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Paro Tshechu (Festival) Tour

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This tour is purely a suggested itinerary; it can be booked as it is, or alternatively used as a starting point for creating your own ideal tailor-made holiday.P

Paro Tshechu (Festival) Tour

0
  • 07 nights
  • Private Tour
  • Hand Picked Hotels

This tour takes you to excitement and spectacle of the Paro festival. Dressed in traditional finery, devotees flock to the Paro Dzong to proclaim their faith and receive blessings. Monks and lay people, dressed in their elaborate silk brocade costumes perform festival dances of good triumphing over evil to the haunting sound of trumpets, cymbals and flutes. The dances and costumes have survived for hundred of years and each dance is exact re-enactment of vision seen by Bhutan’s great Buddhist saints. Your trip also includes visits to prominent western Bhutan valleys of Thimphu and Punakha.

Tour Starts

Paro

Tour Ends

Paro Departure

Compliments from Truly India

  • As per program and offer

Price Includes

  • As per program
  • All inclusions tailormade according to each request

Price Excludes

  • As per program and offer
Tour Highlights
  • Handpicked accommodation
  • Authentic and personalised service
Photos
Itinerary

Day 1Arrive Paro by Flight & transfer to Thimphu (55km, approx. 1.1/2-hour drive)

The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular in entire Himalayas. Whether flying along the Himalayan range from Kathmandu or over the foothills from Kolkatta, the journey offers fascinating views and an exciting descent into the Kingdom. Bhutan’s first gift as you disembark from the aircraft will be cool, clean fresh mountain air. After immigration formalities and baggage collection, you will be met by our representative, and afterwards drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan with en-route stop at Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Three different style of stupas; Tibetan, Nepalese and Bhutanese adorn this confluence.

On arrival, in Thimphu check-into the hotel. The capital town of Bhutan and the centre of government, religion and commerce, Thimphu is a unique city with unusual mixture of modern development alongside ancient traditions. With the population of about 1,00,000 it is perhaps still the world’s only capital city without a traffic light.

Evening an exploratory walk around Thimphu main street and market area.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2,320 m)

Day 2Thimphu

After breakfast, drive to Buddha Point (Kuensel Phodrang). Located at a short drive from Thimphu city centre, visitors can get a good overview of the Thimphu valley from the Buddha point (Kuensel Phodrang). You can pay your obeisance and offer prayers to the Buddha, the largest statue in the country and then walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.

Then, visit King’s Memorial Chorten continuously circumambulated by people, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who has wished to erect 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.

This is followed by visit to Changangkha Lhakhang. It is a fortress like temple and monastic school perched on a ridge above Thimphu, south of Motithang. The temple was established in 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who came from Tibet. The central statue here is Chenrezig in a manifestation with 11 heads. From temple courtyard, there is fascinating view of Thimphu valley.

Afternoon the visits include:

Textile Museum: is worth a visit to experience the living national art of weaving. Exhibitions introduce the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and textiles made by women and men.

Folk Heritage Museum: The Museum is dedicated to connecting people with the rich Bhutanese Folk heritage and rural history through exhibits, demonstrations, educational programs and documentation of Bhutanese rural life.

Trashichhoedzong: This is the center of government and religion, site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.

Evening time can be spent strolling through the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts bazaar, to browse through example of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, interesting items made from local materials.

Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu. (Altitude 2,320 m)

Day 3Thimphu – Punakha & Wangdue (75 km, approx. 3-hour drive)

After breakfast, drive to Punakha / Wangduephodrang across Dochu La. Located at a height of 3,088m/ 10,130 ft, Dochula is a scenic location with chorten, mani wall, and prayer flags which decorate this highest point on the road. If skies are clear, it may be possible to see the following

peaks from this pass in the order left to right: Masagang (7,158m), Tsendagang (6,960m), Terigang (7,060m ), Jejegangphugang (7,158 m), Kangphugang (7,170 m ), Zongphugang (7, 060 m ), a table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana – finally Gangkar puensum, the highest peak in Bhutan at 7,497m.

Afternoon visit Punakha Dzong or (Palace of Great Happiness), built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, at the junction of the Phochu and Mochu rivers. This majestic dzong served as both the religious and the administrative center of Bhutan in the past. It measures some 600 by 240 feet and has a six-story, gold-domed tower. Inside are courtyards and religious statuary that hint at the depth of history and spiritual tradition embodied here. Your guide will illuminate your understanding of this intricate culture that is exotic to us, though long established here.

