9 Day Punakha Tshechu

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  • Punakha Dzong

    Punakha Dzong
    Clear Blue Skies complimenting the beauty of Punakha valley

  • Punakha Tshechu

    Punakha Tshechu
    Festivals in Bhutan involves volunteer dancers who are brightly dressed in costume. It also include masked dancers.

  • Punakha Tshechu

    Punakha Tshechu
    Made completely of appliqué on more than 6km of silk brocade, this impressive fabric measures 83 ft by 93 ft took 51 artists two years to complete. It is only revealed during the festivals.

  • Punakha Tshechu

    Punakha Tshechu
    During festival, Bhutanese ladies will be beautifully and brightly dressed in their traditional dress, Kira. Traditional dress is also used for official event.

Punakha Tshechu, as all Tshechu festivals, honors Padmasambhawa, also known as Guru Rimpoche, the precious yogi and saint who is credited with having introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas. The festival’s masked dances are performed by monks clad in colorful brocade attire and permeated by chants and reading of Buddhist scripts. The culmination of festival constitutes the unfolding of a huge cloth thangka, a sacred scroll, depicting Padmasmabhawa and imagery from Buddhist pantheon.

Day 1

     Arrival in Paro, Bhutan

Elevation 2,320 m     Weather in Thimphu

Welcome to Bhutan, the Land of the Thunder Dragon.Touching down at Paro International Airport, you will be greeted by your guide upon exiting the arrival hall. Today, we will take it easy to acclimatise to the altitude. Drive to Thimphu, check in to the hotel and lets have your first taste of Bhutanese cuisine and some light sight-seeing, like the weekend market, in Thimphu.

Heritage Museum - Dedicated to connecting people to the Bhutanese rural past though exhibition of artefacts used in rural households.
Textile Museum - witnesses the art of traditional weaving.
Simtokha Dzong - Five miles from Thimphu, on a lofty ridge, stands Semtokha Dzong the oldest fortress in the Kingdom.
 

Hotels:

Day 2

     Tour of Thimphu

Elevation 2,320 m     Weather in Thimphu

National Memorial Chorten - Which was built in honor of the late King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk.
Papermaking Factory - Witnesses the art of papermaking.

Day Trek to Tango Goemba and picnic/lunch by river In the afternoon. The Tango Goemba site has had religious significance since the 12th century when it was the home of the Lama who brought the Drukpa Kagyupa school of Buddhism to Bhutan. The monastery was built there in the 15th century by Drukpa Kunley ("The Divine Madman"). Tango is the highest center of Buddhist learning in the country; almost every Je Khenpo (religious head of Bhutan) completed the 9-year program there. After completing that program, monks traditionally spend 3 years, 3 months and 3 days in mediation at the nearby Cheri Goemba retreat, built in 1619 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the founder or first unifier of Bhutan. It is currently the home of an 11-year-old boy believed to be the seventh reincarnation of the fourth desi, or ruler, of Bhutan.

Centenary Farmers’ Market - Every Saturday and Sunday most of the Thimphu population congregate on the banks of the river where the weekend market is held. Here villagers from the valley and other nearby places come to sell their agriculture products.
 

Hotels:

Day 3

     Punakha Tshechu

Elevation 1,300 m     Weather in Punakha

Punakha Dzong - Built in 1637, the dzong continues to be the winter home for the clergy, headed by the Chief Abbott, the Je Khenpo. It is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture, sitting at the fork of two rivers, portraying the image of a medieval city from a distance. The dzong was destroyed by fire and glacial floods over the years but has been carefully restored and is, today, a fine example of Bhutanese craftsmanship.

The Punakha Tshechu, as all Tshechu festivals, honors Padma Sambhawa, also known as Guru Rimpoche, the precious yogi and saint who is credited with having introduced Tantric Buddhism throughout the Himalayas. The festival’s masked dances are performed by monks clad in colorful brocade attire and permeated by chants and reading of Buddhist scripts. The culmination of  festival constitutes the unfolding of a huge cloth thangka, a sacred scroll, depicting Padma Smabhawa and imagery from Buddhist pantheon.

Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten - Built by the third Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon wangchuck this Chorten is a splendid example of of the Bhutanese architecture and art and is the only one of its kind in the world. It has been built over eight and a half years and its details have been drawn from religious scripture.
 

Hotels:

Day 4

     Punakha to Bumthang

Elevation 4,000 m     Weather in Bumthang

In the morning, we would start our drive to Central Bhutan. Before we start we will pay a visit to Chhimi Lhakhang  (left) - A 20 minutes walk across terraced fields through the village of Sopsokha from the roadside to the small temple located on a hillock in the centre of the valley below Metshina. Ngawang Chogyel built the temple in 15th century after the ’Divine Madman’ Drukpa Kuenlay built a small chorten there. It is a pilgrim site for barren women.

Passing Wangdue (left), one of the major towns and district capital of Western Bhutan. Located south of Punakha, Wangdue is the last town before central Bhutan. The district is famous for its fine bamboo work and its slate and stone carving.

We will pause to view the Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Built in 1638, Wangdue Dzong is dramatically perched on the spur of a hill and overlooks the confluence of the Tsang Chu and Dang Chu rivers.
 

