Day 01: Arrive Paro – Thimphu
On arrival you will be received by our representative and will visit the following sights before lunch:
Ta Dzongthe only National Museum in Bhutan. The best among natural history museums in Asia, the Ta Dzong offers a unique collections ranging from ancient Armour to textiles and THANGKHA paintings. Initially Ta Dzong was built as the watch tower of Paro dzong later it was converted into museum. From the museum it offers a great view of the Paro valley (This museum has been partially damaged by an earthquake last year and it’s under renovation whereby no one is allowed to go inside the building. Mean while you will be able to see some of the artifacts, which has been moved for display to another building above the museum.)
Paro Rinpung Dzong: Also known as “fortress of the heap of jewels “, it was built during the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646. The approach to the Dzong is through a traditional covered bridge called the Nemi Zam. A walk through the bridge to the Dzong, over a stone inlaid path, offers a good view of the architectural wonder of the Dzong as well as life around it. It is also venue of the Paro Tshechu, held once a year inspiring.
After lunch drive to Thimphu. On arrival check into the hotel and evening you can explore the Thimphu town on your own. Dinner will be served at the hotel.
Day 02: Thimphu sightseeing
Evening on your own explore the Thimphu town. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 03: Thimphu hike to Tango and afternoon drive to Punakha
Have breakfast from the hotel and we will drive for another 12 km to the monastery. Your car will drop you to the nearest motor road where you will begin your hike. The hike (to and fro) will not be more than 2 hours to the monastery.
Tango Goemba or monastery: the famous Tango monastery in Thimphu derived its name from a deity. The word Tango literally means ‘horse head’. It is derived from the deity Tandin (Hayagriva), which is represented as horse – headed. In 1222, when Phajo Drugom Zhigpo was teaching in Dodeyna, he heard the neighing of a horse from the direction of Tango. On approaching the place, he saw a cliff (behind the monastery) believed to be the body of deity Tandin in flames. The deity appeared before him and prophesied that Phajo would build a meditation centre in Tango and lay foundations for the Drukpa Kagyud school in Bhutan.
The present building was built in the 15th century by the divine madman “Drukpa Kunley”. In 1616 Shabdrung Nawang Namyal visited Tango Goemba and meditated in a cave nearby. The head lama, a descendent of Lama Drukpa Kunley, presented the Goemba to the Shabdrung, who carved a sandalwood statue of Chenresig, which he installed in the monastery.
Today Tango is the residence of an important young trulku (reincarnate lama) who is recognized as the 17th reincarnation of the highly respected fourth desi, Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye, whose previous incarnation passed away in 1830. Visit the temple inside and you will retrace to Thimphu. Lunch will be served in one of the restaurant in Thimphu.
After lunch you will drive to Punakha via the Dochula pass 3050 m, which offers great views of Bhutan’s himalyan peak. Punakha is the old capital of Bhutan and the religious body still uses as their winter capital. Check into the hotel and dinner will be served at the hotel.
Day 04: Punakha sightseeing
Khamsum yueling temple: This temple has the best present day architecture and is being built by the crown prince’s mother Ashi Tsering Yangdon Wangchuck. The hike to and fro will not take more than 2 hrs.
Punakha Dzong: Built strategically at the Junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative center of the region. Damaged by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the Dzong has been fully restored by the present King.
After lunch you will visit Chimi Lhakhang. A walk to and fro will not be more than 45 mins.
Chimi Lhakhang- temple of the Divine Madman who is popularly known as Drukpa Kuenley. He inherited the Divine madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is believed as a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. The translation of the life of Drukpa Kuenley is done by Keith Dowan –Drukpa Kuenley-The Divine Madman.
Evening back to the hotel and dinner will be served at the hotel.
Day 05: Punakha – Wangdue – Gangtey
Have breakfast from the hotel and you will begin your drive to Gangtey. On reaching Gangtey, check into your hotel and lunch will be served at the hotel. After lunch you will visit Gangtey Goemba / monastery enjoy the valley’s prime chunk of real estate, on a hill overlooking the green expanse of the entire Phobjikha valley. The extensive complex consists of the central goemba and outlying monk’s quarters, meditation centers, schools and a small guesthouse. In 15th century Pema Lingpa the famous treasure discoverer prophesied that a goemba named Gang-teng (hill top) would be built on this site and that his teachings would spread from here. This only Nyingma temple was founded here in 1613 by Gyalse Pema Thinley, the grandson and reincarnation of Pema Lingpa, and the goemba was built by Tenzing Legpai Dhendup, the second reincarnation.
Later you can hike back to your hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.
Day 06: Gangtey – Paro
After having breakfast you will retrace your drive to paro. Your lunch will be served at the restaurant in Dochula. Continue your drive to Paro and on arrival you will visit Kyichu Temple and Drukgyel dzong
Kyichu temple, one of the last three surviving temples among 108 temples. In the 8th century a Tibetan King built 108 such temples. Till date only three had survived, two in Bhutan and one in Tibet known as the Jokhang in Lhasa.
Drukgyel Dzong, or the Fort of Drukpa victory, which is almost 10 miles north from the town. From this fortress Bhutanese repelled several invasions by Tibetans throughout the course of history. Looming above the smoldered ruins if the weather is clear you can see the snowcapped peak of Mount. Jhomolhari.
Check into the hotel and dinner will be served at the hotel itself.
Day 07: Paro hike to Taktsang
After breakfast hike to the Taktsang monastery, which was built on the cliffs. The entire hike (to and fro) will take about 3 hours of average walking speed from Ramthangkha (the terminating point of the motorable road)
Taktsang monastery is one of the most venerated pilgrim sites of Bhutan. The monastic complex clings to the rock towering 900 m above the valley. Taktsang is located at 2950 m above the sea level.
In accordance with the prophecy of Guru Rinpoche, Khandro Yeshi Tshogyal, the consort of Guru Rinpoche, meditated at Taktsang, transforming herself into a tigress to protect herself from harmful humans and wild animals. People who happened to be in the vicinity of Taktsang in those days had seen a real tigress residing in the cave. The cave thus came to be known as “Taktsang” meaning “the tigress’s lair”. The image of the wrathful Guru Dorje Droloe one of his eight manifestations mounting the tigress, as we witness today inside the temple is the form of a tigress in our impure perception but in reality the tigress is the form assumed of Khandro Yeshi Tshogyal. The monastery was built in the year 1692 with the command of the fourth desi (secular ruler of Bhutan) Gyalsey Tenzin Rabgye. Today his reincarnation is residing in the Tango monastery.
After visiting the temple hike back and lunch will be served in the restaurant. After lunch you can either visit the Paro town to explore the Bhutanese stores or relax at the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the same hotel.
Day 08: Paro depart
Have breakfast from the hotel and our representative will see you off at the airport. Good bye and have a safe flight. The Dragon Kingdom will soon disappear within its guardian mountains