[Thimphu-02 – Punakha-02 – Paro-02 ]
DAY 1: ARRIVE PARO AND DRIVE TO THIMPHU
The flight into Bhutan takes you close to the great Himalayas; offering incredible scenic views of some of world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter the Paro valley, you will pass forested hills with the slivery Pa Chu (Paro River) meandering down the valley below with the Paro Dzong (fortress) and Ta Dzong (watch tower).
As you arrive into Paro, you will be met by your guide and chauffeured to your hotel in Thimphu (1 hour and 30 minutes drive). En-route stop to visit the Tamchog Lhakhang and marvel at the iron bridge reconstructed using original chain links from the famous Tibetan bridge builder Thangtong Gyelpo from Tibet.
On arrival in Thimphu check into the hotel for lunch and relax in the hotel.
Later in the evening visit National Memorial Chorten- This landmark of Thimphu was built in 1974 in the memory of third King, Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan. It is a four-storey tall white building, containing statues and iconography of deities from complex tantric teachings and serves as an important place of worship for Thimphu residents, as well as from other parts of the country. This landmark would be an interesting photo spot if you were looking for different faces, as here you will encounter people from all walks of life.
Afterwards return back to your hotel.
Spend two overnight in a hotel in Thimphu. Your accommodation will be in a double room with ensuite facilities and your stay is on a room + breakfast+ dinner basis.
DAY 2: EXPLORE THIMPHU
This morning, after a leisurely breakfast, you will proceed with visits to the National Library, which holds a vast collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion. This can be followed up by a visit to the Folk Heritage Museum – a three storied, 19th century traditional house, which provides a glimpse of the Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. One can come across typical household objects, tools and equipment’s.
Afterwards drive short distance to visit Buddha Dordenma – a gigantic Shakyamuni Buddha statue. The statue is filled with over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues, each of which, like the Buddha Dordenma itself, but made of bronze and gilded in gold. At a height of 51.5 metres, it is one of the tallest Buddha statues on the world.
Later drive back to the town for lunch. After lunch, you set out with your guide to Cheri Goempa (Monastery), its 30 minutes drive to the base of the temple and then you start your hike by crossing a lovely bridge that spans the Thimphu river, and then climbs steeply to the monastery. The hike takes about an hour. This Goempa was built in 1620 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal. You can interact with the Buddhist Monks here and can receive the blessings as well.
Later walk back to the car park for drive back to the hotel. Also visit Trashichhoedzong Dzong this evening.
DAY 3: DRIVE FROM THIMPHU TO PUNAKHA VIA DOCHULA PASS
Early this morning, post breakfast, you will be chauffeured to Puankha (3 ½ hour drive). The road climbs steeply through a scenic forest of pine and cedar trees, to Dochu La pass (10,000 feet). The pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges, and then descends into the fertile valley of Punakha (4,430 feet).
Well before reaching Punakha stop en route and hike about 30 minutes to the Chimi Lhakhang on a small hilltop. The temple was dedicated to the great Yogi in the 14th century, known as Drukpa Kuenley, as well as the “Divine Madman.” He dramatized Buddhist teachings using songs. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility. This is a good place to take a photograph of the village farmhouse and the villagers.
Later proceed towards Punakha and en-route stop to visit Punakha Dzong (the Dzong closes at 5 PM for visitors). Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the dzong was built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in recent years by the present monarch.
Afterwards drive to your hotel for check in and rest.
Spend two overnight in a hotel in Punakha. Your accommodation will be in a double room with ensuite facilities. Your stay is on a room + breakfast + dinner basis.
Day 4 – EXPLORE PUNAKHA
After an early breakfast, drive to the suspension bridge from where begin a hike to the Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten: This three storey lhakhang was built by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Tsering Yangdon for the protection of the country. It has an impressive view of Punakha valley. The deities represented here belong to a teaching cycle of Dudjom Rinpoche, a great Nyingmapa master (1904-87). The functions of the deities are to subjugate enemies and harmful influences and also to spread peace and harmony. The hakhan is a 45 minute hike from the main road
Afterwards drive back to your Hotel or in the town for lunch.
Optional Activitiy: After lunch, may be with a brief rest in the hotel set out on a rafting activity on either Pho Chu/ Mo Chu river. Both the river has different grades of tide, you will be provided with a Bhutanese escort for this activity. This activity needs to be booked in advance, so please do let our office know about it, so that we can make the pre-arrangements.
Overnight at your hotel.
DAY 5: DRIVE PUNAKHA TO PARO VIA THIMPHU
Today after an early breakfast you will be chauffeured to Paro (4 ½ hours), once again crossing Dochu La pass.
On arrival in Paro check into the hotel for lunch and a short rest.
Afterwards visit Kyichu Lhakhang, built in the 7th century, is one of the two oldest and most sacred shrines in Bhutan (the other being Jambey Lhakhang in Bumthang). Kyichu Lhakhang is composed of twin temples. The first temple was built by the Tibetan king, Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century. In 1968, H.M. Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother of Bhutan, arranged for a second temple to be built alongside the first one, in same style.
Afterwards continue your drive towards hotel for check in. En-route to hotel visit Kyichu temple- the oldest temple in the kingdom dating back to 7th century. The temple houses the beautiful statue of Buddha with crown and a statue of the – god of compassion with thousand hands and thousand eyes.
Spend two overnight in a hotel in Paro. Your accommodation will be in double room with ensuite facilities and your stay is on room + breakfast + dinner basis.
DAY 6: EXPLORE PARO
After an early breakfast, we take a short drive to the north of Paro Valley to Ramthankha, from where we start our hike to the Taktsang monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of tress festooned with Spanish moss and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche, founder of Buddhism flew from Eastern Bhutan on a tigress, bringing Buddhist teachings and meditated here in this cliff. This is one of the most venerated and sacred of all Buddhist sights around the world.
Afterwards, walk down to Taktsang cafeteria for a short break and tea. Walk downhill to the road where our car has been parked and return to the hotel for rest and lunch.
DAY 7 – FLY PARO TO DELHI
This morning, you will be transferred to the Paro airport to board your flight back to Delhi (by Drukair).
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