Thimphu Tshechu

Thimphu Tshechu Tour (8 days)
From 01. October to 08. October 2016

Festival highlight

The Tshechu is a festival honouring Guru Padmasambhava, "one who was born from a lotus flower." This Indian saint contributed enormously to the diffusion of Tantric Buddhism in the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan around 800 AD. He is the founder of the Nyingmapa, the "old school" of Lamaism which still has numerous followers. The biography of Guru is highlighted by 12 episodes of the model of the Buddha Shakyamuni's life. Each episode is commemorated around the year on the 10th day of the month by "the Tschechu". The dates and the duration of the festivals vary from one district to another but they always take place on or around the 10th day of the month according to the Bhutanese calendar. During Tshechus, the dances are performed by monks as well as by laymen. The Tshechu is a religious festival and by attending it, it is believed one gains merits. It is also a yearly social gathering where the people, dressed in all their finery, come together to rejoice. Thimphu Tshechu is the biggest festival in Bhutan. Detailed explanation on the meaning of each dance performed during the Tshechu will be provided to guests by our tour guides.

Tour itinerary


Day 1: Paro 01. October 2014
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our guide will meet you at Paro airport exit doors following customs formalities.
Transfer to hotel, after short refreshment sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan's historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong's are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 2: Paro 02. October 2014
We start to hike to Taktsang Monastery. The name Taktsang means " Tiger's Nest ". The Monastery is perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 10000 ft. and offers an excellent view of Paro valley. It is said that in the second half of the 8th century, Guru Padma Sambhava meditated in the spot where the Monastery is situated, having alighted there on the back of a flying tigress. Picnic lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria. The round trip hike takes about 4 hrs.
In the afternoon drive to the ruins of the 17th Century Drukgyel Dzong, an historic monument built by the Shabdrung to commemorate his victory against invading Tibetans in 1644. On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo.

Day 3: Paro-Thimphu 03. October 2014
After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. En route to Simtokha Dzong which is one of the oldest fortresses in Bhutan. It was built in 1629 A.D. It houses the largest monastic schools in the country. After check in and short refreshment drive to Tashichhodzong to attend the Thimphu festival. You will see locals dressed in their finest clothes who have walked from miles around to attend the festivities. They come to watch masked dances, to pray, and to feast. While the underlying purpose of the festival is spiritual, dances are more often like plays, telling stories where good triumphs over evil, or depicting significant historical events, especially surrounding the life of Bhutans patron saint, Padmasambhava (also known as Guru Rinpoche).
Tashichhodzong, "the fortress of the glorious religion". Initially erected in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was rebuilt in the 1960s during the reign of Bhutans third king in the traditional style, without plans or nails. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 4: Thimphu 04. October 2014
Enjoy a morning of sightseeing, including a visit to 12th century Changangkha Temple, and the National Memorial Chorten depicting the Buddhist faith in the form of paintings and statues. This temple was first initiated by the Third King as a protection from the negative elements of modernization, and as a monument to world peace. The Royal Queen Mother completed it as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972.
In the afternoon return to Tashichhodzong to further experience the colorful events of the Thimphu festival. Overnight at your hotel in Thimphu.

Day 5: Thimphu 05.October 2014
Visit the National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century and a fascinating replica of a medieval farmhouse at the Folk Heritage Museum. You will also have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores, you can walk through the Thimphu Market to see the variety of food of Bhutan, including basket upon basket of fiery chillies, fresh cheese and a variety of fresh greens. In addition, many stalls contain Bhutanese handicrafts and household items.
Afternoon enjoy the last day if festival.

Day 6: Thimphu-Punakha 06. October 2014
Drive over the Dochu-La pass (3,100 meters), which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (about 3 hrs total driving time). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdoms.
Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong, the "Palace of Great Happiness" built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the "Unifier of Bhutan". It is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers) and is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. The three story main temple of the Punakha Dzong is a breathtaking example of traditional architecture with four intricately embossed entrance pillars crafted from cypress and decorated in gold and silver. It was here in 1907 that Bhutans first king was crowned.

Day 7: Punakha-Paro 07. October 2014
Morning enjoy a walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it's not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. An evening stroll through the city. Overnight at your hotel in Paro.

Day 8: Departure 08. October 2014
Breakfast in the hotel, then drive to the airport for flight to your onward destination.
 

Tour overview 2014

Tour facts

Tour date

01.10 - 08.10.2014
(8 days / 7 nights)

Group size & price

from 4-12 pax:
1790 USD per person

Price includes

  • accommodation in standard hotels (certified by TCB). DBL occupancy.
  • 3 meals per day
  • transfers and transportation
  • road permit fees
  • all taxes
  • entrance fees to all monuments
  • English speaking Bhutanese guide (other languages upon request)
  • visa fee

Not included

  • airfares (as listed separately)
  • personal expenses such as beverages, spa or message
  • travel & medical Insurance
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