TWO ANCIENT KINGDOMS - NEPAL & BHUTAN TOUR
Nepal Bhutan Tour Itinerary
Your adventure begins today. Please be informed, that you might have to face a long queue for immigration clearance and it gets messy during baggage collection. It’s a common scenario due to the lack of proper infrastructure and the high volume of tourists’ inflow during the peak season. However be assured about the helpful airport staff and friendly Nepali people around you. Our representative will be there to receive/greet you. Just look around to locate our company’s logo at the placard. You will be transferred to hotel. There will be full briefing in the evening.
After Breakfast proceed for sightseeing tour of Kathmandu city, Swayambhunath and Patan city.
Kathmandu Durbar Square: The buildings of the Kathmandu Durbar Square mostly date to the sixteenth to eighteenth centuries, but the white, European style Gaddi Durbar Palace was built in 1908. Unfortunately, the Kathmandu Durbar Square was extensively damaged during the earthquake of 2015. The ancient Kasthamandap temple, from which Kathmandu derives its name--completely collapsed. However, it is still worth visiting as a number of important buildings remain, and the overall atmosphere--with old men sitting chatting in the shadows, and children chasing pigeons--is as ironically Kathmandu as it always was.
Swayambhunath: One of the oldest Buddhist monuments of the valley, Swayambhu, also called a Monkey Temple, is UNESCO World Heritage site and an iconography for both Buddhist and Hindu. The gleaming white dome soaring atop a hill is capped by a gilded spire painted with the eyes of lord Buddha overlooking the Kathmandu valley in all the directions. Devotees are seen making a ritual circumnavigating of the base of the hill, spinning the prayer wheels.
Patan Durbar Square: Patan Durbar Square is one of the three Durbar Squares in the Kathmandu Valley, all of which are UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Paved with red bricks and oddles of bahals (courtyards) and temples mustered around, Patan Durbar Square showcases astonishing ancient architecture and centuries old palace of Malla kings. The square boasts three main courtyards. Mul Chok- the central courtyard is the largest of three chowks. Vidya temple and Taleju temple stand around this courtyard. The other two are Sundari Chok and Keshav Narayan Chok. Krishna Mandir is the major attraction of the square. It is a Hindu temple built in the Shikhara style, entirely of stones, structured like a mountain peak. King Siddhi Narasimha Malla built this architecture in 1637. The first floor pillar carvings notably narrate the events of the Mahabharat, while on the second floor there are visual carvings from Ramayan.
Bhaktapur Durbar Square: The third major Durbar Square of the Kathmandu Valley is in Bhaktapur, east of central Kathmandu. Visitors often say that it feels more like a museum than a lived-in space or center of commerce, like Patan’s or Kathmandu’s Durbar Squares. But it is the place to come for an introduction to fine Newari crafts. The wood, stone and metal carvings around the temples and the traditional clay pots drying in the courtyards in the sun are beautiful attractions of Bhaktapur.
Visit to Pottery Square and get your hands dirty and join an exciting pottery workshop in Bhaktapur, in the heart of the pottery center at Pottery Square. Learn from a master potter and take home your very own creation as a souvenir gift.
The tradition of pottery making is alive and well in the Nepalese town of Bhaktapur. This can be best seen at the 2 adjacent pottery squares
Before leaving Bhaktapur test a local food call Juju Dhau, sweetened custard like yogurt. Fresh buffalo milk and sugar will be use to make Juju Dhau. The milk is boiled, add some sugar, mixed with culture then poured into natural red clay pots which allow excess liquid to evaporate, leaving a delicious, thick, smooth and creamy yogurt.
Nagarkot is only a couple of hours’ drive from central Kathmandu, and is famous for its sunrise and sunset views of the Himalayas. It is 32km east of Kathmandu. From here one can enjoy Annapurna, Manaslu, Ganesh Himal, Langtang, Jugal Himal, Rolwaling, Mahalangur (Everest Range) and Numbur with views of Kathmandu Valley and Shivapuri National Park.
Fly, into Paro by Druk Air or Royal Bhutan Airline. 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 Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“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. Built in the 15 century by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.
After breakfast visit National Library, housing an extensive collection of priceless Buddhist manuscripts. The National Institute of Traditional Medicine, where Bhutan’s famed traditional herbal medicines are compounded and dispensed. The school of traditional arts and crafts (commonly known as Zorig Chusom), where students undergo a 6-year training course in Bhutan’s 13 traditional arts and crafts. The National Textile Museum, which is a good place to see the art of Bhutanese traditional weaving kept alive and preserved through exhibition and has a good collection of old textiles, which are rich in colors and designs. Women weaving intricate designs can also be seen here. The Folk Heritage Museum that gives an insight into Bhutanese rural life.
Afternoon, drive to Punakha across Dochu la pass (3088m), where you will visit Druk Wangyel Chortens (108 stupas) and Druk Wangyel Temple.
After breakfast, 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 concieve come here for blessing. Have your luch at the Chhimi Lhakhang cafeteria which is located near the monastery before continuing the journey towards Paro.
After breakfast, hike to Taktsang Goempa (Tiger's Nest Monastery). The hike up to the viewpoint will take about 1 1/2 hours and from there you will enjoy a spectacular view of the monastery clinging to the side of the cliff. You will stop here for refreshments and then hike further up to the monastery, which should take another 1 1/2 hours. It was first built in 1692, around the Taktsang Senge Samdup, a cave where Guru Padmasambhava is said to have meditated for three months in the 8th century. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche (Guru Padmasambhava) flew to this location from Khenpajong, Tibet on the back of a tigress and subdued a demon. He then performed meditation in one of the caves here and emerged in eight incarnated forms (manifestations) and blessed the place. Subsequently, the place came to be known as the “Tiger’s Nest”. Guru Padmasambhava is known for introducing Buddhism to Bhutan. Today, Paro Taktsang is the best known of the thirteen caves in which he meditated. After visiting the monastery, walk back downhill to the road with lunch at the viewpoint cafeteria.
Later visit Kichu temple, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demon.)
After breakfast transfer to the Paro International airport to connect onward flight to Delhi/Bangkok/Kathmandu.
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