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Punakha Tshechu Bhutan Travel

Destination : Punakha Dzong, Punakha (5/5) | 5 Reviews
  • temple
  • guide
  • vehicle
  • visas
  • meals
  • hotel
  • driver
  • hikes

Description

As all the tshechhu festivals in Bhutan, Punakha Tshechhu is celebrated in the honor of GuruPadmasambhawa, also known as Guru Rinpochhe. The festival is observed by mask dances performed by the monks and the laymen clad in colorful brocade attire and permeated by chants and reading of Buddhist scripts. The festival is culminated with the unfurling of a huge cloth thangka (a sacred scroll, depicting Padmasmabhawa and imagery from Buddhist pantheon.)

The festival was first introduced in the year 2005 by the 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra and the then Home Minister His Excellency Lyonpo Jigme Yoedzer Thinley. The festival plays an important role in preserving Bhutan’s rich culture and traditions and also provides devout Buddhists with an opportunity for prayer and pilgrimage.

The tour can be customized or combined with any other interest as per the requirements and interests of the clients.


Outline Itinerary

DAY 1 – Arrive Paro

DAY 2 – Paro – Haa

DAY 3 – Haa – Thimphu

DAY 4 – Thimphu Sightseeing

DAY 5 – Thimphu – Punakha

DAY 6 – Punakha ( Day 1 )

DAY 7 – Punakha ( Day 2 )

DAY 8 – Punakha ( Day 3 )

DAY 9 – Punakha – Gangtey

DAY 10 – Gangtey/Phobjikha – Thimphu

DAY 11 – Thimphu – Paro

DAY 12 – Paro Sightseeing

DAY 13 – Departure


Detailed Itinerary

Altitude of Paro: 2280 mts

On your journey to Paro, the panoramic views of the Himalayas are sensational, including the Everest and other famous Himalayan Peaks. The approach through the Bhutanese foothills and the landing, including a few steep turns to land at the tiny airstrip of Paro becomes more exciting as you enter Bhutan.

On arrival, you will be received with a warm welcome by your Bhutanese Guide from Ideal Travel Creations with Tashi khadar and a small gift and escort to hotel.

After lunch, free time. Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance: 65 Km, Driving Hrs: 2.5 Hrs, Altitude of Haa: 2700 Mts.

After breakfast, drive to Haa via Chelela pass. Stop at Chelela pass and enjoy the view of High Mountains and the prayer flags. You can install your own prayer flags here.

Chelela Pass: It is the highest point between the Haa valley and Paro valley at an altitude of 3810 m. This place gives a very good view of the Himalayan mountains, including the mountain Jumolhari. The place also gives good view down towards the Haa valley. A lot of prayer flags flutter in the place.

Drive further to Haa Valley.

Haa Valley and places to visit in Haa: Haa valley was known for its animist tradition during the pre- Buddhist era.  Inhabitants of Haa then believed offering animal blood to their local deities. However, after the visit of the tantric master, Guru Padmasambhava, in the 8th century the inhabitants were transformed into peaceful Buddhist.  Guru Padmasambhava, subdued the local deities such as Ap Chundu and made them the guardians of the Buddhist tradition. Traces of this belief system are still noticed in the form of festivals and rituals.

Opened to foreign tourist only in the year 2002, it is a culturally rich valley. A few famous places to visit are:

7th century Lhakhang Karpo (White temple) and Lhakhang Nagpo (Black temple) at the foothills of a venerated three brotherly mountains known as Meri Puensum. The grand annual Haa Tshechu is also performed here at Lhakhang Karpo on the 8th-10th day of the 8th Bhutanese month.

The Haa Wangchuklo Dzong built in 1915 after the Dumchog Dzong was razed to the ground by fire is worth visiting.

The valley is also unparalleled in Bhutan in terms of the diversity of the folk culture, legends and shamanistic rituals. The shamanistic traditions is vividly practiced in almost all the communities, most notable of which is the annual ceremony to honour Ap Chundu, the guardian deity of the valley. The valley is also a paradise for nature lovers and travelling there is a very rewarding experience.

Dinner and over night in hotel.

Driving Distance; 115 Kms, Driving time: 3-4 Hrs, Altitude of Thimphu: 2320 mts

After breakfast, drive to Thimphu.

