Kurjey Festival (10 nights/11 days)

Kurjey Festival Tour (10 days)
From 04. July to 14. July 2014

Festival highlight

The festival takes place at Kurjey Temple, located at Kurjey in the Chokhor valley in Bumthang district. It is a 15 minute drive from Chamkhar town to arrive at the temple grounds.

The history of the temples at Kurjey is associated with Sindhu Raja and Guru Rimpoche. Sindhu Raja invited Guru Rimpoche from Nepal to Bhutan to subdue some evil spirits that had been plaguing the land. Upon invitation, Guru Rimpoche visited Bumthang and meditated in a cave that resembled a pile of Dorjis (stylized thunderbolt used for Buddhist rituals). After subduing the evil spirits and demons, imprints of the Guru's body remained in the rock face. Thereafter, the name came to be known as Kurjey meaning - "Imprint of the body". The Lhakhang is now a blessed site of great historical significance.

There are three main temples at Kurjey. The oldest temple was constructed on the site where Guru Rimpoche meditated by Minjur Tenpa the first Trongsa Penlop (Governor of Trongsa) in 1652.

The second temple was founded by Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck in 1900 while serving as the 13th Trongsa Penlop.  This temple is the most sacred as it was built in the place where Guru Rimpoche left his body imprint.

The third temple was built in the 1990s. It was sponsored by the Queen Mother Ashi Kezang Choden Wangchuck. It houses the images of Guru Rimpoche, King Thrisong Detsen and Pandit Santarakshita.

In front of the temples are Chortens dedicated to the first three kings of Bhutan.

The Kurjey festival is an important occasion not only for the local people of Bumthang but for all Bhutanese. The festival brings together tourists and Bhutanese from all over as it presents the perfect occasion to not only receive blessings by witnessing age-old mask dances but also to enjoy this unique culture whilst basking in the natural beauty of Bhutan's spiritual heartland.

Tour itinerary
Day 1: Paro 04. July
Arrival in Paro. After refreshment, we go for a short excursion around the Paro. Evening at leisure.

Day 2: Paro-Gangtey 05.July(205km/drive 6.5 hrs)
We drive to Gangtey en route to Dochula pass where you can see 108 stupa which were built by the Queen Mother of Bhutan. After lunch, excursion to the Gangtey Gompa valley at an altitude of 2800 meters. The 15th century Nyingma monastery in western Bhutan is located here. This beautiful valley is also home to the rare Black Necked Cranes migrating from the Tibetan plateau to escape the harsh winter. Currently there are 200 to 300 cranes residing in this valley and the Royal Society for Protection of Nature (RSPN) is taking every measures to ensure the safety of the Cranes. While the cranes reside in the winter valley for 4/5 months the village folks are not allowed to make load noises or fish in the river that runs through the valley. Explore the fascinating Phobjekha valley and return to the Resort.

Day 3: Gangtey-Bumthang 06.July (188km/drive 6 hrs)
Drive to Bumthang en route to Tharpaling monastery which was established in 14th century by one great Tibetan Yogi. Lunch with a local family in Chumey Village.

Day 4: Bumthang 07. july
We witness the Kurje festival. We will see the religious dance around courtyard and it's quite unique compare to other festivals, some dances are showing the details about the evil spirits subdued by Indian Saint. It's a kind of blessing for purification of one's sin.
We visit the following monasteries; Jambay Lhakhang, Kurje Lhakhang, from Kurje Lhakhang we walk to the Tamshing Lhakang.

Day 5: Bumthang 08. July
Morning we drive to Mebar Tsho (burning lake). According to the legend Terton Pema Lingpa had a vision of the sacred treasures that Guru Rimpoche had hidden within the lake centuries earlier. However the people of Tang and the local ruler were cynical of his claims. In order to prove his claims, Pema Lingpa held a butter lamp in his hand as he jumped into the lake. After remaining under water for a long time he re-emerged holding a chest and a scroll of paper with the butter lamp held in his hand still burning bright. Thereafter, the lake came to be known as Mebartsho (the burning Lake).

The Burning Lake, Mebar Tsho is located along the way to the Tang village over the feeder road under Bumthang valley.  It takes approximately thirty minutes drive to the Mebar Tsho from Chamkhar town.

Mebar Tsho is considered one of the most sacred sites in the region as it is related to the renowned religious treasure reveler (Terton) Terton Pema Lingpa.  Pema Lingpa is considered an incarnated disciple of Padmasambhava who discovered treasure within the lake in late 15th century.

Today this small fresh water lake is a sacred pilgrimage site for the Bhutanese with bright multicolored prayer flags surrounding it and a small altar dedicated to Terton Pema Lingpa has also been set up. On auspicious days people offer butter lamps at the lake. Many tourist visit the site to observe spectacular beauty of this important historical and religious site. We will join the festival in the evening.

