Sacral Bhutan

HIGHLIGHTS

Tashi Wangdi a proprietor of White Umbrella tours will go as a guide in this tour. Tashi Wangdi is from eastern Bhutan and spent his childhood there in tiny village. He was ordained as a monk in Tibetan Buddhist monastery in Sikkim (India) when he was ten years old in 1989. There he completed his Tibetan Buddhist ritual practices in 2001 after twelve years. Later, in 2010 he was graduated from Buddhist Institute (Shedra) after studying Tibetan Buddhist philosophy for nine years in Kalimpong (West Bengal, India). Recently in 2015, he has completed his MA in Tibetan and Buddhist studies in Hamburg University (Germany).

You will get very close and deep interaction with local people, nature and Buddhist practice

TOUR ITINERARY

Day 1: Arrival at Paro
Day 2: [/color Hike to Taktsang monastery. 6 hours hiking
Day 3: Paro - Thimphu. 65 km/an hour drive
Day 4: Thimphu. Hike to Chari Goemba
Day 5: Thimphu - Punakha. 77 km/3 hours drive
Day 6: Nobding village & hike to Khumsum yalley Chorten
Day 7: Punakha - Gangtey. 78 km/3 hours drive
Day 8: Gangtey-Paro
Day 9: Paro Chumpu Ney
Day 10: Departure
read more
close
Day 1: Paro
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. After visa formalities you will meet the guide of White Umbrella tours at Paro airport exit doors. Transfer to the hotel. Later, explore Paro with Tashi.

Paro is a most picturesque valley, with quaint hamlets clustered amidst terraced paddy fields. The town still maintains tradition by way of its architecture and simple way of life and your sightseeing includes; visit to The National Museum formerly a watchtower holds unique and varied collections, ranging from ancient armor to textiles, thangkha paintings, stamps, coins, and natural history. Visit the Paro Dzong (Rinpung Dzong) built in 1646 during the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. It now houses Paro's monk body and the offices of the civil administration. Rinpung Dzong is the venue for the famous Paro Tsechu, held annually in the spring.

Altitude at Paro: 2300m

Day 2: Hike to Taktsang monastery
Morning hike to Taktsang Monastery. The trail is broad and the walk of approximately 1.5 to 2 hours uphill takes you high above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang Monastery built on a sheer cliff face 900 meters above the valley floor is a spectacular sight. The great Guru Rinpoche is said to have flown here on the back of a tigress when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th Century. Nearby there is a cafeteria where you can stop for lunch.

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. In fine weather the towering peak of the sacred Mount Jomolhari (7314 m) appears as a stunning backdrop.

On the return drive to Paro, visit 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa.

Day 3: Paro - Thimphu
Morning, take a drive to Bhutan's capital, Thimphu, passing through idyllic countryside, with villages and paddy fields on either side of the road. Thimphu has a special charm and it is fascinating to sit and watch a gathering of local people in the town square, wearing their traditional dress and going about their business in a typically unhurried Bhutanese way.
We will visit the National Memorial Chorten, 12th century Changangkha Temple and Drubthob monastery housing the Zilukha Nunnery. After lunch continue to explore Thimphu and around. Visit the School of Arts and Crafts where students are taught the 13 types of Bhutanese art. The National Library housing the collection of Bhutanese scriptures dating back to the 8th century. Then drive to Tashicho Dzong, the main secretariat which houses the summer residence of the central monk body and main seat of government. Its majestic architecture in finely balanced proportions is complemented by artistic decorations and paintings and followed by visit to the Handicraft shop and return to your hotel.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 4: Thimphu
Morning, drive to northern part of Thimphu city for half an hour to road point and from there, you have to hike to Chari Gompa founded in 17th century. It is popular for the Buddhist to do retreat in the Gompa, located on the hill surrounded by forest and in fact the first Monastic body was established in this monastery by founder of Bhutan. The main central figure is Buddha and kudung of Yap Tempa Nima (father of Zhabdrung). The trail was well established by pilgrims through the mix forest with hair pin trail. You are likely to encounter mountain goat roaming freely near the Monastery. The round trip could be 3 hours hike and the lunch will be arranged near the glacier river bank.

On the way back, visit Pangri-Zampa Monastery founded in 16th century by Tibetan Saint, currently the monastery is converted in Monastic School for Astrology and there are more than 100 monks study astrology. Beside the Monastery, there is huge cypress tree (National tree) claim to be oldest tree in Bhutan, we assume roughly more than 600-700 years old. Evening, witness archery game (our National game).

Altitude at Thimphu: 2400m

Day 5: Thimphu - Punakha
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. In the Dochu-La area there are vast Rhododendron forests that grow to tree size and bloom in late April/early May covering the mountains in a riot of glorious spring colour.

Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, drive to Punakha Dzong, the ‘Palace of Great Happiness'. Built in 1637 by the Shabdrung, the ‘Unifier of Bhutan', Punakha Dzong is situated at the confluence of the Mo Chu and Pho Chu (Mother and Father Rivers). The Dzong has played a hallowed role in the history of Bhutan. It served as the seat of Shabdrung's government, several foreign delegations were received here in 18th and 19th century, the election and coronation of the first King was observed in 1907 and the Third King convened the first National Assembly in the Dzong. The central monastic body continues to reside here in winter. The embalmed bodies of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Terton Pema Lingpa are housed on the top floor of the main tower. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King from the latest fire in 1987.

Hike 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.

Altitude at Punakha: 1300 m.
Overnight: Punakha.

Day 6: Nobding village & hike to Khumsum valley Chorten
After breakfast, drive 30 minutes from the hotel to Nobding village, situated on the edge of ridge and it's home of our present queen mother. En route to Nobding village, visit Nunnery, currently there are 50 nuns studying and later proceed to village. The house were built in traditional design & color and have glimpse of village life. Later hike down to road point (near Punakha Dzong) through pine forest used in olden days by local people. Leisure walk, it's about less than two hours walk from the village.

Afternoon, drive another 30 minutes to the northern part of Punakha valley to the road point (river bank) and hike to Khumsum valley Chorten climbs through the paddy field and the Temple is located in hillock. When you approach, the view from the Temple is panoramic! We guarantee that this hike will be one the highlight in your trip. One the way back, try to dip your feet in glacier river and see coldness for fun.

Overnight: Hotel

Day 7: Punakha - Gangtey
Drive to Wangduephodrang and visit the Dzong which is perched on a spur at the confluence of two rivers. The position of the Dzong is remarkable as it completely covers the spur and commands an impressive view both up and down the valley. Wangdue district is famous for its fine bamboo work, stone carvings, and slate which is mined up a valley a few kilometers from the town.

Then drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forest, and over a high pass down into the Phobjikha valley, surely one of the loveliest high altitude valleys in Bhutan. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan's few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes, migrating from the Tibetan plateau. Explore Phobjikha valley and also visit Gangtey Gopa (Monastery) , the only Nyingmapa monastery in western Bhutan.

Altitude at Gangtey: 3000 m.
Overnight: Farm house.

Day 8: Phobjikha valley
Morning we suggest to do hike ‘Gangtey Nature Trail'. It's about less than 2 hours hiking through pine forest, crossing stream and open valley. You may encounter some pheasant on the way and quite close with nature. Afternoon drive to Paro

Overnight: Farm house.

Day 9: Paro Chumphug Ney
The Paro Chumphug Nye (sacred place) i is located north-east of Paro valley. It was blessed and left as a sacred places with many hidden treasures by great Buddhist master, Guru Rinpoche. Later, the head abbot of Bhutan discovered this Nye and have built monastery. The statue of Dorjee Phagmo (Vajra Varahi) standing on air is the main statue and there are numerous sacred sites to explore around this sacred place.

After breakfast, we will drive north-east of Paro town coming across farmland, farm houses and schools. We will reach to the start point. We will have some refreshment before we start our hike to the sacred monastery. The trail goes through dense forest but will get to see various religious monuments on the way. Our representatives will be there with you to explain about those monuments on the way to the sacred place. We will carry our own packed lunch.

We will hike uphill to reach main sacred site. On the way, we will come across many holy and religious sites which will be explained individually by Tashi. After reaching at the main site, we will visit the main monastery and lit the butter lamps, get the blessing and pray for peace and prosperity for all sentient beings in this universe. You must not miss to see main statue of Dorji Pahgmo (Vajra Varahi), which is believed to be in the air. You can pass a sheet of paper beneath its feet very freely.

Thereafter, will hike little uphill to get view the holy pond (Drupchu) site and will come back for lunch. After lunch, we will hoist some prayer flags and spiritual leader of the monastery will consecrate our flags. We will start hiking downhill to the road point and back to Paro, then relax.

Day 10: Departure
Paro Airport.
 

Tour date

20.12.-29.12.2016
(10 days / 9 nights)

Group size & price

from 3-12 pax:
2,040 USD per person

Price includes

  • 3* hotels double occupancy
  • Full board
  • private vehicle
  • all entrance fees
  • English speaking Bhutanese guide (other languages upon request)
  • Visa fee

Supplementary fee

  • Single individual
    80 USD per night
  • Group of 2 persons
    30 USD per person per night
  • single occupancy
    40 USD per night

* Any individual tours and services can be upgraded according to your time and interest on request.
to the topto the top