Lunch at Thimphu.  After lunch is a time to refresh in the cool breeze of the Himalayas with the perfect views of the Thimphu valley. Visit the following:

Sangaygang view point: (2685 meters) to have view of whole Thimphu valley and walk through hundreds of colorful prayer flags that dot the hill overlooking the Thimphu valley.

Takin Reserve Centre. The takin, the national animal of Bhutan can be seen here. This particular animal is found only in the Himalayan region.

Kuenselphodrang: A place for refreshing with a huge statue of Buddha on the top of  Kuenselphodrang. The area also gives a very good view of the Thimphu valley from the west.

National Memorial Chorten: This Chorten was built in the honour of the Third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, also known as “The Father of Modern Bhutan”. This Chorten was built in 1974 in a typical Tibetan style. This Chorten is also a center of worship for the people living in Thimphu and contains many religious paintings and tantric statues.

Then, free time to walk around The Thimphu town visiting different textile and handicraft shops.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Altitude of Thimphu: 2320 mts

After breakfast, visit:

The Institute for Zorig Chusum: Students are taught the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan in this institute.

The Institute of Traditional medicine: Here Medicines are prepared according to the Tradition practices.

Folk Heritage Museum: Founded by Her Majesty the Queen Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.  The museum is one of a kind that portrays the lifestyle of a family in the Thimphu valley in the olden days. This is a three storied, 19th century traditional house giving an insight to the Bhutanese lifestyle, and artifacts from the rural households. The museum contains typical Bhutanese household objects, tools and equipments.

Typical Bhutanese lunch at the Folk Heritage Restaurant.

After lunch, visit:

Textile Museum: This Textile Museum is operated by the National Commission for Cultural Affairs of Bhutan. The Museum was established in the year 2001 and has a good collection of exclusive and antique Bhutanese textile artifacts. The museum was set up with an objective to promote and encourage weavers to continue weaving of traditional Bhutanese textile, Promote Bhutan in the field of textile art and to preserve and promote the history and tradition of Bhutan.

Jungshi handmade paper factory: It is a 1 km drive from main city of Thimphu to the factory. The factory Manufactures the traditional Bhutanese paper using the bark of two tree species in the manufacture of traditional paper  the Daphne tree and Dhekap. The entire process of traditional manufacturing of the Handmade paper can be observed. It was previously operated by the government. Now it is run by a private entrepreneur.

Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion): A Doom (Blue Stone) Dzong was built on the hill above Thimphu  in 1216 the lama Gyalwa Lhanampa. A few years later Lama Phajo Drugom Shigpo, who brought the Drukpa Kagyu lineage to Bhutan, took over Dohon Dzong. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal (The one who unified the country) acquired the Dzong in 1641 from the descendants of lama Phajo and renamed it as Trashi Chhoe Dzong. The Dzong is the seat of the national government and the Central Monastic Body, including the summer residence of the Je Khenpo (Chief Abbot of Bhutan) at present.

Dinner and over night in Hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Punakha.  On the way, visit:

Dochula pass: The most known pass in Bhutan, about 30 km drive from the Capital City Thimphu on the way to Wangduephodrang. It is at around 3150 m height. On a clear day, spectacular view of the mighty Himalayas mountain ranges can be seen. The pass also has 108 Druk Wangyal Khangzang Chhortens which is believed brings multi fold merit to all sentient beings and which make the pass a must visit place.

Drive further to lamperi. Stop at Lamperi to visit the Royal Botanical Park.

Royal Botanical Park – Situated at an altitude range of 2100 meters – 3800 meters, the park covers an area of 47 square kilometers and is located between Thimphu and Punakha. The park contains a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna and features a huge species of plants and animals including endangered species such as Himalayan yew, native Rhododendron, Royal Bengal Tiger, Musk Deer, Red Panda, Blood pheasants and Himalayan Monal. You can also find Tetracentron (an ancient relict angiosperm with no vessel in its trunk) in the park. The park has 14.5 km of trails for eco trek for cycling and walking and one of the main attractions is the rhododendron garden including a picnic spot with children’s play ground.

Lunch at Wangdue.

After lunch visit;

Rinchengang valley: it is small and clusterd valley located opposite to Wangduephodrang dzong (The dzong was destroyed by fire in the year 2012, and it is being rebuilt now). It is about 20 minutes hike uphill from the near road.

Then drive towards Punakha and take a short excursion to visit the Chimmi Lhakhang.