Day 6: Bumthang-Trongsa-Wangdu 09. July (205km/drive 7.5hrs)
Drive back to Wangdu.on the way visiting Trongsa Dzong and Ta dzong. The much time will be consume at Trongsa Dzong & Ta-Dzong (Heritage museum) and you can have a lunch at Ta-Dzong cafeteria and proceed to the designation. En route you will find the ruin of Wangdue Dzong (unfortunately Wangdu Dzong was destroyed by fire last years but we can visit the ruins).

Day 7: Wangdue- Thimphu 10. July
We visit Chimi Lhakhang monastery which was blessed by divine made man known as Drukpa Kinlay in 15th century. This monastery is dedicated to fertility. Hundreds of people from all over Bhutan visit this monastery to pray for children in the temple; a monk holding a symbolic phallus blesses them make wishes to conceive. Picnic lunch at the back side of monastery. We visit the Punakha Dzong which was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region. Punakha Dzong has played an important role in Bhutan's history. On the way to Thimphu visit Semtokha Dzong which is the first Dzong in Bhutan established by Shabdrung in mid 17th century.

Day 8: Thimphu 11. July
The Kingdom's capital city is home to approximately 100,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. This bustling little city is the main center of commerce, religion and government in the country.

Thimphu is the most modern city in Bhutan with an abundance of restaurants, internet cafes, nightclubs and shopping centers, however it still retains its' cultural identity and values amidst the signs of modernization.Thimphu is one of the few towns in Bhutan that have been equipped with ATM banking facilities and is a good place to stock up on some currency.

One of the most curious features of Thimphu is that it is the only capital city in the world that does not use traffic lights. Instead a few major intersections have policemen standing in elaborately decorated booths (small pavilions), directing traffic with exaggerated hand motions. The juxtaposition of ancient tradition and modernity make Thimphu the ideal location for visitors to break away from their tour itinerary and just immerse themselves in the lifestyle of contemporary Bhutanese.

We visit National library, art school. Buddha point where is the biggest sitting Buddha.
We visit Changgangkha Lhakhang, Pangri Zampa a monastery where monks study astrology and Tashichoedzong. We also visit main Bazaar. Walking excursion to the memorial stupa in the evening.

Day 9: Thimphu-Paro 12.July
Paro valley extends from the confluence of the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu rivers at Chuzom upto Mt. Jomolhari at the Tibetan border to the North. This picturesque region is one of the widest valleys in the kingdom and is covered in fertile rice fields and has a beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the valley.

Accentuating the natural beauty are the many elegant, traditional-style houses that dot the valley and surrounding hills. Paro town has been growing rapidly in recent years and there are plenty of restaurants, bakeries and cafes to choose from. One of the distinctive features of Paro town is that it is situated in a flat valley bottom and follows a grid-like pattern. The central plaza is adorned with a large prayer wheel and a small amphitheater at which events such as concerts are often organized

We visit the Rinpung Dzong, National museum and Dungtse monastery which was built in 1521 by Thongthong Gyalpo. Evening at leisure or walking excursion through the Paro city.

Day 10: Paro 13. July (hike roundtrip 4hrs)
We start to hike to Taktsang Monastery. The Tiger's Nest Temple. Taktsang Lhakhang is Bhutan's most iconic landmark and religious site. The name Taktsang translates to "The Tiger's Nest". This temple is one of the most holy sites in the kingdom and clings impossibly to a sheer cliff face 900 hundred meters above the Paro Valley.



It was first built in 1692 at a cave where Guru Rimpoche meditated in the 7th century A.D. Legend states that Guru Rimpoche flew to the site atop the back of a tigress and meditated in the cave for 3 years, 3 months, 3 days and 3 hours in order to subdue evil demons residing within it. The cave has been considered a sacred site ever since and many famous saints have travelled to meditate in it.


Taktsang Lhakhang is located approximately 10 km north of Paro town at an altitude of 3.120 meters. In order to arrive at the temple visitors must trek for around 2-3 hours through beautiful, shady pine forests. No trip to Bhutan would be complete without a visit to this remarkable heritage site. 

Lunch at the Taktsang cafeteria near the Takstang where you can enjoy the spectacle view of the monastery which is hung on the huge rock cliff.

On the way back, we visit 7th century monastery called Kichu Lhakhnag which was built by the first Buddhist King of Tibet. You can still see the all internal structure and the statues which have never gone any renovation till today.

Day 11: Departu
Transfer to the airport.
 

TOUR OVERVIEW 2014

Tour Facts

Tour date

04.07 - 14.07.2016
(10 days / 11 nights)

Group size & price

from 3-12 pax:
2040USD 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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