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ESSENTIAL BHUTAN TRAVEL PLAN

Itinerary

The flight into Paro on our national carrier, Druk Air, is a befitting introduction to the spectacular beauty of our country. In clear weather, magnificent views of the world’s highest peaks give way to the lush green Paro valley as you land. The first gift from Bhutan will be the cool, clean fresh air as you step out of the plane. After clearing customs and visa control our guide and will take you into to Thimphu, the modern capital of Bhutan.

Check  in at hotel in Thimphu

visit Tashichho Dzong is a fortress at the northern edge of Thimphu the capital city of Bhutan. The Dzong was built on the western bank of the river Wang Chu, and has historically served at the seat of the Druk Desi or the Dharma Raja of Bhutan’s government. After the kings assumed power in 1907 this post was combined with that of the king and Thimphu severed as the summer capital of the kingdom before becoming the full time capital of Bhutan.

Lama Phajo Drukgom Shigpo took over the Dzong which was conquered by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, who found the Dzong to be too small and expanded it to what is now known as theTashichho dzong is also called the “fortress of glorious religion.” It was erected in 1641 and was subsequently rebuilt by King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck in the 1960s.

The Dzong has been seat of the Royal government since 1952 and presently houses the Throne room and the Kings secretariat. The Tashichho Dzong is also home to several ministries of the Bhutanese government, and the Central Monk Body which is the apex organization of the country’s main spiritual order.

Handmade paper factory:

The Jungshi Handmade Paper Factory is a small paper factory located in Thimphu that produces paper using traditional Bhutanese methods. The paper products produced at the factory are made from Daphne or Mulberry plant bark. On you visit to the factory you will see the process from the beginning to the end. The process starts with people pulling the bark off the plant to the process of cooking to create wood pulp to the creation of the final product. There is a small shop at the factory that sells a variety of paper and stationary that is produced from paper made here.

Lunch at  local restaurant

 Visit  National Memorial Chorten

The National Memorial was built by Bhutan’s third king, H.M. Jigme Dorji Wangchuck who is also known as the “father of modern Bhutan.” He wanted to erect a monument carrying the message of world peace and prosperity..

The National Memorial Chorten was gifted to the nation on 28 July, 1974. The exquisite wall paintings and the delicately carved statues reflect deep insights into Buddhist spirituality and a rich tradition of prayer and learning.

The Chorten was consecrated by His Holiness, the Late Dudjorn Rinpoche. Unlike other Stupas the Chorten is not a shrine for the mortal of the late King. The Chorten on contains a photograph of the King in full ceremonial attire. The King had intend for the Chorten to be “ a Chorten that represents the mind of Buddha ”

The national Memorial Chorten is located in the center of the capital city, Thimphu and is designed like a Tibetan style Chorten. The Chorten is patterned of the classical Stupa design with a pyramidal pillar crowned by a crescent moon and sun. One of the most distinct features of the Chorten is its outwards flaring rounded part that makes the Chorten look more like a vase rather than the classical dome. The interior of the Chorten has a large number of paintings of Tantric deities, in explicit sexual poses that sometimes can be a little disconcerting to visitors.

Changangkha lhakhang:

The Changangkha Lhakhang temple is a early medieval Buddhist temple in the capital city Thimphu. The temple is situated on a ridge overlooking the city, near Motithang on the outskirts of Thimphu. The temple is the oldest temple in Thimphu and was constructed by Lama Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo in the 12 century AD. Lama Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo is also the founder of the Drukpa Kaygo School of Buddhism. The Lhakhang’s central deity is Chenirizig. There is a large statue of Chenrizig, the 11 headed, thousand arm manifestation of Avolokiteshwara. There are also large prayer wheels and paintings in the walls of the temple. The temple offers an excellent view of the city of Thimphu from its courtyard.

Overnight at hotel Thimphu

Visit Buddha Point at Kuenselphodrang, The 169 feet bronze statue of Buddha Dordenma , Vajra Throne Buddha symbolising indestructibility will be completed soon. The Buddha statue itself is competed awaiting paintings, but visitors can drive up to the Buddha point and view the tallest statue of Lord Buddha. The view of Thimphu valley from the Buddha point is spectacular and beautiful, especially at night.

Drive towards Punakha via Dochula pass.  (3,150 m), where on a sunny day; you can get stunning views of the Himalayan ranges. The Dochu La Pass is probably the best known mountain pass in Bhutan. Located at an altitude of 3150 meter above sea level, the Dochu La Pass is about 30 kilometer away from the capital city Thimphu.

On a clear day the pass offers visitors a spectacular view of the majestic eastern Himalayan Ranges. Another striking feature at the pass are the 108 Druk Wangyal  Chortens, that were built for the well-being of all sentiment beings on earth. The 108 Chorten were built as a tribute to the Fourth King of Bhutan for his selfless service and leadership offered to the people of Bhutan. These Stupas or Chortens also represent the peoples love, appreciation and loyalty towards the country’s King.

On the way, stop at Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to Chimi Lhakhang, which is a fertility temple dedicated to the Divine Madman or Lama Drukpa Kuenley. If you wish, receive the blessing from the Lama`s wooden phallus!

The Chimi Lhakhang is a Bhuddhist monastery located in the Punakha District of Bhutan. The monastery stands on a small hill close to the village of Lobesa and was constructed in 1499 by Ngawang Choegyel.

The Temple is very deeply connected to the legends of Saint Drukpa Kuenley also known as the Divine Madman. It has been said that the demon of Dochu-La with a magic thunderbolt of wisdom in imprisoned him in a rock close to the temple. Drukpa Kuenley is called the Divine Madman due to his unorthodox methods of teaching via songs, humor and sometimes bizarre and shocking behavior with deep sexual overtones. You might be shocked to see that the temple houses a number of wooden phalluses that the Lama had brought with him from Tibet. Pilgrims who visit the monastery receive the blessing by being struck on the head with a ten inch wooden Phallus (erect penis). The symbol of an erect penis is said to ward off evil.

