10 Nights/ 11 days: Bhutan Buddhism Tour
Day 01: Arrive Paro, Paro-Thimphu (Distance: 54 km, driving time: 1hr)
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. One can see the Mt. Everest, Mt. Kanchanjunga, Mt. Makalu and other peaks in Bhutan such as Mt. Chomolhari, Mt. Jichu Drakay, and Mt. Tsherimgang. The greenwall of hills known as the doors, or gateways into Bhutan from the plains climbs continually higher as down the forested mountainsides, and to the north, the great snowcapped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the sky. You will be received by the representative of Access Bhutan Tours & Treks. He/she will be your Bhutan travel guide throughout your tour.
Check into the hotel. After the refreshment, visit to the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watchtower). Here an intriguing collection of artifacts provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom.
Walk down to Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese historicarchitecture. From the Dzong, walk further down to Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilever bridge.
Travel to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan.
Today drive to Thimphu through Paro’s traverse rice field and climbs high above the river providing a great view of Paro airport.
The road descending will lead to the confluence at Chuzom, 24 Kms from Paro and 18 Kms from Bomday.
Chuzom means confluence of two rivers Paro and Thimphu Chu Rivers which we believe this place inauspicious, thus there is a presence of 3 very unique chorten Stupa to ward off this inauspiciousness.
Before reaching Chuzom you can see Tachogang Lhakhang
It is private temple founded by ThangthongGyalpo, located few Kilometers before Chhuzom, the confluence of the Paro and Thimphu River.
ThangthongGyelpo had a vision when he meditated here of an excellent horse Balaha, an emanation of Avalokiteshvara, thus as a good omen, he built this temple.
Below this temple he built Iron Bridge who is said to have been built 108 iron bridges throughout Bhutan and Tibet by iron man called ThangthongGyelpo.
After 30 minutes’ drive from this place you will reach Thimphu city which is capital city of Bhutan.
Day 02: Thimphu Tour and Sightseeing
In the morning, visit National Library where a vast collection of ancient manuscripts is preserved. Visit the School of Traditional Painting ofArts and Crafts where children are taught the traditional art of woodcraft and painting. Then visit Folk Heritage Museum, which is loated in the same area, and further down to the Textile Museum.
After lunch, visit Tashichhodzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of the monarch’sthroneroom and seat of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans. Also visit the National Memorial Chorten, continuously circumambulated by the faithful, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who had wished to erect a 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.
Then, visit the government-run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through examples of Bhutan’s fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carvings, jewelry, and other interesting items made from local materials.
Overnight stay at the hotel in Thimphu.
Day 03: Thimphu - Trongsa
Distance: 200 km, driving time: 6 hrs
The road to Punakha and WangduePhodrang, branches of a short distance before Simtokhadzong.
The road, which loops back as Fly-over Bridge, is the east-west highway, which was constructed in 1984.
About a Kilometer past the turn-off there is a magnificent view of Simtokhadzong, the first fortress of Kingdom.
The road then climbs past the forestry research center at Yusipang, then through apple orchards and forests of blue pine.
Within few minutes’ drive from here you will reach Dochula La (Pass) at 3050m.
It is a 45 minutes’ drive from Thimphu. This pass is marked by a chorten with an array of colorful prayer flags.
Dochula cafeteria of Queen mother, located quite near to Dochula stupas which are of 108 stupas to commemorate victory over Indian insurgents .
Dochula Pass offers a breathtaking, panoramic view of the eastern Himalayas on a clear day.
Such days are rare. The best chance of view is in the early morning between mid-October and mid- February.
The pointed peaks standing opposite Dochula are:
ü Kang Bum-6526m
ü Gangchhenta- 6840m
ü Masang Gang-7158m- This mountain dominates the region of Laya
ü Tshenda Gang- 7100m
ü Teri Gang- 7170m
ü Jejekangphu gang-7158m
ü Zongphu Gang- a Table mountain that dominates the isolated region of Lunana is 7060m
ü And GangkarPuensum -7497m is the highest peak in Bhutan
Gasadzong almost 50 kms to the northcan also can be seen from the Dochula cafeteria.
