Chorten. This Chorten (Stupa) was built in 1974 to honor the 3rd King of Bhutan, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928-1972). It is designed as a Tibetan style chorten, also called as the Jangchup Chorten (Stupa).
  • Visit mini-zoo where we have preserved the National Animal of Bhutan. This animal called Takin was declared as the National Animal on 25 November 2005 as it is attributed to a legend of the animal’s creation in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kuenley.
  • Visit Institute of Traditional Medicine, which was set up in 1979 with assistance from World Health Organization (WHO) to develop and popularize Bhutanese herbal medicine.

Overnight in Thimphu Hotel

 

Day 04

Destinations: Thimphu to Punakha

(Elevation: 1,350m, Distance: 77km, Time: 3 hrs.)

  • You will come across the Dochula Pass. Here you can see 108 Stupas built by Queen Mother to honor the Bhutanese soldiers who were killed when fighting the Indian rebels in 2003 and also visit Druk Wangyal Lhakhang.
  • Later on visit Chime Lhakhang. Chime Lhakhang is a small 15thcentury temple famous for its fertility endowments/rites due to the blessings of Lama Drukpa Kuenley. The temple sits on a hillock shaped, as only Drukpa Kuenley could describe it “like a woman’s breast. The word ‘chime’ translates as “No dog”.
  • 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 05

Destinations:  Punakha (Tshechu)

For the whole day you will be witnessing the Festival (Tshechu) in Punakha Dzong.

Overnight in Punakha Hotel.

Day 06

Destinations: Punakha (Tshechu/sightseeing)

  • Morning you will be witnessing the Festival in the Dzong.
  • After having your lunch, visit Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten. You have to drive about 10km from Punakha, on a hillock called Nyizergang, on the other side of the river, Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tshering Yangdon has had a three-storey chorten built for the protection of the country. It was consecrated at the end of December 1999.

Overnight in Punakha Hotel

Day 07                                              

Destinations:  Punakha to Gangtey

(Elevation: 3,000m, Distance: 83km, Time: 3 hrs)

  • After reaching the Phobjikha valley visit Gangtey Goempa dating back to the 17th The Construction of the Goempa was prophesied by Terton (Treasure revealer) Pema Lingpa.
  • Later, 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 Gangtey Hotel

Day 08

Destinations: Gangtey-Punakha-Thimphu

(Distance:  (70+70) = 140km, Time: 6 hrs.)

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

Overnight in Thimphu Hotel

Day 09

Destinations: Thimphu to Paro

  • Today will be your last day to stay in Bhutan and also the foremost sightseeing in Bhutan. Hike to the Tiger Nest, where you could find amazing monastery built in the hill of the rock, it brings pride to the Bhutanese about the work of our ancestors. 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 most sacred and visited by Zhabdrung Rinpoche in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.
  • Evening leisure in the town, if you want to have shopping.

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 10

Destinations: Paro (departure)

Your Guide and Driver will take you to the airport and they will see-off till the Exit Point.

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