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THIMPHU TSHECHU



Best time: 3rd & 4th WEEK OF SEPTEMBER, 2017

Duration: 8N/ 9D

Festival dates: 26th SEPTEMBER – 2nd OCTOBER, 2017

Fixed Date: 25th SEPTEMBER – 2nd OCTOBER, 2017

Entry: PARO, 25th September, 2017

Exit: PARO, 2nd October, 2017

Tentative Thimphu Festival (Tsechu) dates for 2017: Nov 26, 2017 till Nov 29, 2017

One of the biggest and the most popular of all the festivals in Bhutan, this takes place at the ceremonial grounds just outside Tashichhoe Dzong, the Center of Administrations and Religious Activities. This festival is visited by locals as much as by the tourists as people may get a rare chance to see His Majesty and the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot) at the ceremony. Locals, both men and women wear colorful dresses adorned by their scarfs (generally red for women and a long white shawl type for men).

BRIEF ITINERARY :-

DAY 1: Arrive at Paro
DAY 2: Paro sightseeing
DAY 3: Paro - Punakha
DAY 4: Punakha sightseeing
DAY 5: Punakha - Thimphu
DAY 6: Thimphu sightseeing
DAY 7: Thimphu festival
DAY 8: Thimphu - Haa - Paro
DAY 9: DEPARTURE


Districts you will cover: Thimphu, Punakha, Wangdue Phodrang, Haa and Paro

ITINERARY DETAIL





Day 1: Arrival: Paro, drive to Thimphu

On arrival, guests will be received at the airport by our representative who will be your tour guide and companion for the whole duration of your tour in Bhutan.

Drive to Thimphu after that and check-in at your hotel.

Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.


Day 2: Thimphu sightseeing

Post breakfast, You will attend a half day of Thimphu Drubchen, which is held in the inner courtyard of Tashichhodzong, which houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the King, and residence of the Chief Abbot and the Central Monastic Body.

Besides the annual Tsechu in Thimphu, the festival kicks off with Thimphu Dromchoe. The ceremony was introduced by Kuenga Gyaltshen and dates back to the 18th century. Earlier the Dromchoe was held for only one day but now it is celebrated 3 days before Thimphu Tshechu. The program of Dromchoe is similar to the Tshechu’s with sacred dances dedicated to the protective deities of Bhutan.

Have lunch in town, rest for a while and then visit the following places.

Folk Heritage Museum: The folk heritage museum was open to the general public in 2001 upon completion. It treasures troves of culture and rich Bhutanese heritage provide rich insights into the Bhutanese ethos. Try to schedule your visit during the morning hours since the museum is less crowded at that time and there is plenty of sunlight to go around. The folk heritage museum is housed in a replica traditional Bhutanese house learn first-hand about Bhutan‟s rich cultural traditions. The tour of this almost living museum will also give you a glimpse onto how many rural folk of the country live today following the ancient Bhutanese ways.

Kuensel phodrang: The Kuensel Phodrang or the Buddha point is the world‟s largest sitting Buddha statue, the statue is 167 feet high. The statue is situated on top of a hill overlooking the city of Timphu, it can be accessed by road and is about 15 minutes away from the city’s center. The word Kuensel means everything is clear and from this place you will sure enjoy a great view of the Thimphu Valley on both sides. The statute will house a temple inside it.

Motithang Takin preserve: The Motithang Takin Preserve also known as the Thimphu Zoo by many is a small natural preserve for the Takin Bhutan’s national animal. It was originally a mini zoo, but it was converted in a preserve later on as the Takin The preserve is a forested preserve that mimics the Takin’s natural habitat, in addition to the Takin there are a few musk deer and barking deer that live inside the preserve. There are plans to expand the preserves collection to include other rarely seen animals that live in Bhutan, currently the preserve plans to add the Red Panda and the Himalayan Serow to the preserve.

Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu.


Day 3: Thimphu – Punakha

Post breakfast drive toward Punakha, stop at Dochula Pass (3000m) for spectacular view of the snow capped Himalayas, if you get stuck at the road block (due to road widening process), have some tea at Dochula. 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. Childless couples usually go to this temple to get blessings so that they conceive and are blessed with a child.

Then drive to Punakha Dzong: The Punakha Dzong or the Pungtang Dechen Phortang Dzong is located at the confluence of the Mo Chhu and the Po Chhu River, combine to form the Puna Tsang Chu which in turn is a tributary of the mighty Brahmaputra River. The Punakha Dzong is the second largest and the second oldest Dzong in Bhutan. The Dzong is home to some of the most sacred relics of the Drukpa Kagyu School of Buddhism; it is also home to the sacred mortal remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and Terton Pema Lingpa the great treasure discoverer of Bhutan. Punakha Dzong has also served as the capital Bhutan till 1955 before the capital was moved to Thimphu. The Dzong is still the winter residence of the Je Khenpo (chief abbot) and the central monastic body. The Dzong plays host to the annual Punakha Tshechu Festival which is very popular with the locals and tourists alike.

Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.


