The highlight of this tour is Punakha Drubchen. The visitors will experience age old traditions, nature at its best, magnificent mountain sights, sacred monasteries and temples and most importantly the religious masked dances. The mask dances are the highlight of the festival. Monks wearing majestically crafted mask and silk robes take the center and perform their meticulously choreographed religious dances with perfect coordination and synchronization thus blessing the spectators. The Tshechu concludes on the third day with the unfurling of a massive Thongdrel (religious appliqué scroll) of Guru Padmasambhava. A Thongdrel translates to liberation at sight meaning anyone laying an eye on the scroll will be liberated from negative karma of both the past and present lives. Apart from the religious significance, festivals are a time for social gathering and coming together of families and friends bound by same faith.
Duration: 6 NIGHTS | 7 DAYS
Trip Route: Thimphu,Punakha, Paro
Trip at a Glance:
Day 01: Arrive Paro – Thimphu (55km/34mile approx)
Day02: Thimphu (Sightseeing)
Day 03: Drive to Punakha
Day 04: Visit Punakha Drubchen
Day 05: Drive to Paro
Day 06: Hike Tiger’s Nest, Paro (Sightseeing)
Day 07: Depart to Bangkok/Delhi/Kathmandu
Day 1: Arrive at Paro International Airport and Drive to Thimphu
The landing and the taking off of the plane in itself is an amazing experience. As Bhutan is mountainous country the view of mount Jomolhari as the clouds disperse is a magical experience and especially if you are flying from New Delhi and Kathmandu to Paro, you can enjoy an amazing view of Mount Everest. You will need to manage a window seat on the left side of the plane on your flight to Paro. The whole landing experience is like a roller coaster ride on steroids. Once you land, your assigned tour guide and driver will pick up the visitors from the airport and drive to Thimphu city. It will be an hour drive to Thimphu from Paro Airport. After lunch, guests will explore Thimphu City and visit some of the most popular attractions
Day 2: Thimphu (Sightseeing)
After breakfast, you will be taken around Thimphu city for sightseeing. You will visit popular attractions in Thimphu such as the Statue of Buddha Dordenma, located in Kuensel Phodrang at the top of a hill overlooking the city about 15 minutes drive from the main town. The statue is about 51.5 meters tall making it the tallest sitting statue of Buddha Shakyamuni. Other popular attractions include: The National Memorial Chorten which was built in the memory of the late 3rd king of Bhutan. You will also visit the Motithang Takin Preserve, Jungshi Traditional Paper Factory, Bhutan Postal Museum and many such exciting attractions.
Day 3: Drive to Punakha
Your journey towards the historic valley of Punakha will take you over the high mountain pass of Dochula Pass at 3,050 meters. A quick stop at the pass will let you enjoy the view and will treat you with fresh mountain air. The pass graces the onlookers with a panoramic view of the towering Himalayan peaks on a clear weather day. The pass is adorned with 108 mini stupas built to mark a significant event in the history of Bhutan. Punakha valley is located in a sub-tropical region with warm summers and pleasant winters. Punakha also served as the capital of Bhutan until 1955 after which the seat of government moved to Thimphu. Punakha still serves as the winter residence for the chief abbot and the central monk body.
Upon arrival in Punakha, the first attraction you will visit is the Chhimi Lhakhang popularly known as the fertility temple. The temple is situated on a hillock overlooking the village of Sopsokha, the quaint temple is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley; the eccentric Buddhist saint also known as the Divine Madman. Just as the name suggests, the infamous temple is known for blessing childless couples with children. The next attraction you will visit is the Palace of great bliss or the Punakha Dzong. Punakha Dzong is one of the most magnificent fortresses in Bhutan. The fortress is known to give immense happiness to the onlooker, therefore its Dzongkha name Punthang Dewachenpoi Phodrang literally translates to; the palace of great bliss. After that you will visit the longest suspension bridge in Bhutan which is over the Pho chu river, just behind the Dzong.
Day 4: Visit Punakha Drubchen
The Punakha Drubchen is held at the remarkable Punakha Dzong. The Punakha Dzong stands majestically on the confluence of Pho Chu (male) and Mo Chu (female) River. The Dzong is revered as the fortress of great bliss for its beautiful architecture and its strategic location. The Dzong also plays a significant role in the history of Bhutan as it was the former capital of Bhutan and even today great events like the crowing of His Majesty the fifth king, the royal wedding and the naming ceremony of the newborn prince were all held at the Dzong. The Drubchen is celebrated for almost a week where locals and tourists gather at the courtyard of the Dzong to witness and get blessings from the festival. Chanting of Prayers and religious rituals mark this festival and the performances of masked dances by the monks and traditional folk dances by local women and men are the highlight of the Drubchen. Some of the dances date back to the 17th century depicting significant historic moments. The otherwise quiet town comes to life with the energy from the festival as the people enjoy and celebrate the festival.
Day 5: Drive to Paro
En route to Paro, a quick stop at the Tachog Lhakhang to visit the Iron Chain Bridge built in the early 15th century by the great iron bridge builder and Poet – Yogi Thangtong Gyalpo (1385-1464). He is also known to have built the Dumtseg Lhakhang in Paro and many iron bridges throughout Bhutan and Tibet. The beautiful Paro valley is revered for a rich culture, picturesque landscape and tales of myths and legends. The valley is adorned with many ancient monasteries. The valley is often known as the gateway to the world and is home to the country’s only international airport.
After reaching, you will be led to your hotel and after lunch, you will be taken around the Paro town. Paro town is made of traditional Bhutanese houses aligned neatly together and the Paro River calmly flows just beside the town. Some of the major attractions you will visit are the; Paro Rinpung Dzong, The National Museum, Kyichu Lhakhang and you will also explore Paro town.
Day 6: Hike to Tiger’s Nest
Today you will embark on Tiger’s Nest monastery hike. The Tiger’s Nest monastery is the most renowned attraction in the whole country. The spectacular structure is precariously suspended on an edge of a cliff at about 900m above Paro valley. Legend has it that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche rode on the back of a flying tigress from eastern Bhutan to the current monastery site and meditated in a cave here for several years, hence the name, “Tiger’s Nest”. A hike of about 4 hours is the perfect way to end your trip. The hiking trail will take you through a diverse forest until you reach the monastery. After completing the demanding hike, you will be taken back to your hotel where you will take rest to wear off the fatigue from that arduous hike or perhaps choose to take a hot stone bath which often is deemed as the perfect way to unwind.
Day 7: End of Trip
Depart From Paro.
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