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Escape to the Land of Gross Happiness – Bhutan

Description

Bhutan’s landscape ranges from sub tropical plains in the south to the sub alpine Himalayan range in the north where some peaks exceed 23000 ft. Besides the stunning natural scenery, the enduring image of the country for most visitors is the strong sense of culture and tradtion that binds the kingdom and clearly distinguishes itself from its larger neighbours. Due to its pristine environment and harmonious society the tiny kingdom of Bhutan is often refered to as “the Last Shangrila”. Perched high up in the Himalayas it is the world’s last remaining Buddhist kingdom. This tour will offer you a spectacular journey not only through the breathtaking landscapes of mountains, rivers, valleys and streams but you will also visit the city of Thimpu steeped in culture, literature, religion, and monastic practices and visit some Fortresses or Dzongs, then Punakha beside the Punakha River enroute visiting the Dochula Pass to get a view of some magnificent peaks. You will also visit the Dzongs and monasteries in Paro including the Popular “Tiger Nest” situated at an altitude of 1200 mtrs that has many a story to narrate about Guru Rinpoche.

Program

Duration: 7 nights/8 days

Destinations: Paro – Thimpu – Punakha – Paro

Day 1

Arrive Paro and drive to Thimpu

On arrival at Paro you will be met by our representative.
Paro: the green walls of the hills known as dooars or gateways to Bhutan from the plains of India rise higher as the plane flies north towards the Tibetan border. See the silvery rivers flowing along the valleys, waterfalls cascading down the forests on the mountains, and to the north the snow capped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise upto the heavens ....what a spectacular view. As the plane enters the Paro valley, look down and you will see the Paro DZong on the hillside overlooking the Paro Chu river with Ta DZong – formerly a watch tower and now a museum. On arrival at Thimpu, you will check into your hotel. Rest of the day is free for strolling around the market area. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 2

Thimpu:

It is the capital and thee largest city of Bhutan. The culture of Bhutan is fully reflected in Thimpu in respect of literature, religion, customs, monastic practices, national dress code, dance and music and the media. It is the political and economic centre of Bhutan.

This morning after breakfast, you will proceed for a sight seeing tour. You will first visit Simtokha Dzong, the old fortress of the kingdpom, built in 1627 which now houses the School for religious and cultural studies. Visit the King’s Memorial Chorten where the devotees will be seen chanting mantras and spinning the prayer wheels – the monument was built to depict world peace and prosperity. The view of the valley from this point is indeed spectacular.

Enjoy luch at the local eateries and then proceed for further sight seeing. Visit the Takini Mini Zoo which houses the national animal of Bhutan – the Takin, which looks like the fusion of a cow and a goat. Then you viist the Trashichhoedzong – “Fortress of Glorious religion”. - This is the centre of government and religion, and site of monarch’s throne room and seat of Chief Abbot. Visit the Government Handicrafts Emporium and the local crafts shops where you will find the traditional arts of Bhutan. You may opt to buy paintings, textiles, carvings, etc.

Dinner and overnight at the Hotel

Day 3

Thimpu

Have your breakfast and then start your sight seeing tour. Visit the National Library which houses the many priceless Buddhist manuscripts, followed by a visit to the Textile Museum and learn the national art of weaving here. You will see exhibits of major weaving techniques, styles of local dresses and textiles woven by both men and women. Then visit the Institute of Zorig Chusum (Painting School)- where students undergo a 6 year training course, and then the Textile and Folk Heritage Museum. Today try out some local Bhutanese cuisine for lunch. Continue your sight seeing tour – visit the Zilukha Nunnery, and then Drubthob Goemba a monastery which offers a view of Tashichhoedzong. Then visit the Handicrafts Emporium where you will find an extensive range of colourful woven textile and other products. Return to the Hotel. Dinner and overnight at the Hotel

Day 4

Thimpu – Punakha (75 kms, 3 hours)

Today after your breakfast check out of your hotel and you will proceed to Punakha. is located at an altitude of 1200 mtrs and was capital of Bhutan until 1955. From Thimpu drive upto Dhochula Pass at a height of 10130 ft. And stop here briefly to admire the views of Chorten, mani wall and the prayer flags which decorate the highest point on the road. If you are lucky you could get breathtaking views of some peaks – the Masagangl Tsengdagang, Terigang and a few more and finally the Gangkar puensum, highest peak in Bhutan at 7497 mtrs. Then you will Take an excursion to Chimi Lakhang situated on a hillock in the centre of the valley. The Temple is known as the “Temple of Fertility”. Built in honour of Lama Drukpa Kunley, it is believe that childless women visit this temple to for blessings and empowerment. You will then have your lunch and then later Visit the Punakkha Dzong built on the junction point of two rivers Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu in 1637 to serve as the religious and administrative centre of the region. The dzong joins the mainland by an arched wooden bridge and comprises of many precious relics from the days when subsequent kings reigned the kingdom. In the evening you will check into your hotel. Rest of the day at leisure. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 5

Punakha – Paro ( 150 kms 5 hours)

On arrival at Paro check into your hotel and relax. You could also opt to go on a cycle ride admiring the serene atmosphere of this picturesque location. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 6

Paro

Today after breakfast get ready for an excursion to the famous Taksang monastery situated at a height of 1200mtr. It is believed that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated in this monastery. The hike up the hill would take approx 2 hours. Alternately, You could choose to ride a horse from the parking lot of the monastery.
Return to the hotel. Dinner and overnight at the hotel.

Day 7

Paro

Today after breakfast again proceed for your sight seeing tour. Once you are in Paro you cannot miss Ta DZong built in the 17th century to defend Rinpung Dzong during the intervalley wars and is now inaugurated as the National Museum in 1968. Walk down a hillside trail to visit Rinpung Dzong built by the first spiritual ruler of Bhutan. Also Visit the ruins of Drukgyel Zong. On your way back to the town visit Kyichu Lakhang, one of the oldest and most sacred shrines of the kingdom. The temple was built to subdue a demonness residing in the Himalayas.

Day 8

Depart Paro

Today after breakfast you will check out of the hotel and then transferred to the airport to connect flight to your onward destination or flight back home.

The above is only a suggestive itinerary. The duration of the tour can be modified and customization done to suit your specific requirements.

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