Drive to toPunakha from this place changes the vegetation dramatically to Oak, maple and blue pine to a moist mountain forest of rhododendron, alder, cypress, hemlock and fir.
Punakhadzong which is also known as PungthangDewachenpoePhodrang is located between Mochu (Female) and Phochu River ( Male) were
Day 04: Trongsa - Bumthang (distance: 68 km, driving time : 2 hrs)
After breakfast visit Ta dzong ‘watch tower’ is built to guard the TrongsaDzong from the inter-region and outside invaders.
One of the towers inside the chapel is dedicated to the TrongsaPenlop, JigmeNamgyel, father of the 1st King.
In another small Chapel upstairs, there are is an interesting representation of palace, with small statues of horses, yaks and elephant.
During the Duar war, two British soldiers are said to have been held as prisoners in the dungeon here for several months.
In the golden days, the Ta Dzong strengthens the defense of the main dzong below.
Morning VisistTrongsaDzong which is the biggest and the most impressive dzong in Bhutan signifying the magnificent work of Buddhist architecture. It is maize of courtyards, passageway and corriders.
It has been described as being perched so high on a mountain that the clouds float below it.
The dzong fits narrowly on the spur that sticks out into the gorge of Mangde Chu River
Drive to Bumthang which is the road quickly climbs up 7kms to reach the Trongsa viewpoint, from where we get splendid view of the TrongsaDzongstitting on the ridge.
28 Kms from the viewpoint is the Yotong La at 3425m.
The pass is marked by with a chorten and arrays of fluttering prayer.
As the road opens into the Chhume valley, the superb scenery changes to a gentle forest fir, blue pine and a dwarf bamboo.
After reaching Chhume valley
Chhume valley begins at Gyetsa and has an average altitude of 2500m.
It is 42 Kms from Trongsa.
It is wide valley dotted with number of villages and temples.
And visit Yathra factory en-route to Bumthang at Chummi village.
Dinner and overnight stay at Bumthang.
Day 05: Bumthang Tour and Sightseeing
Sightseeing includes visit to the following:
SongtsenGampo, King of Tibet built 108 lhakhangs in the year 659, throughout Tibet and Himalayas to overcome a demoness.
All the Lhakhangs were built on the same day.
Among the 108 Lhakhangs, JambayLhakhang in Bumthang and KyichuLhakhangws erected on the demon’s left foot, JambayLhakhang was placed on the demon’s left knee.
JambayLhakhang was visited by Guru Rinpoche in the 7th century when he came to Bumthang.
Sindhu Raja renovated the temple after Guru had restored his life force at JambayLhakhang.
Located 7 kms from the Chamkhar town at 2640km.
In 746, Padmasambhava( Guru Rinpoche) made his first visit to Bhutan. SindhuGyab, an Indian, established himself as the king of Bumthang, with the title Sindhu Raja. There arose a fed between Noachhe’ Big Nose”, a rival Indian king in the south of Bhutan and SendhaGyab.
Also known as TamshingLhendrupCholing, but popularly known as TamshingLhakhang.
Located north of Tamshing from the footbridge, it is about 100m from the road.
Built by PemaLingpa in 1490 around the cave where the Guru Rinpoche meditated and assumed his manifestation of Padmasambhava.
The Tang rivers cuts through the first line of hills, forming a narrow gorge which contains one of the great pilgrimage site in Bhutan: Mebartsho, “ The burning lake”
Today it is a sacred pilgrimage site where the devoted Bhutanese float small butter lamps and makes a wish.
Images of PemaLingpa and his two sons are carved on the rock.
There is no sanctuary but the site of the gorge itself is sacred.
Dinner and overnight stay Hotel.
Day 06: Bumthang - Phobjikha valley (distance: 197 km, driving time: 6 hrs)
Drive to Gangtey (95 kms - 4 hours drive). 11Gangtey is situated in Phubjikha valley, which the winter home of endangered Black-Necked Cranes that migrate to this valley from Central Asia in winter.
Drive to Phobjikha crossing Rukubji village, Chendebji and Chendebji village is picturesque which lies above 2400m. The main features of this village is marked by Chendebjichorten built by Lama Shida in Swayambhunath style ChortenJaroKhashor in Kathmandu.
