Bhutan Trip Advisor is Now 1-derful Bhutan Tours
Best time: 3rd WEEK OF MARCH – 1st WEEK OF APRIL
Duration: 3rd WEEK OF MARCH – 1st WEEK OF APRIL
Festival dates: 4th – 6th APRIL, 2017
Fixed Date: 23rd March – 7th April, 2017
Entry: PARO, 23rd March, 2017
Exit: SAMDRUP JONGKHAR, 7th April, 2017
Punakha Tsechu (Festival) is slightly different from the festivals which take place in other districts, in the sense that a battle that took place between the Tibetan and the Bhutanese armies in the 17th Century is re-enacted by the monks apart from the various mask dances and folk dances. The dances itself represents the dances performed by Guru Padmasambhava and is believed to purify the grounds and the spectators.
BRIEF ITINERARY :-
DAY 1: Arrive at Paro, drive to Thimphu
DAY 2: Thimphu sightseeing
DAY 3: Thimphu - Punakha
DAY 4: : Punakha festival
DAY 5: Punakha - Phobjikha
DAY 6: Phobjikha - Paro
DAY 7: Paro, Tiger's Nest (Taktsang) hike
DAY 8: DEPARTURE
Districts you will cover: Paro, Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang
DAY 1:Arrival: Paro – Thimphu
On arrival, you will be received at the airport by 1-derfulbhutantours.travel’s representative who will be your guide during your stay in Bhutan.
Drive to Paro town for lunch and to freshen up. After lunch, visit the National Museum and Paro Rinpung Dzong, the District Administrations’ and Religious activities’ centre.
Start drive to Thimphu and check-in at your hotel and then go out in town to mingle with the locals.
Overnight at a hotel in Thimpu
DAY 2:Thimphu Sightseeing continued
After a leisurely breakfast go visit the following places
Bhutanese paper factory: It is a private factory that produces handmade paper locally known as desho, the paper is made from the barks of the Daphne Papyrus plant.
School of Arts and Crafts, students learn the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan ensuring the prevalence of the Bhutanese culture and traditions.
The Folk Heritage Museum, it’s an old house belonging to an old aristocratic family and has been converted into a museum that showcases the lifestyle of a Bhutanese in the olden days
Have lunch in town and visit the following places
Kuensel Phodrang, aka the Buddha Point as the world’s tallest ‘Sitting Buddha’ statue is being constructed at this place, this is a nice place to get a bird’s eye view of Thimphu valley.
National Memorial Chorten, this large stupa was built by the Queen mother of the 3rd King in memory of her son, this is a place of solace and elder people come here for circumambulation and to socialize with other elders.
Takin Preserve to see the National animal of Bhutan, a weird animal that looks like a cross between a cow and a goat.
Zilukha Nunnery to see the life of nuns in a Buddhist country, it is privately funded so donations are welcome as it will help to sustain the livelihood of the nuns.
Tashichhoe Dzong, a fortress in the evening to see the seat of the Government and Religious activities. The King and the Chief Abbot’s office are in this building.
Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu
DAY 3: Thimphu – Punakha
Have a leisurely breakfast and drive to reach Dochula Pass (3000m) and stop for a view of the snow capped Himalayas. Continue drive towards Punakha. Stop at Lobesa village and have lunch before going for a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang (Temple of Fertility), it is dedicated to Lam Drukpa Kuenley (Divine Mad Man) and is the place from where Phalluses originated as the symbol of fertility and protection and can be seen everywhere in Bhutan, on house walls and roofs and altars. After that drive to your hotel and relax for the day.
Overnight at a hotel in Punakha/ Wangdue Phodrang.
DAY 4: Punakha/ Wangdue excursion
Visit Punakha Dzong to see the Tsechu (Festival). The main part of the festival represents the short battle between the Tibetans and the Bhutanese. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, when he came to Bhutan had brought the most important relic, a self created image of Chenrizig (Buddha of Compassion), the size of a rice grain. The Tibetan army followed to retrieve the relic. As a whole the festival is a tribute to Guru Padmasambhava, the 8th Century Saint who introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. Many different mask dances are performed during the festival.
Khamsum Yueley Namgyal Chorten, a beautiful stupa dedicated to the 5th King. The hike up and down will take about 2 hours including time taken to see the stupa from within. Then drive down to Punakha and visit Punakha Dzong, the old Capital till 1950’s. It is considered one of the most beautiful dzongs in the country and is believed to be a replica of Guru Padmasambhava’s palace in his paradise.
Have lunch in town and drive towards Wangdue Phodrang and stop near Rinchengang village to visit it. The village is one of the oldest continually inhabited communities in the country, and the residents are said to be originally Indians who were brought here during the construction of the Dzongs in the 17th Century. The people are still considered to be very good craftsmen. Drive back to Punakha through Wangdue Phodrang and on a dirt road across the river.
Overnight at a hotel in Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang
DAY 5: Punakha – Phobjikha
Have breakfast and drive to Phobjikha, the valley of the Black Necked Cranes. This is the winter nesting grounds for the endangered Black Necked Cranes, they start arriving by October end and leave for the Tibetan plateau by February.
Once in Phobjikha, visit Gangtey Goenpa, it is one of the largest privately funded Nyingma School (a sect of Buddhism) and is said to have been built by the incarnation of the great Treasure Discoverer, Terton Pema Lingpa. After that, you can go for a hike along the Nature Trail which will take you around and then finally down to the valley where the Black Necked Cranes roost, where your driver will pick you up to take you to your hotel.
Overnight at Hotel/ Guest House in Phobjikha valley
DAY 6: Phobjikha – Paro
After breakfast, drive towards Wangdue Phodrang, then up to Dochula Pass and then down to Thimphu where you will have lunch, or if the day is clear you can enjoy the view of the Himalayan range from Dochula Cafeteria while having lunch.
After lunch drive to Thimphu town for the last time, you can do a bit of souvenir shopping before you drive on towards Paro, where you will straightaway check-in at your hotel.
Overnight at a Hotel in Paro
DAY 7: Paro: Taktsang hike
Have early breakfast and drive up to the base of Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). The most famous and sacred site among all the places in Bhutan, Guru Padmasambhava is said to have come riding on a flying tigress to this place and meditated in a cave for 3 months. It wasn’t until Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal came to this place and meditated that it gained the popularity that it has now. The present structure is said to be built in the 15th century but was destroyed by fire in 1998 and has been restored.
The walk is about 2 hours till the top through wide pathways which was built during the restoration works. One hour into the climb there is a tea point from where you get a very good view of the monastery, they also serve lunch here. From there it’s about another 45 minutes climb to the 2nd view point and the highest point in the hike.
Overnight at a Hotel in Paro
DAY 9: DEPARTURE
JAMBAY LHAKHANG DRUP
MUSHROOM (MATSUTAKE) FESTIVAL
GOMPHU KORA TSHECHU
HAA SUMMER FESTIVAL
DOCHULA, DRUK WANGYEL TSHECHU