Hotels:

Day 5

     Bumthang

Elevation 2,600 m to 4,000 m     Weather in Bumthang

This is one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and also the heartland of Buddhism in Bhutan. It is an area with a wide variety of fauna and flora. The Guru Rinpoche and his lineage of Tertons (treasure finders) making Bumthang his home have led to more than 40 temples being built in this peaceful valley.

In the morning, we will hike to the Tamshing Goemba, built in 1501 by the Buddhist saint Pema Lingpa. We will also visit Kurjey Lhakhang (left-bottom), one of the most sacred monasteries in Bhutan. Built by the Guru Rinpoche in 1652, it houses a rock with his body imprint. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche manifested as a Garuda to defeat the demon Shelging Karpo who had taken the form of a white lion.

We will also visit Jambay Lhakhang, built in 659 by Tibetan King Sontsen Gampo to pin down a demoness who was obstructing the spread of Buddhism. Come October, the Jambay Lhakhang Drup is one of the most colourful festivals in Bhutan.

Jakar Dzong - pitched on a high ground overlooking the town junction, it was built as monastery in 1549 by the great grandfather of the Zhabdrung. It is now used as the administrative center for Bumthang district

In the afternoon, we will hike up toThangbi Valley, crossing a suspension bridge to visit theThangbi Lhakhang built in the 14th century via an unpaved road.
 

Hotels:

Day 6

     Bumthang to Gangtey

Elevation 3,000 m     Weather in Gangtey

On route to Gangtey is Trongsa, the ancestral home of the ruling dynasty.

Trongsa, literally "New Town" in the Dzongkha language, is where the current monarchy had its origin in Bhutan. Each King in the line of succession has held the post of Trongsa Penlop or Governor before donning the Raven Crown.

Trongsa Dzong - The foundations of Trongsa Dzong were laid in the 16th century by by Pema Lingpa. The Dzong flourished during the 17th century under Shabdrung Ngwang Namgyal. With its massive structure, its wall looming high above the winding Mangde Chu Valley, the Dzong commands the east-west road.

Taa Dzong - Built as a watchtower the Taa Dzong has since been turned into a Heritage Museum. A book on this prominent Dzong is written by Christian Schicklgruber entitled The Tower of Trongsa, Religion and Power in Bhutan.
 

Hotels:

Day 7

     Gangtey to Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

The Valley of Phobjikha is well known as the winter home of the Black necked crane (Grus Nigricollis). Bhutan is home to around six hundred black-necked cranes with Phobjikha being one of the popular places that the birds migrate to in the winter months from the Tibetan plateau. The elegant and shy birds can be observed from early November to end of March.

Another significant landmark in Phobjikha is the famous Gangtey Gompa monastery. This is an old monastery that dates back to 17th century.

Paro Valley - The beautiful valley is home to many of Bhutan’s old monasteries and temples. The country’s only Airport is in Paro. The valley is also home to mount Chomolhari (7,300 meters) situated at the northern end of the valley whose glacier water forms the Pachu flowing through the valley. The following are some of the prominent places to visit in Paro.

Paro Dzong also known as Rinpung Dzong, this 15th century massive fortress/monastery, is also the administrative center of the dzonkhag.

Ta Dzong - Built as a watchtower the Ta Dzong, it was converted into the National Museum in 1968. The museum boasts antique Thangka, textiles, weapons and armour, household objects and rich assortment of natural and historic artifacts.

Drukgyal Dzong - Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan. The Dzong was destroyed by an accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate. Explore the ramparts and relive the memories of a glorious past.
 

Hotels:

Day 8

     Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

Drukgyal Dzong - A morning drive, north of Paro valley brings us to the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. Built in 1647 by the great Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, father and unifier of medieval Bhutan, the Dzong was destroyed by an accidental fire and left in ruins as an evocative reminder of the great victories it was built to commemorate.Explore the ramparts and relive the memories of a glorious past.

Taktsang Monastery - A one hour hike to the cafeteria is also a vantage view whereby you can enjoy the stunning view of the monastery. Prayer flags adorn the cliffs and this is also where Guru Padmasambhava landed on the back of a tigress in the 8th century.

Kyichu Lhakhang - After a sumptuous local lunch, we will retrace our steps to visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan.
 

Hotels:

Day 9

     Depart Paro

Elevation 2,280 m     Weather in Paro

After breakfast, we will transfer to Paro airport for our flight and we bid a fond farewell to the Kingdom of Bhutan

What's Included

Suitable Months
  • Festival Date: 7th - 9th March 2017
Prices
  • For Travel during Punakha Tshechu

  • USD 1,969 for 1 person traveler
  • USD 1,889 per person for 2 person travelers
  • USD 1,649 per person for group of 3 and above
What's Excluded

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Maneesha Malhotra
Maneesha Malhotra
United States, Mar 2015

Hi Sangay,

thanks for your email and sorry for the delayed response. We had a great time in Bhutan. All went well and the guides and the itinerary were great. here are some photos I took.

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Gary Anderson
Gary Anderson
Canada, Feb 2015

Dear Sonam, We had a wonderful time. Guide and drivers absolutely first class. In Manila with slow Internet. Will send some photos when I return home. I will definitely recommend your services to anyone going to Bhutan. Regards Gary Anderson

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Ana Amelia Rezende
Ana Amelia Rezende
Brazil, Mar 2015

Hi Sonam,

Our trip was amazing, thank you once more. Bhutan is really a beautiful country.
Here is Juliana's photo at the Tiger Nest. That's me at the monastery.

Ana Amelia Rezende

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