Then drive further to Trongsa crossing Tangsibji, Tshangkha and LangciPhakha.
And finally reaching Pelela:
It is one of the highest passes that rise up to 3300m.
It is marked by a chorten surrounded by prayer flags.
Its main significances in the history of Bhutan is that traditionally it was considered as the boundary between eastern and western Bhutan.
Day 07: Phobjikha - Thimphu
Distance: 172km/ Estimated 6-7 Hours
After breakfast, travel to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. Visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho - Chu male river and the Mochu (female) river. Visit the Dho Jha Gha Lam Temple.
After lunch , walk through the Metshina Village and take a 20-minute walk through the rice fields to the Divine Madman’s Monastery-Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can can receive a special fertility blessing. Drive to Thimphu and overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 08 : Thimphu Tour and Short Hike to Tango Monastery and Chari
After mouth-watering breakfast then drive away of12 Kms from Thimphu, a road leads east from Bengana and climbs a short distance to a parking lot where the road ends.
Hike to Tango Monastery
A trail to Tango Monastery is a climb of 28 Kms and takes about 1 hour.
Lama Gyalwalhanangpa founded the monastery in the 12th century.
While meditating, PhajoDrukgomZhigpo had a vision of Tandin, god with horse head’, so the place came to be known as Tango‘ horse head’.
The present building was built in the 15th century by Lama DrukpaKuenley.
In 1616th century Zhabdrung meditated in a cave near Tango Monastery.
Now Tango is the residence of an important young Trulku “reincarnate Lama” who is recognized as the 7th incarnation of the highly revered 4thDesi, Gyaltse Tenzin Rabgye.
You will walk back till road point and to hike again to Chari monastery.
Lunch will be serve as hot pack lunch in the scenic forest area.
After lunch hike to Chari Monastery.
It lies on the south of Tango Monastery.
It was built by Zhabdrung in 1620 with the aim to preserve his father’s ashes but soon became his permanent home.
At the age of 27 , on completion of the silver of funeral pyramid containing the relics of his father, Zhabdrung established the monastic body with 30 monks.
At the age of 30, Zhabdrung stayed on solidary retreat for 3 years living on the essence of flowers.
After that he decided to retreat to the mountains for further retreat.
The statue of his father TenpaiNyima started speaking and forbade him to undertake the journey.
The statue said to Zhabdrung“ You shall look after the doctrine through temperal and spiritual system”. This was the beginning of the order of the PaldenDrukpa in the country.
So at the age of 34, ZhabdrungNgawangNamgyel undertook the responsibility of turning the Golden Wheel of Spiritual and Temporal Laws.
It got its name from the Saint PhajoDrukgomZhigpo who meditated there in the 13th century.
Day 09 : Thimphu-Paro
Distance: 55km/Estimated time: 2 hours
In the morning travel to Paro and en-route visit
Located a few kilometers north of Paro-Drukgyel road
It is one of the 108 temples built by King Songtshen Gampo in 659 A.D and considered a secret pilgrimage site for the Bhutanese and the Buddhist world.
The complex consists of twin temple visible through a spectrum of colorful fluttering prayers flags.
The main temple or the ancients is deeply venerated for its antiquity and for the role it has played in framing a part of Bhutanese history.
Legend surrounding the construction of Kyechu temple in the 7th century AD
If you need details legendary story kindly let us know.
Visit to “Drukgyel Dzong”- the fortress now in ruins which was built as the monument of victory. On a clear day, Mount Jhomolhari can be seen.
Visit a typical Bhutanese farm house.
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 10 :Paro Trekking to Taktsang Monastery or Drive to Chelila Pass
Drive to Ramthongkha and then hike to viewpoint of Taktshang, the Tiger's Nest (one and a half hours). The monastery is situated on a cliff of about 3000 ft above the vlley.
Drive to Chelila Pass where you can see beautiful mountain ranges and rhododendron flowers in bloom. On the way back walk to Chila Nunnery
Day 11 : Paro - Departure
A representative from 7brothers tour and travels will see you off at the Paro Airport for your onward travel destinations.