The Bhutan Kingdom
This tour will leave you mesmerized and make you fall in love with Bhutan’s beauty and people! Thimphu & Paro welcomes you with various cultural attractions. Tiger’s Nest- a group of Buddhist monasteries, located on the cliffside of Paro valley will offer you a thrilling hike up the cliff with mesmerizing, soothing views! Delve deep into Bhutan’s rich history & culture by going to the National Museum of Bhutan & checking out the artifacts preserved there. Take this trip to renew your soul this year!
Key Tags: Bhutan Tour Packages from Delhi | Paro Tour Holiday Package | Thimphu Tour Holiday Package | Luxury Bhutan Tour Packages | Bhutan Tour Packages from India
Arrive Paro =>Paro to Thimphu (Surface)Landing in Paro valley is a perfect entry into this other world, with its transparent purity of the air and its absorbing serenity. Paro retains its bucolic nature in spite of the existence of development projects. Fields of brown or green depending on the season cover most of the valley floor while hamlets and isolated farms dot the landscape.
On arrival drive to Thimpu (65 Km / 01 Hr) and check-in at the hotel.
Thimphu, which is situated in a large valley traversed by the Wangchu River and overshadowed by high peaks.
Afterward we drive towards the Takin Reserve, Mothithang. We will then take a Five minute walk from the road to a viewing area where you can capture sights of the 'Takin" the national animal of Bhutan. The Takin is listed by international conservation agencies as a vulnerable species and it is a rare animal found only in Bhutan,Nepal, Burma and China. This animal is chosen as the national animal of Bhutan for its uniqueness and it association with the country's national religious history and mythology. If you are lucky, you can also sight a few sambar and barking deer at the reserve area.
As evening falls we will visit the Trashichhodzong, the beautiful medieval fortress /monastery is Bhutan's administrative and religious centre which houses most of the Government's office and the King's Throne Room. It is also the summer residence of Je - Khenpo, the Chief Abbot. The National Assembly hall is located in a new building across the river.
This will bring us to the end of our sightseeing in Thimphu for today.
Overnight at the hotel
In ThimphuWe begin our day with a visit to the Memorial Chorten, with its golden spires shining in the sun, its tinkling bells and an endless procession of elderly people circling around it. Erected by the royal grandmother, Ashi Phutsho Choedren in memory of her son the third king Jigme Dorje Wangchuck, it contains a fine collection of Buddhist statues and is a center of tantric Buddhism in all its complexity.
Later we will make a stop at the Centenary Park where the walking Buddha resides; the entire statue was built by Thai workers who specifically came to Bhutan to build the statue. It stands 45 feet tall.
Visit the Folk Heritage Museum, founded by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangchuck. The museum is dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past through an exhibition of items and artifacts used in rural households, demonstrating customs, traditions, habits and skills. The principal exhibit is the museum building itself which is a restored three-storey traditional rammed mud and timber house. It contains household objects, typical domestic tools and equipment used by a rural family. You will have an opportunity to witness locals preparing local dishes, giving you an insight to the Bhutanese way of cooking.
Next, visit the Drupthop Lhakhang Nunnery one of the few surviving nunneries in Bhutan. It was founded in 1976 by Rikey Jadrel, who is considered as emanation of Thangthong Gyalpo (1363 – 1485), the builder of numerous iron chain bridges across the Himalayas. Thang Thong Gyalpo often referred to as The King of the open field. In the early 15th century with his multiple talents he popularly became the Leonardo Da Vinci of the Great Himalayas. The place also has a great view of the majestic, Tashi Chhoe Dzong (Fortress of Glorious Religion) and government cottages nearby.
A golf course spans much of the district flanking the lower eastern part.
Onward, we will visit Kuensel Phodrang, where the Buddha Dordena resides, it is said to be one of the largest Buddha in the world, standing at 169 feet / 51.5 meters. You will see Thimphu city from a bird's eye view.
This evening, enjoy a walk up and down the high street lined with little shops of all descriptions. There is always a colorful gathering passing from ubiquitous monk bodies to Bhutanese businessmen, to nomadic farmers that come to trade supplies. You can also visit the newly opened Craft Bazaar, which is the Royal Government of Bhutan's initiative to promote local craftsmanship, these stalls carry only Bhutanese authentic arts and crafts.
Overnight at the hotel
In ThimphuMorning, we will drive towards Wangdiphiodrang. En route we will visit the Simthokha Dzong, the oldest fortress built in 1629 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (the man who unified Bhutan). The fortress serves as an administrative center, and the center for the monk's religious activity. The fortress now houses a language school, where scholars study both Dzongkha (the national language) and the English.