Day 4: Punakha – Phobjikha valley excursion

Post breakfast drive to Phobjikha, the valley of the Black Necked Cranes. This is believed to be a glacial valley and 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. Visit the beautiful 17th Century Gangtey Monastery, it is the largest privately funded Nyingma Monastery in the country and was recently renovated in 2007, some surrounding beautification works are still being done. Then go for the Nature Trail hike that takes you around the valley from where you can get spectacular views of the valley below. Your car will pick you up down in the valley. You can have lunch in one of the hotels before driving back to Punakha

Overnight at a hotel in Punakha.


Day 5: Punakha – Thimphu

After breakfast, drive southwards and take a short hike to visit Rinchengang Village: It is about 5 minutes walk up from road point and one of the oldest continually inhabited villages in the country. The people of this village were apparently brought in from Cooch Behar region in India during the 17th Century to help in the construction of the great Dzongs that were being built during that time; one may even be able to tell the difference in appearances from other people living in Punakha region. The people there are still considered to be very skilled craftsmen in traditional construction and are sought after, especially in construction or renovation of Dzongs. Houses there are mostly built of mud bricks which is a unique feature specialised to this village.

You can also get a great view of the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong ruins from there. It was destroyed by fire in June 2012 and is under renovation.

Then trace the road back up to Dochula and then to Thimphu where you can check-in and have lunch before going to the Dzong to the last day of the Drubchen.

Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu


Day 6: Thimphu Festival – Drive to Paro in the afternoon

Post breakfast, You will attend a half day of Thimphu Tshechu, which is held in Tendrelthang (courtyard) of Tashichhodzong, which houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the king and the central monk body.

The Tsechu / festival are a religious festival in honor of Guru Rinpoche, who brought the Buddhism to this country in 8th century. The Bhutanese dressed in their finest clothes, come from all over for the festivities of the Thimphu Tsechu. It is believed one who witnesses the festival/the tsechu will bestow with much luck, they gain merits and their wishes are realized. The tsechu is also a yearly social gathering where people rejoice together.Most dances in the program have religious significance. Folk dance by the Royal Academy of Performing Arts is interspersed with religious or mask dance. The Thimphu Tsechu was established by the 4th temporal ruler, Tenzin Rabgye in 1670 on the 8th month of Bhutanese calendar to commemorate the birth of Guru Rinpoche.

The Thimphu Festival (Tsechu) is one of the grandest of Bhutan’s festivals and attracts the largest audience. Featuring dances performed by trained monks and laymen in amazing masks and costumes, Tsechus (festivals) are one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. A Tsechu is a Buddhist festival in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. The Thimphu Tsechu was established by the 4th Temporal Ruler, Tenzing Rabgye (1638-1696) in 1670. This festival also provides a great opportunity to witness locals gathered in their finest Gho’s and Kira’s in a celebration of their culture and faith. This tour also visits sacred sites in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha.

The second day introduces the spectacular Zhana Cham, where dancers representing yogis who have the power to take and recreate life, are dressed in large black hats and brocade. The mesmerizing Zhana Nga Chham follows, where the dancers perform a victory with drums following the destruction of evil. The Pholey Moley (Noblemen and Ladies) is a humorous drama based on the men and women in King Norzhang’s court.

Below will be the detail programmer:-
• Dance of Lord of Death and His Consort (Shinje Yab Yum).
• Dance of four Stags (Sha Tsam).
• Dance of Judgement of the Dead (Raksha Mangcham).
• Dance of the Drums from Dramitse ( Dramitse Nga Cham).

Have lunch and go back to the Dzong to see the festival.

Overnight at a hotel in Thimphu


Day 7: Thimphu Festival – Drive to Paro in the afternoon

Post lunch drive to Paro, on the way visit Tamchog Lhakhang: Tachog lhakhang is temple that is dedicated to the 13th century saint Thangthong Gyalpo, the iron bridge builder. This temple is located across the river about 15kms from the Paro towards Thimphu. In order to get to the temple one must cross an iron chain bridge, one of the few remaining of the many that Thangthong Gyalpo built. This is a private temple however tourists are allowed to visit if they are given permission. Crossing this very old bridge with its swaying and undulating movements can be quite an experience. The temple's location on the ridge and the high rocky barren hills which serve as its backdrop makes this a good location to take pictures.

Overnight at a hotel in Paro.


Day 8: Paro, Tiger’s Nest 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: Depart



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What our customers have to say

A great trip, thank you. Also appreciated Bishnu, our driver.

GINETTE CLAUDINE HENGESCH

What our customers have to say

You have wonderful guides. They are well educated, highly informed problem solver, historian and good communication skills. They showed us presentation from normal programme with different topics. They let us discuss interests – photography and arrange programme accordingly. They always showed positive energy and passion to us. They never argued, instead suggested. We are very happy. My husband was very happy with them as he describe him as professional guide. Thank you so much.

DR. ROLF DIETER

What our customers have to say

Thanks to you and our very nice and patient guide, we had an amazing experience. He was very patient with our questions about Bhutan and very gentlemanly during the entire journey. We appreciate it very much

Yingjie Wu

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