Chhimi Lhakhang: This temple is located on the way to Punakha. This temple is also known as the temple of fertility and was built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley in the 15 century. Lama Drukpa Kuenley is also known as the Devine Madman.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Punakha dzong to witness the festival.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Punakha dzong to witness the festival.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Punakha dzong to witness the festival.

In the evening, free time to explore the Punakha valley and town.

Dinner and overnight in Hotel.

Driving Distance: 78 Kms, Driving Time: 2- 3 Hrs.

After breakfast, drive to Gangtey. While in Gangtey visit the following;

Farm House: Bhutanese farmhouses are colorful, decorative and traditionally built without any nails. Majority of the houses are with three story, first floor is utilized for sheltering cattle, second floor for the family to live in and the top for storing and drying of foods and fodder for animal.

Gangtey Goemba– This Monastery overlooks the large green expanse of the Phobjikha Valley. Gyaltse Pema Thinley, the grandson and mind reincarnation of Pema Lingpa founded the Temple in 1613, and Tenzin Legpai Dhendup, the second re-incarnation, built the temple. The present Abbot, Kunzang Pema Namgyal is the ninth re-incarnation.

Then explore the Phobjikha Valley.

The Phobjikha Valley- This valley is one of the most beautiful glacial valleys in the Himalayas. It lies on the western slopes of the Black Mountains. The valley is a designated conversation area and borders the Black Mountain National Park of Bhutan. This is also an important place for Bhutan as it is the winter roosting place for the endangered Blacknecked Cranes.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance: 136 Kms, Driving Time: 5 Hrs.

After breakfast, drive to Thimphu. On the way stop at Lamperi and visit the Royal Botanical park.

Royal Botanical Park – Situated at an altitude range of 2100 meters – 3800 meters, the park covers an area of 47 square kilometers and is located between Thimphu and Punakha. The park contains a rich biodiversity of flora and fauna and features a huge species of plants and animals including endangered species such as Himalayan yew, native Rhododendron, Royal Bengal Tiger, , Musk Deer, Red Panda, Blood pheasants and Himalayan Monal. You can also find Tetracentron (an ancient relict angiosperm with no vessel in its trunk) in the park. The park has 14.5 km of trails for eco trek for cycling and walking and one of the main attractions is the rhododendron garden including a picnic spot with children’s play ground.

In the evening, free time to explore Thimphu town and Valley.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Driving Distance: 65  km, Driving Time: 1.5 – 2 Hrs, Altitude of Paro: 2280 mts.

After breakfast, drive to Paro.  On the way to Paro, visit the Tamchog Lhakhang.

Tamchog lhakhang (between Paro and Thimphu) ; built in the 13th century by Thangthong Gyalpo. He is also known as the Iron bridge builder. Situated on a hill top, we have to cross an ancient style bridge to reach the temple. It is owned by the descendants of Thangthong Gyalpo.

After lunch, visit;

Rinpung Dzong:  Meaning “fortress of the heap of jewels”. The dzong now serves as the administrative and judicial seat of Paro district and residence for around 200 monks of Paro and was built at the same time of Drukgyel Dzong.The famous Paro tshechhu ( festival) is held here in spring.

Ta Dzong: It overlooks the Rimpung Dzong and was built in 1951 as a watch tower. This dzong is Round, more like parts of the European castle. The Dzong was established as the National Museum of Bhutan since 1967 and holds fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangkha,etc.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

Altitude of Paro: 2280 m

After breakfast, excursion to Taktshang Monastery.

Taktsang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest): Paro Taktshang is one of the country’s most famous tourist attractions. The trail to the monastery climbs through beautiful pine forest, and an occasional grove prayer flags. It is said that Guru Padmasambhava, the tantrum mystic who brought Buddhism to Bhutan, came in the form of form of Dorje Droloe riding a flying tigress to subdue the evil and demon that were obstructing the spread of Buddhism in the Himalayas.

After lunch, visit a village and a farm house and learn about the rural Bhutanese way of life. Relax in a traditional hot stone bath in the farm house.  The hot stone bath helps relaxing and is said to have medicinal values.

Hot stone bath: The traditional Bhutanese hot stone bath, known as Dotsho in local language has been practiced in Bhutan for centuries as a medicinal soak. Many Bhutanese believe that the bath helps in curing joint pains, helps in relaxing and other medical problems. River stones are heated and then put in water to heat the water; sometime medicinal herbs are added to the water before it is ready for the soak.

Dinner and overnight in hotel.

After breakfast, drive to Airport and farewell.


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