Cultural Tour of Bhutan
Mystically hidden in the folds of the Great Himalayas is the last Shangri-La on earth, known to most as Bhutan but these hill-people proudly call themselves Drukpa and their land Druk or Drukyul, literally translated-the Land of Thunder Dragon. What has set this little nation apart from the rest of the world is its courageous decision to adopt Gross National Happiness (GNH) as its guiding philosophy for development.Hence, here in Bhutan progress is measured in terms of the collective happiness of its citizens, a dream proclaimed in 1972 by a young Dragon king who was then barely out of his teens. His Majesty the fourth King has also envisioned creating an enlightened society through a balanced pursuit of material progress and spiritual wellbeing.
Many visitors describe Bhutan as a mystical, harmonious valley coexisting with nature. Gross National Happiness which was introduced as developmental policy is now individuals’ everyday living principles. As you walk through any valley you will hear laughter echoing through paddy fields. Bhutanese have so much time at hand contrary to people in western countries. You meet any Bhutanese especially from rural areas they will talk with you for hours. The idea of rush-hour is hardly familiar to Bhutanese. Bhutanese are mostly peaceful. Most Bhutanese aspire for enlightenment. At an individual level they practice mindfulness. At a society they render help. Most Bhutanese avoid animal cruelty. They are genuinely kind even to stray dogs. You could still walk through any village of Bhutan and feel safe. Bhutanese love their neighbours as their own family. They ensure safety, food and health of their neighbour. With Bhutanese kindness you could still survive some months without a job.
Cultural Tour of Bhutan 7Nights / 8Days Itinerary
Fly into Paro by Druk Air, or Royal Bhutan Airline. The great snow-capped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the heavens can be seen during clear weather. You will be received at the Paro airport. After completion of airport formalities, you will drive through the lovely Paro valley to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. The road runs down through the Paro valley, to Chuzom (Confluence) at the entrance to the valley, where the Paro and Thimphu rivers meet. Three chortens (Stupa) on the riverbank at this place, each in a different style, mark the confluence of the two rivers. The road passes along a narrow valley with high, rocky cliffs on the left, and then the valley opens out into farmland on the approach to Thimphu.
On arrival at Thimphu, check into the hotel. After refreshments, sightseeing in Thimphu valley which includes visits to some of the following depending on your interest and time availability: The National Memorial Chorten, continuously circulated by the faithful, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty JigmeDorjiWangchuck (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.
Later visit Tashichhodzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of the monarch’s throne room and seat of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot.
After breakfast will visit; Memorial Chorten which was built by Her majesty Ashi Phuntsho Choden in memory of her late son His majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk ("the father of modern Bhutan") the third king of Bhutan. Kuenselphodrang where you can see largest buddha statue in Bhutan which is about 169 feet tall. Then will visit Changangkha Lhakhang (Temple) one of the oldest temple in Thimphu. Followed by Folk and Heritage Museums, a fascinating testimony of Bhutan's living traditions. Then will visit Zorig Chusum, where students are taught 13 arts and crafts of Bhutan. And will also visit National Library. Will have lunche and after lunch wull visit Bhutan post if you like to have personalised stamps. Then will visit Vegetable Market provided it falls on weekend. Towards evening will visit drive Motithang, and visit Takin Reservation where you will find Takin, the National animal of Bhutan native to only Himalayas. Then will drive towards Trashichho dzong, the beautiful fortress which houses most of the Government's office and King's Throne room. It is also the summer residence of Je Khenpo, the Chief Abbot enroute will visit Nunnery at Zilikha.
After breakfast will drive to Phobjekha. On the way you will stop at Dochula (3150m) and there you can see 108 Druk Wangyel Chorten. If you wish we can stop for tea and snacks as there is a cafe. You will then drive down further through temperate forests into semitropical range of orange and cactuses. After crossing Wangdi will ascend to Gangtey. On reaching Gangtey depending on the time will do a short Natural Trail that will take you through the beautiful pine forest and beautiful village. If it is in winter you will see the Black Necked Crane one of the endangered bird species in world.
After breakfast will visit Gangtey Sangacholing Monastery which was built in 1613 by Gyalse Pema Thinley grandson of terton Pema Lingpa. And here you will love the wooden work and is one of the best wood work in Bhutan. The wood carvings here are awesome. Then will drive to Punakha. After reaching Punakha will visit Punakha dzong built on the confluence of Phochu (Male River) and Mochu (Female River). Today it is the winter residence of the Je- khenpho the chief abbot and also serves as the administration center of the Punakha district. After that will do a short hike about 1 hours to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyel Chorten from where you will have a stunning view a Kabesa village and the Mochu River, with all paddy fields in the back of rivers. Overnight at Punakha.
After breakfast visit visit the Punakha Dzong, placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the dzong was built in the 17th century by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. It was here that the dual system of government was introduced and in 1907, enthroned the first King Gongsar Ugyen Wangchuck. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in the recent years by the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck. At the Dzong enrich your trip with the opportunity to see the highest standards in woodwork. Do not miss the massive Kuenray, the Coronation Hall of all Bhutanese kings, the Dzongchung at the entrance to the dzong and the cantilever bridge over the Mochu that has been recently renovated.
Later en-route to Paro valley, stop at Lobesa to visit the Devine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where couples unable to conceive come here for blessing. Have your lunch at the Chhimi Lhakhang cafeteria which is located near the monastery before continuing the journey towards Paro.
Bumthang is different from all the other valleys in Bhutan. It is very spacious and open ranging in altitude from 2600m to 4000m. Bumthang is a heaven for hikers and Trekkers, not to mention the numerous beautiful and important Buddhist monasteries and pilgrimage sites.Take a walk up to Tamshing monastery, founded by the Terton Pema Lingpa, a Bhutanese saint of the Nyingma school of Tibetan Buddhism. Visit Jambay Lhakhang and Kurjey Lhakhang one of the oldest monastery in the Kingdom.
One could spend months exploring this fascinating valley. Almost every little valley or hill has a background of interesting myths and legends about Kings, Buddhist masters and Serpents. Bumthang is especially dominated by the religious influence of Guru Rinpoche (Padmasambhava) who is believed to be the second Buddha 7th –8th A.D. His reincarnation the Treasure reveller or Terton Pema Lingpa (1450-1521) who is known to have discovered many sacred Buddhist texts & treasures hidden by Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche)
After breakfast will drive to Haa Valley via Chelela pass which is highest motor-able road in Bhutan with the altitude of 3988m from sea level. And from there will have a very good panoramic view whole around. And also if weather is fine we can see the second highest peak in Bhutan, Mt. Jumolhari Then will continue down to Haa. And on reaching Haa will visit Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple). Will have lunch at Haa and then will continue to drive to Paro.
After breakfast travel to the International airport to connect onward flight.
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