ARRIVE PARO, BHUTAN| TRANSFER TO THIMPHU
A rather happy country on the Southern slopes of the Eastern Himalayas, Bhutan gives your sore eyes the much-desired relaxation with its beautiful locales. It boasts of variegated landscape ranging from subtropical plains to steep mountains and valleys.
Upon your arrival at Paro Airport, complete your immigration formalities, you will be received by our representative and transfer to Thimphu. on arrival, you will cheak into hotel and you have the rest of the day at leisure after you check into the hotel. Take time to just enjoying the green cover and natural beauty around you.
Today’s full day of sightseeing in Thimphu Valley includes the National Library which has a vast collection of ancient Buddhist texts, manuscripts, modern academic books and printing blocks for prayer flags and the Thimpu Painting School, famous for traditional thangkha paintings. Then Kuensel Phodra, known locally as Buddha Point and the largest of the Buddha statues within the country, from this vantage point we’ll also take in spectacular views overlooking the town of Thimphu.
Continuing we explore Memorial Chorten, a beautiful stupa built in the memory of Bhutan’s third King. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy. Trashichhodzong, the beautiful fortress/monastery which houses Secretariate building, King’s Throne room and other government’s offices, is also the summer residence of Chief Abbot. To see a wide assortment of beautifully hand-woven and crafted products, visit the Handicrafts Emporium.
Thimphu - Punakha.
This morning drive to Punakha, an old winter capital of Bhutan. En-route stop at the lofty Dochu La Pass, 3,048m to view the rugged eastern Himalayas, including Bhutan's highest mountain, Gangkar Punsum, 7,550m. The road then drops down through varied–ever changing forest, finally emerging into the highly cultivated Punakha valley.
This afternoon visit the impressive Punakha Dzong or Pungthang Dechen Phodrang "Palace of Great Happiness," which is located on the confluence of two rivers (Phochu and Mochu). It was built in 1637 by Shubdrung Nawang Namgyal and following the ancient traditions, it serves as winter residence for chief abbot (Je-khenpo) and the monks of Central Monastic Body, who returns to Thimphu in the summer. The building was damaged and rebuilt several times, due to flooding, fire and earth quake. It is one exemplary masterpiece of Bhutanese architecture.
Later hike to the Chimi lhakhang – the temple of Divine Madman which was built by lama Drukpa Kunley in 1499. Legend has it that he subdued the demoness of the Dochu la with his ‘magic thunderbolt of wisdom.’ A wooden effigy of the Lama’s thunderbolt is preserved in the Lhakhang, and childless women go to the temple to receive a wang (blessing) from the saint. It’s a 20-minute walk across the rice fields from the road at Sopsokha to the temple. The trail leads across rice fields to the tiny settlement of Pana. There are very few monks at the temple, which is surrounded by a row of prayer wheels and some very beautiful slate carvings.
Punakha - Paro.
Travel back to Paro today via the scenic Doch La Pass, where on a clear day you can enjoy spectacular views of the towering Bhutan Himalaya peaks. Enjoy a sightseeing tour of the Paro Valley before we wander the National Museum which holds an intriguing collection of artefacts and provides a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the Kingdom.
On our final tour day, we take an exhilarating one-hour hike to Taktsang Monastery (or Tiger’s Nest), one of the most recognizable sites in Bhutan. Built precariously on a hillside cliff, it sits more than 10,000 feet above sea level. Accessible only by foot, we follow a trail decorated with colorful prayer flags along the way to protect travelers from evil spirits. Built over the caves that Guru Padmasambhava meditated in for three years, this eighth-century father of Bhutan Buddhism is said to have been brought there on the back of a tigress. One of the most sacred sites in Bhutan it offers breathtaking views to those energetic enough to make it to the top.
We then take a short drive north of Paro to visit the ruins of Drukgyal Dzong. Built in 1647 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the unifier of medieval Bhutan, it was used as a stronghold against invading Tibetan armies. After a fire destroyed it in 1951, it remains a ruin as a symbol of the past military victories. On clear days, you can also see the snowcapped peak of Chomolohari mountain.
We end the day with a visit to Kyichu Lhakhang, a beautiful seventh-century Buddhist temple, one of the oldest in Bhutan. According to legend, a giant demoness lay her body across the Himalayas to prevent the spread of Buddhism. Tibetan King Songtsen Gambo built 108 temples throughout the region and around her body to pin her down, with Kyichu Lhakhang built to hold down her left foot.
Today we will bid fond farewell to this beautiful Himalayan country and take an early flight back to your destination. We hope by now you would have made some friends and also kept many photos and beautiful memories of Bhutan! And we look forward to seeing you again in this beautiful land of endless Enchantments!