Heart and Soul of Bhutan
Trip Highlights :-Paro | Thimphu | Gangtey | Jakar | Bumthang | Mongar | Tashigang |
Tour duration : 09 Nights / 10 Days
This is your journey to discover the magic and mythology, the places and people, the religion and philosophy of Bhutan. A program that takes you right into the heart of this mountain kingdom to witness the magnificence of its Himalayan setting, to experience the richness of its culture, to touch the soul of her people.
Arrive at Paro, meeting assistance from airport to hotel. Check in to hotel. This is your day to get a taste of this quaint little town, to hear the silence of its valley and familiarize yourself with its many historical attractions. Overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast at hotel. Spend the day in Paro, and visit Ta Dzong or the National Museum [closed on Mondays], an ancient citadel housing the National Museum. This interesting building is said to be in the shape of a conch shell and contains a collection of ancient and modern thangkas (embroidered and painted silk pieces depicting Buddhist life).
Visit Drukgyel Dzong or the Fort Afterwards, drive to the ruins of Drugyel Dzong from where there are spectacular views Mount Chomolhari (if the weather is clear). The ancient ruin of Drukgyel Dzong, considered as the most beautiful and famous archaeological sites in Bhutan, is situated on a ridge in the upper Paro valley. Since its construction in 1649, Drukgyel Dzong had been served as an important base for defense in the region until 1951 when it was destroyed by fire. Even after the destruction, the ruins of the Dzong continued to be protected as an important monument linking people of Bhutan with the great events that contributed in maintaining sovereignty of the country.
Later take a hike to Taktsang Lhakhang or Tiger's Nest Monastery and a magnificent view of the entire Paro Valley. Taktsang Monastery means the Tiger's Nest. This monastery is the most important religious site for the Bhutanese people, and located at a distance of around 80 km from Paro, precariously perched on the edge of a cliff. This monastery has been built around the cave where Guru Rimpoche and later his follower Dubthak Singye meditated. It clings to a cliff of rock which is about 800 meters above the valley. A visit to this monastery is a challenge, exhausting, thrilling and mystical.
Return to hotel for overnight stay.
Breakfast and check-out. Drive to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan, arrive and check-in at hotel.
Later proceed for the city tour to visit the Tashichhodzong: the seat of the Government. Chorten Memorial, the Stupa built in the memory of Bhutan's third King and then the Handicrafts emporium displaying rich traditional crafts of the Kingdom, the National Library which has a fascinating collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts and texts, the Painting School famous for traditional Thangkas paintings and the traditional Medicine Institute where centuries old healing art are still practiced.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast and check-out from hotel. Take an extraordinarily beautiful drive to Gangtey, through the Dochula Pass at 3,200 mt from where you can enjoy a panoramic view of the Himalayan range to the North. En-route you will also catch a glimpse of the Chimi Lhakhang temple and the Wangdiphodrang Dzong, the gateway to central and eastern Bhutan, strategically located on a promontory overlooking the meeting point of the Sunkosh and Tangmachu Rivers.
Arrive and check-in at hotel. Gangtey, or rather Phobjika village, on the valley floor a few kilometres beyond, is the winter haven of the rare Black Necked Crane, migrating down from Siberia and the Tibetan Plateau. And on a hillock overlooking the small villages is Gangtey Gompa, dating back to the 17th century, the only Nyingmapa temple in the country.
Overnight stay at hotel.
Breakfast and check-out. Drive to Jakar via Trongsa, the ancestral home of the Royal family of Bhutan. Drive over the Black Mountains, which divide Western and Central Bhutan. Pass through rich forests of rhododendron and magnolias, and yak settlements. Cross the Nikarchu Bridge to enter the Trongsa regions in central Bhutan. A great White stupa built in the 18th century in Nepalese design stands below the road as testimony to the subjugation of a demon by the Lam Shida. Then, you will get a view of the most impressive Dzong in Bhutan, the Trongsa Dzong, where unfortunately, tourists are not allowed entry. Built in 1647 by the Shabdrung, this dzong itself is a labyrinth of temples, corridors and offices holding court over the local community. An architectural masterpiece, it is built on many levels into the sides of the hill, and can be seen from every approach to Trongsa, declaring its strength and majesty. After lunch, drive further across Yutongla Pass (3,505 mt), arriving in Bumthang Valley by evening. Check-in at hotel for overnight stay.