Leaving Simthokha/ Thimphu, we continue into the countryside towards the Punakha valley ( 3 hrs drive), the winter capital of Bhutan. The drive ascends gradually to the Dochu la pass over 10300 ft, with magnificent vistas of the Himalayan range.
The Dochu la Monastery also known as the Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chortens is a tribute to the service and leadership of His Majesty the king. The design inspired by the Queen is a unique cluster of 108 Chortens seen from all directions. The descent to Punakha is vibrant and colorful, with the fluttering prayer flags adding to a rich topography dotted by terrace farming and rivers flowing through.
Later, we traverse the Punakha countryside walking through paddy fields to the Pana Village to see the `Chimi Lhakhang’ built by the great Lama Drukpa Kinley in 1400 to subdue local demons. The temple is a popular pilgrimage point for all Bhutanese and is specially revered by women for its fertility powers.
The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenley, who in the late 15th century used humor, songs and outrageous behavior to dramatize his teachings and due to this also known as "Divine Madman".
This temple is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that childless couples who pray at this temple, are usually blessed with a child very soon. It is about 30 minute walk across field from the road to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana, meaning "field". It then follows a tiny stream downhill to Yoaka and across more fields before making a short climb to Chimi Lhakhang.
After lunch, we will visit the historic Punakha Dzong sprawled at the confluence of the Phochu (male) and Mochu (female) rivers. It was built by Shabdrung Nawang in 1637 and serves as the winter residence of the head abbot, Je Khenpo and headquarters of the district administration.
In the late afternoon we will drive back to the hotel. Evening at leisure.
Overnight at the hotel
Thimphu to Paro (Surface)After an early breakfast, we will drive towards Paro (65 Kms / 01 Hr). Visit the National Museum, located in Paro Dzong's 17th-century watchtower. The building itself boasts an unusual shape said to resemble a conch shell.
NOTE: During the September 2010 earthquake there were severe damages to the main building of the museum. Because of which the main building is closed to visitors however objects and artifacts have been moved to a new wing, just above the main building where visitors are allowed to visit.
See a fine collection of old thangka paintings and textiles, ancient weapons, and Bhutanese artifacts. The museum, by the way, is considered a temple due to the religious objects it houses and as such we are asked to remove our shoes and to move inside in a clockwise direction.
Visit the Paro Dzong, also called Rinpung Dzong, the Fortress of a Heap of Jewels. Constructed in the early 15th century as a diminutive fort, it was presented to the religious and political authority of Shabdrung Ngarvang, who developed it into a much more commanding fortress in 1646.
This is, without doubt, one of the kingdom's finest examples of traditional Bhutanese architecture. Once, great catapults here flung stones at invading Tibetans. Today the Dzong houses a monastic school. Two hundred resident monks take meals in a communal room. Several interesting paintings here include an unusual Bhutanese interpretation of a mandala, a diagram of the cosmos.
Return to our transport crossing the traditional wooden covered bridge called NYAMAI-ZAM which spans the Paro River. Earlier, in times of war, the bridge was removed each time to protect the Dzong!
The rest of the day is at leisure, you can take a walk down Paro's main street, straight and windswept, its occasional idlers leaning against the store-fronts. It's another opportunity to interact with the local people and visit the interesting small shops occupying the ground levels that provide the basic necessities.
Overnight at the hotel
Paro to Ramthanka => Hike to Tiger's NestAfter breakfast, we drive around 30 minutes to Ramthanka base for a hike to view one of Bhutan's most revered pilgrimage sites of the Buddhist world, the Taktshang Lhakhang, popularly known as the "Tiger's Nest" Monastery. The trek offers spectacular views of this sacred monastery perched precariously on a sheer rock face 3000 ft above the valley floor. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, father of Bhutan's stream of Mahayana Buddhism arrived in the Paro valley more than a millennium ago on a back of a tigress. He meditated for 3 months in a cave that was converted into this monastery. The only sounds heard here are the murmurs of wind, water and the chanting of monks.
We begin with a hike to the Cafeteria which serves as a midway point and has wonderful views of the Tiger's Nest. From here it's about an hour's trek through some stunning landscape to reach the monastery. On our return, we stop by once more at the Cafeteria for lunch. Later, we begin our descent to Ramthanka base.
In the afternoon, we will visit the nearby Kyichu Lakhang: it is one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the Kingdom dating back to 7th century (the other is Jambey Lhakhang in Bumthang). The lhakhang complex is composed of two temples. The first temple was built by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century and in 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, built the second temple in same original pattern.
Overnight at the hotel
Leave ParoIn time transfer to Paro International Airport for flight back home.