The monastery is also known as the temple of fertility and is visited not only by the Bhutanese but women from countries as far as Japan and United States to receive a special blessing that can help these women conceive children. These women receive the blessing by getting struck on the head with a 10 inch wooden/ ivory phallus.

The Lhakhang is a square shaped building with a golden spire on its roof. The temple has many rows of prayer wheels and the temples exterior has embedded slate carvings of various Buddhist saints. Near the temples entrance there is a small Chorten that marks the spot where the Lama subdued the demon of Dochu La.

Lunch at cafteria

After lunch visit Punakha Dzong :

The Punakha Dzong or the Pungtang Dechen Phortang Dzong is located at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Po Chhu River, combine to form the Puna Tsang Chu which in turn is a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The Dzong was constructed by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal Wangchuck in 1638 on the exact spot as prophesized by the Guru Rinpoche some 800 years ago.

The Punakha Dzong is the second largest and the second oldest Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong is home to some of the most sacred relics of the Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism; it is also home to the sacred mortal remains of Shabdrung Nagawang Namgyal and Trenton Pema Lingpa the great treasure discoverer of Bhutan. The Punakha Dzong has also served as the capital Bhutan till 1955 before the capital was moved to Thimphu. The Dzong is still the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (chief abbot) and the central monastic body.

Over night stay at  Punakha

After break fast drive back to Paro

Visit Kyichu Lhakhang:

The Jowo Temple of Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. The temple was built by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo in the 7th Century AD. The Kyichu Lhakhang was one of the 108 temples constructed by him to subdue a demon that was terrorizing the people of the Himalayas. The temple is believed to have been visited by the Guru Rinpoche in the 8th Century during his visit to the Paro Valley. One of the most important relics of the temple is a 7th century statue of Jowo Sakyamuni which is believed to have cast the at the same time as it famous counterpart in Lhasa Tibet.

The Dungtse lhakhang:

Temple is located just north of the city of Paro. The Dungtse Lhakhang temple is very unique in its design as it’s designed like a Chorten (Stupa), which is highly unlike any other Lhakhang / temple in Bhutan. The Temple was built in the 1443 AD by Thantong Gyalpo, known as the iron bridge builder in Bhutanese legend. The Dungtse Lhakhang is built over 3 levels that represent the 3 spiritual realms of earth i.e. Hell, Earth and Heaven. The walls of the Dungtse Lhakhang are decorated in beautiful hand-painted murals that depict these 3 realms of earth. These beautiful murals are regarded as some of the finest examples of Bhutanese art in the country

Evening free time for shopping

Overnight at hotel   Paro

After early morning breakfast, we will take you for a morning hike up to Taktsang Monastery, also known as ‘Tiger’s Nest’. Hanging precariously and magically from a rather steep cliff, the Taktsang monastery is a monument of genuine pride for the Bhutanese nation. It defies architectural principles to the core and amazes tourists from around the world. It is a sight to behold. Taktsang or the Tigers lair as the monastery is called, it is widely regarded is one of the most important monuments of spiritual significance in Bhutan.

Its history is deeply associated with the visit of Guru Padmasambhava, the revered Indian saint who came to Bhutan in the 8th century AD. The cave was named Taktsang after Guru Rinpoche flew into the cave from Kurtoe Singye Dzong in eastern Bhutan while riding on a tigress. When he landed in the cave, he took the wrathful form of Guru Dorji Drolo who is regarded as one of the eight manifestations of Guru Rinpoche to decimate the demons.

Several saints have chosen this sanctuary to pray and meditate in solitude. The monastery was ravaged by fire twice in the 1900s first in 1951 and later the fire of 1998, which nearly destroyed the monastery completely. The government then undertook a comprehensive reconstruction in 2000. The monastery was recreated to its original splendor and re-opened to the public shortly thereafter From the road, the hike toward Taktsang follows an uphill route and takes approximately 2-3 hours at an average walking pace on a clear, sunny day.

Lunch at Cafeteria.

Overnight at hotel  Paro

In the morning your Bhutanese escort will bid you farewell at Paro airport. Good-bye and happy journey back home.

The Above Price includes following services;

  • Bhutan Visa
  • All Permits – Museum Fees
  • Standard Room in 3 Star Hotels – Upgrade to 4 & 5 Star can be arranged on Additional Cost.
  • Breakfast – Lunch – Dinner with Evening Tea
  • Tourism Council of Bhutan (TCB) Licensed Professional Driver
  • SUV for FIT & Toyota Van from 3 – 8 Pax & Toyota Coaster Coach from 8 – 20 Pax
  • Decade old TCB Licensed Tour Guide
  • All Sightseeing with Walks and Hikes
  • Bottled Mineral Water

Travel during Off Season: Jan-Feb-Jun-Jul-Aug-Dec

Single Traveller – Independent Traveller : $ 1140/-
Couple or Two Person Traveler – Independent Traveler : US$ 1090/-  per person
Group of 3 & More : US$ 940/- per person

Travel during Peak Season: Mar-Apr-May-Sept-Oct-Nov

Single Traveler – Independent Traveller : US$ 1365/-
Couple or Two Person – Independent Traveller: US$ 1350/-  per person
Group of 3 or More: US$ 1315/-

Not included:

  • Round Trip Air Tickets
  • International Travel Insurance
  • Alcohol & Beverages
  • Entertainment Cost – Pub & Nightclubs
  • Tips for Tour Guide, Driver and Hotel Staffs
  • Donations to Monasteries and Temples
  • Payment Wiring Fee of USD 50
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