Later in the day excursion to Chimi Lhakhang.

The Chimi Lhakhang, situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley, is also known as the temple of fertility. It is widely believed that couples who do not have children and wanting one, if they pray at this temple, they are usually blessed with a child very soon. A walk through the village near the temple will give you rare glimpses into the daily life and lifestyle of the villagers.

Overnight at the hotel in Punakha / Wangdue. (Altitude 1,300m)

Day 4Punakha & Wangdue

After breakfast, a beautiful hike (total about 2 hours round trip walk) takes you to the regal Khamsum Yuelley Namgel Chorten, which was built by the Queen Mother of Bhutan to remove negative forces and promote peace, stability and harmony in the changing world. The Chorten dominates the upper Punakha Valley with commanding views across the Mo Chhu river and up towards the mountainous peaks of Gasa and beyond.

Afternoon visit to Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang (nunnery). Perched on a ridge amid pine trees and overlooking valleys of Punakha and Wangduephodrang, gleams the magnificent structures of Sangchhen Dorji Lhuendrup Lhakhang (Temple). The temple houses a 14-foot main bronze statue of Avalokiteshvara (Chenrigzig chagtong chentong). Other statues include those of Guru Padmasambawa, Gautama Buddha, Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, Tsela Namsum, the 21 Taras and Tsepamay (Buddha of longevity). The Avalokiteshvara statue, one of the biggest in the country, was the handiwork of entirely local Bhutanese artisans.

Later excursion to Talo village. The village of Talo (alt. 2,800m) which is scattered along the hill slopes, known for its cleanliness and hygiene among Punakha villages. Talo Sangnacholing is built on a plateau and has majestic view of surrounding villages. The beautiful farmhouses of the village have its own flower gardens and on the hill, slope corns and sweet peas are grown in abundance.

Later in the afternoon drive back to Punakha / Wangdue, for overnight stay. (Altitude 1,300m)

Day 5Punakha – Paro (125 km, 4 ½ hour drive)

Morning after breakfast, drive back to Paro descending back down from Dochu La, follow the way back up the dramatic Wang Chhu and Paro Chhu river valleys, before crossing through Paro Town towards the north end of the valley.

En route visit Simtokha Dzong, the place of profound tantric teaching, this dzong now houses a school for the study of the Dzongkha language.

Later in the day after checking into hotel, proceed to visit Ta Dzong, originally built as Watchtower, which now houses National Museum. The extensive collection includes antique thangkha paintings, textiles, weapons &armour, household objects and a rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.

Then walk down the trail to visit Rinpung Dzong, meaning (“fortress of the heap of jewels”), which has a long and fascinating history. Along the wooden galleries lining the inner courtyard are fine wall paintings illustrating Buddhist lore such as four friends, the old man of long life, the wheel of life, scenes from the life of Milarepa, Mount. Sumeru and other cosmic Mandala.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2280m)

Day 6 Paro

“Full day witness Paro Tshechu (festival).

Paro Tshechu is one of the most popular festivals in Bhutan, held annually since the 17th century when Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder of the state of Bhutan, and Ponpo Rigzin Nyingpo initiated the festival together with the consecration of Paro Dzong (fortress) in 1644. Featuring dances performed by trained monks and laymen in amazing masks and costumes, Paro Tshechu (festival) is one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan.

During festival rare masked dances and other ritual ceremonies are performed in the courtyards of the Dzong. The origin of most of these sacred dances can be traced beyond the middle ages and each sequence of dance has its own significance and is performed by monks in bright traditional costumes. The festival apart from its enduring religious significance also provides an occasion for the locals to get together, to renew old friendships and to forge new alliances all against the backdrop of a colourful religious ceremony.

Later in the afternoon, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, SongtsenGampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2280m)”

Day 7Paro

After breakfast, witness Paro Tshechu (festival).

Later excursion to Taktshang Monastery (approx. 5 hours walk). It is one of the most famous of Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900m above the Paro valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognised as a most sacred place and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime.

Evening at leisure in Paro city centre.On the way back to town stop at the base of Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snowy dome of sacred Chomolhari, “mountain of goddess” can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong.

Overnight at the hotel in Paro. (Altitude 2280m)

Day 8Paro Departure

After breakfast at the hotel, drive to the airport for the flight to your onward destination.

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