WESTERN

Western Cultural tour package (Paro, Punakha, Thimphu) – 7 days

 

Day 1: Arrival at Paro and sight-seeing

• Paro valley extends from the confluence of the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu rivers at Chuzom upto Mt. Jomolhari at the Tibetan border to the North.

• It is one of the widest valleys in the kingdom and is covered in fertile rice fields and has a beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the valley.

• Paro is home to over 155 temples and monasteries in this area and many elegant, traditional-style houses mark the valley and surrounding hills.

 

Day 2: Paro to Thimphu

Day 2: Paro to Thimphu (65 km/approx driving time 1.30 hours) and sight-seeing; Buddha point, Memorial Chorten, Takin Park, Folk Heritage

• The Kingdom’s capital city is home to approximately 100,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. Thimphu city is the main center of commerce, religion and government in the country.

• One of the most curious features of Thimphu is that it is the only capital city in the world that does not use traffic lights. Instead a few major intersections have policemen standing in elaborately decorated booths (small pavilions), directing traffic with exaggerated hand motions
• Kuensel Phodrang alias Buddha Point is a gigantic Buddha Shakyamuni statue constructed on the hill top. The statue houses over one hundred thousand smaller Buddha statues. It is one of the most happening points in Thimphu. It is a short drive from Thimphu City Center from where visitors get a good overview of the Thimphu valley.

• The 51.5 meter bronze statue is three storied with several chapels. One can offer prayers to Buddha, walk around and take a glimpse of the valley.
• This large Tibetan-style chorten is one of the most visible religious structures in Thimphu and for many Bhutanese it is the focus of their daily worship.

• It was built in 1974 in the memory of the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (1928–72)
Located in Motithang above Thimphu city is a wildlife reserve area for Takin, the national animal of Bhutan.

• The reason for declaring takin as a national animal of Bhutan on 25 November 2005 is attributed to a legend of the animal’s creation in Bhutan in the 15th century by Lama Drukpa Kunley.
• This restored three-storey, rammed-earth and timber building replicates a traditional farmhouse and is furnished as it would have been about a century ago to provide an interesting glimpse into rural Bhutanese life.

• Details include the antique noodle press, the leopard skin bags and Brokpa yak-hair 'spider' hats.

• The restaurant here serves good Bhutanese meals.

 

Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha

Day 3: Thimphu to Punakha(77 km/approx driving time-3 hr.) visit Sangchen Dorji Lhendrub Choling nunnery and hike to Chimi Lhakhang. (20-minute trail across fields from the road at Sopsokha to the temple)

• Punakha is the administrative centre of Punakha dzongkhag, one of the 20 districts of Bhutan.

• Punakha was the capital of Bhutan and the seat of government until 1955, when the capital was moved to Thimphu

• It is located at an elevation of 1,200 metres above sea level and rice is grown as the main crop along the river valleys of two main rivers of Bhutan, the Pho Chu and Mo Chu.
• Above Wolakha on the way to Drolay Goemba is the nunnery financed by Yap Dasho Ugyen Dorji.

• The nunnery serves as a Buddhist college for 120 resident anim (nuns). The attached ridgetop Nepali-style chorten is visible from as far away as the Dochula to Metshina road.
• On a small hill below the Metshina–Punakha road is the yellow-roofed Chimi Lhakhang, built in 1499 by the cousin of Lama Drukpa Kunley in his honour.

• lama subdued the demons of the nearby Dochula with his 'magic thunderbolt of wisdom

• A wooden effigy of the lama's thunderbolt is preserved in the lhakhang

• Childless women go to the temple to receive a Wang (blessing or empowerment) from the saint. With the blessing, it is believed to conceive a child of her wish

 

Day 4: Visit Punakha Dzong,

Day 4: Visit Punakha Dzong, longest suspension bridge and wangdue Phodrang Dzong.

• Punakha Dzong is arguably the most beautiful dzong in the country, Built strategically at the junction of Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu rivers in 1637, by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region.

• it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan

• The dzong houses the sacred relics of the southern Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism, including the Rangjung Kasarpani and the sacred remains of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and the tertön Pema Lingpa.
• Behind Punakha Dzong stretches the Punakha Suspension Bridge, the longest of its kind in Bhutan.

• The Bridge connects the Dzong with the Village on the other bank of the Pho Chu River.
• Sitting on top of the hill at the confluence of Punakha Chhu and Dang Chhu rivers, Wangduephodrang Dzong is town's most visible features.

• After a major fire which destroyed 374 years old Wangduephodrang Dzong then in the year 2012, the dzong is under major re-construction.

 

Day 5: Wangdue Phodrang to Thimphu

Day 5: Wangdue Phodrang to Thimphu (90 km/approx driving time 3-4 hr.) visit textile museum, Centenary Farmer’s market

• Royal Textile Academy is the authentic place to learn about Bhutan's living national art of thagzo(weaving).

• The ground floor focuses on royal ghos, including the wedding clothes worn by the fourth king and his four queens.

• The upper floor introduces the major weaving techniques, styles of local dress and type of textiles made by women and men
• Thimphu weekend market is one of the largest domestic markets for Bhutanese farmers. The weekend market is filled into a set of stalls on both banks of the Wang Chhu, just north of Changlimithang Stadium

• It’s an interesting place to visit, since the market essentially is a farmers market, where every week vendors from throughout the region start arriving by Thursday evening and stay at the market till Sunday. Farmers from as far as Lingshi in the north, Tashiyangtse in the east, and Sarpang, Dagana and Tsirang in the south bring their farm products to the market.

 

Day 6: Thimphu to Paro

Day 6: Thimphu to Paro (65 km/approx driving time 1:30mins) and sight-seeing; Dumtseg Lhakhang, Kichhu Lhakhang and Ta Dzong.

• It is located on the edge of a hill between the Paro valley and the Dopchari valley across the bridge from Paro

• The temple is notable as it is in the form of a chorten, very rare in Bhutan.

• The Buddhist iconography depicted in the Chorten is considered a unique repository of the Drukpa Kagyu school.
• Kyichu Lhakhang is an important Himalayan Buddhist temple situated in Lango Gewog of Paro District in Bhutan

• The Jowo Temple of Kyichu is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, originally built in the 7th century by the Tibetan Emperor Songtsän Gampo.

• It is considered to be one of the four border taming temples he built.

• In the 8th century the temple was visited by Padmasambhava and it is believed he concealed many spiritual treasures here.
• Perched above Paro Dzong, Ta Dzong (watchtower) was built in 1649 to protect the undefended dzong and renovated in 1968 to house the National Museum

• The unusual round building is said to be in the shape of a conch shell, with 2.5m-thick walls

 

Day 7: Hike to Paro Taktshang

Day 7: Hike to Paro Taktshang (Paro town to Tiger’s Nest base)

• 15 minutes drive from Paro airport

• 10 minutes drive from town

• 2-3hours uphill hike from base to Tiger Nest

• return - 2 hours down hill

• visit Drugyel Dzong (9.3 km approx driving time 20 minutes)
• Constructed upon a sheer cliff face, hundreds of meters above forests of oak and rhododendrons and the valley floor is Bhutan’s most iconic landmark Taktsang Monastery, the Tiger’s Nest

• Paro Taktsang is a prominent Himalayan Buddhist sacred site

• The temple devoted to Padmasambhava (the Temple of the Guru with Eight Names) is an elegant structure built around the cave in 1692 by Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye.

 

Day 8: Departure

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