After breakfast, visit one of the most spectacular valleys in Bhutan and the heartland of Buddhism. Tales of Guru Padmasambhava dominate many of the holy shrines in the valley which is dotted with countless monasteries and temples, including the important Jakar Dzong.
Visit Jakar Dzong, also known as 'Fortress of the White Bird', it was constructed in 1549 by Great grandfather of the first Shabdrung, initially as a monastery. Later it was upgraded in 1646, after the Shabdrung had firmly established his power. Jakar Dzong is now used as the administrative centre for Bumthang valley, and also houses the regional monk body.
Visit Jambay Lhakhang, it is a sacred monastery built in 7th century by the Tibetan King, Kurje Monastery consists of three temples. The one on the right was built in 1652, where Guru Padmasambhava meditated in the 8th century. Second temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of Guru's body and is therefore considered, the most holy. The third temple was built in 1990s by Ashi Kesang, the Queen Mother. These three temples are surrounded by a 108 chorten wall.
Also visit Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, Chankhar Lhakhang and Kharchhu Monastery.
Overnight stay at hotel.
After breakfast drive on to Mongar, passing through the charming village of Ura in Bumthang, before climbing sharply on the highest motorable road in the Kingdom, the Thrumsingla Pass at 3,800 m. The drive across Thrumsingla and the subsequent descent from high altitude alpine forests to lush pastures and orchards is probably the most exhilarating experience in Bhutan. As you drive down to Sengor, cascading waterfalls, steep cliffs with steeper drops, endless turns and fog rising out of the valley, blazing flowers and constantly changing vegetation combine to make the journey as varied as it is beautiful.
Visit Mongar Dzong, it is site of one of Bhutan's newest Dzong built in 1930s. Yet the Dzong is built in the same method and traditions of all the other Dzongs; no drawings and nails have been used. A visit gives visitors an impression of how traditional Bhutanese architecture has continued to thrive through the centuries.
Yakang Lhakhang, located at about 20 minutes walk from Mongar town, this privately owned monastery was founded by Lama Sangdag, the sixth son of Terton Pema Lingpa. It is of great cultural significance and a repository of a wide range of spiritual treasures and other sacred objects known to have been revealed by Terton Pema Lingpa.
Drametse Lhakhang, Dramtse Lhakhang means, ‘the peak without enemy', is one of the largest and most important monastery in eastern Bhutan, situated about 18 km away from Trashigang to Monger highway. The lhakhang was founded by a highly accomplished Ani (nun) named Choten Zangmo in the 16th century, the granddaughter of the famous religious master Terton Pema Lingpa (the Treasure Discoverer).
Overnight stay in Mongar.
Breakfast and check-out. Drive from Mongar to Trashigang, the eastern most region of Bhutan, begins through lush forests and ferns as you travel through the Kori La Pass at 3,439 mt. Descending rapidly through cornfields and banana groves, you will reach the village of Yadi. Follow the Gamri River until it bifurcates into Drametsi. About 30 kms onward lies Trashigang, at an altitude of 1,150 m. Once the bustling centre of trade between Bhutan and Tibet, it is today the biggest and most populated district in the nation. Here, you will tour the 17th century Trashigang Dzong, that stands proud on the jagged spur jutting out towards Gamri Chu, and visit the famous weaving centre at Khaling.
Trashigang Dzong, Built in 1659, the Dzong serves as the administrative seat for the district as well as the home of the monk body. The Dzong commands a remarkable view over the surrounding countryside.
Gom Kora - 24 kms from Trashigang, the temple of Gom Kora is set on a small alluvial plateau overlooking the river. Surrounded by rice fields and clumps of banana trees, it looks like an oasis in an arid landscape. It is one of the famous places where Guru Rinpoche meditated in order to subdue a demon who dwelt in a huge black rock.
Overnight stay in Trashigang.
Breakfast and check-out. Beautiful drive from Trashigang to Guwahati in India, to board your onward flight.
Visa is required for visiting Bhutan and we (DIVA Destination Management Services) can assist in procuring the same provided all necessary details are advised 30 days prior to arrival.