The Kingdom of BHUTAN, The land of the peaceful Dragon, nestles in the heart of the great Himalaya. This tiny beautiful Kingdom only opened its gates to foreigners in 1974. It remains the society, where age old culture and traditional life continues as it had been for centuries. With about 69% of population still living in rural Bhutan, farming is an occupation for the majority of Bhutanese. Age old barter system is still practiced in some places, and ties within the huge joint family often with more then 50 members are common sights.
This “Spiritual Adventure in Buddhist Kingdom” tour gives you insight of this Himalayan Kingdom in best possible way. You will be escorted through beautiful valleys of Paro, Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan, and the picturesque and sub tropical valleys of Punakha, and Wangdue in central west Bhutan. You will encounter magic of simple Bhutanese life that transform into happiness and contentment making the society truly peaceful and happy. Village lives are simple and pure. People’s thoughts are straight forward and undiluted. Here you will meet monks in their monasteries during their chanting or other monastic activities.
Road passes through Bhutan’s rich forest reserves and mountain environment. At all places, you will come across smiling Bhutanese faces, and you will be treated to mouth watering international foods, and drinks recipe. There many more surprises waiting for you in Bhutan.
The flight to Paro is one of the most amazing experiences. On clear days, there are never ending view of some world highest mountains peaks. Hostess will guide you to fill in disembarkation forms. Landing in Paro International Airport is something you will remember of for long time. Paro (2300m MSL) valley is more than beautiful district of Bhutan. It has some historically important monasteries and cultural sites. This beautiful terraced valley is known for Bhutanese red rice and summer fruits and vegetable. Farmers here are much better off, due to easy accessibility to market for their farm produces. Drive to Hotel and Check in leisure time after the Lunch. Just before the Dinner, your escort will make brief presentation of the whole trip program. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
Today after breakfast hike to Taktsang. The trail is broad and the walk uphill takes you a little more than a 1000ft above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang monastery built on the cliff is a spectacular sight. It is a great pilgrim site for the Buddhists and also it is one of the most sacred sites in the Himalayan world, a pilgrimage destination for devout Buddhists. For a close look at the cliff – hanging site, hike about 2 hrs up hills to a view points directly opposite the monastery a hilltop filled with prayer flags. From here Taktsang is clearly seen, clinging to a sheer rock wall 3000 ft above the valleys floor, at an altitude of 10,000ft. Beyond the viewpoint, the path is narrow and steep as it climbs to a point above the temple, from where walkers descend to the building itself. ParoRestoration after a fire in 1998 is now almost completed. The main deity of Taktsang is Dorje Drolo, the wrathful form of Guru Rinpoche, the precious Teacher, also known as Padmasambhava .The great tantric mystic is said to have flown here on the back of a tiger, a manifestation of his consort, Yeshi Tsogyal, when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th century. The image of Dorje Drolo inside the temple is shown standing on a tiger. There are 13 sacred sites at Taktsang, and several meditation caves in the cliffs above. Many saints have meditated here, not only Guru Rinpoche but also Milarepa and the female yogin Machig Labdronma. Here you can meditate awhile before beginning the descent. Nearby there is a teahouse, where you can stop for lunch or a snack. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Today after early breakfast drive to Punakha via Thimphu across Dochu – la pass (3,088m/10,130ft), from which there is a breathtaking view of the high peaks on a clear day. Untill 1955 Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan and it is still the winter seat of the Je khenpo (chief Abbot), visit Punakha Dzong build in the 17th century at the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. Damaged by fires, floods and earthquake over the centuries, the Dzong has recently been fully restored to its original glory. Visit village house in Metsina and hike up to 15th century temple where you can seek blessing from lord of fertility. This temple was initiated by Devine Madman or Erotic Lama. This lama framed Bhutanese version of erotic stories or Kamasutra in 15th Century. Here replica of Poo or religious penis will touch above your forehead to bless you with fertility. Listen to unceasing rotation of prayer wheels making repeated sound of bells in the temple. Evening visit to local market where farmers from near by villages come and sale their farm produces, which most remains undoubtedly organic. Overnight at the beautiful hotel in Punakha.
After breakfast, drive to Wangdue about 45 minutes from Punakha and the last town on the highway before entering central Bhutan. Wangdue is a typical, bustling small Bhutanese town and its formidable Dzong is the town’s most visible feature. In the 17th century Wangdue played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern regions of the country. After lunch drive to the nation’s capital, Thimphu, a small, bustling city in the heart of the Himalayas. Thimphu charm comes not only from its wealth of museums or places of historic interest, but also from the strong national character of its architectural style. A stroll through this lively town and into its shops reveals an interesting combination of tradition and modernity. Afternoon at leisure, and overnight stay at a hotel in Thimphu.
Today’s after breakfast sightseeing in Thimphu valley includes visits to: National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is a both a memorial to the late king (‘the father of modern Bhutan’), and a monument to world peace. The painting and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy;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. Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly Known as the Painting School) where student undertake a six – year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan: Thimphu National Institute of Traditional Medicine, where the medicinal herbs, mineral, and animals organs available in abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed by traditional pharmacist and medical practitioners. This indigenous healing method is popular amongst all Bhutanese people, and runs in parallel to modern medicine in all district head quarter. Here you will have exclusive privilege of talking to a renowned traditional healer. Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums: These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insight into Bhutanese material culture and way of life. Handicrafts Emporium: This government – run enterprise displays a wide range of beautifully hand – woven textiles and craft products. It also carries a small collection of books on Bhutan, Buddhism and Himalayan culture. After that drive to Dodeyna and do a hike to Tango Monastery. The drive of 20 kms till the end of the road offers varieties of scenes. The Old Palace (for view only and no entry) where our present king was born in the year 1955 can be seen, the farming village of Begana and Kabjisa and the temples on the hill – slopes. Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa founded the Goemba in the 12th century. The present building was built in the 15th century by the ‘Divine Madman’ .It is visible from the road above pine forest. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Today after breakfast drive down to Paro, en route visit Simtokha Dzong, built in 1627 and the oldest fortress of the kingdom. It now houses the institute for language and cultural studies. Drive down and on this route you will come across many farmers selling farm produces like, apples, peach, plum, pears, asparagus, cucumber, wild mushrooms at numerous spots. Just stop at few places and try some fresh fruits, or wild Chanterelle or Mustake mushroom. We will stop to visit at Tachogang Monastery (15th Century), and a village farm house in Shaba, just before reaching Paro.Overnight at the hotel in Paro.
After breakfast drive to airport for departure.