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Schedule : Falls in Oct - Nov every year (ref festival calendar of Bhutan).
Day 1 : Arrival Paro
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain flights. The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular of all mountain fights. One can see the Mt.Everest, Mt. Kanchanjungha, Mt. Makula and other peaks in Bhutan such as Mt.Jumolhari, Mt.Jichu Drakay, and Mt.Tsherimgang. The green wall of hills known as the doors, or gateways into Bhutan from plains climbs continually higher as down the forested Mountainsides, and to the north, the great snowcapped peaks of the inner Himalayas rise up to the sky. You will be received by the representative of Aries Tours & Treks (Bhutan tour operator) who will be your tour guide during your entire stay in Bhutan.
Check into the hotel. After refreshment, visit the National Museum, housed in the Ta Dzong (watch tower). Here an intriguing collection of artifacts provide a wonderful introduction to the rich culture and heritage of the kingdom.
Walk down to Paro Dzong, a fine example of Bhutanese historic architecture. From the Dzong, walk further down to Nyamai Zampa, a traditional cantilever bridge.
In the evening stroll around the Paro Town, you may visit local shops. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 2 : Paro - Thimphu
After breakfast, Drive to Thimphu, the capital town of Bhutan. The road runs down through the Paro valley, to Chuzom (confluence) at the entrance of the valley, where the Paro and Thimphu rivers meet. The road passes along a narrow valley with high, rocky cliffs on the left, and then the valley opens out into farmland on the approach to Thimphu. Simtokha Dzong, "the place of profound tantric teaching", stands sentinel on a hillock a few kilometers out of town. This Dzong now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies. Checks into hotel in Thimphu, after refreshment, visit the following :
Day 3 : Thimphu Short hike to Tango Monastery
After breakfast, drive through the upper Thimphu valley to the base camp of Tango Monastery (30 minutes drive) and hike up to the Monastery with a picnic lunch. Tango is the center for higher studies for monk. The hike up will take approximately 45 minutes. The Monastery is situated on the hill top. The view from Tango Monastery is breathtaking. Walk down and drive back to Thimphu and evening free to relax/stroll around Thimphu town.
In the evening, visit the government run Handicrafts Emporium and local crafts shops, to browse through examples of Bhutan's fine traditional arts. Here you can buy hand-woven textiles, thangkha paintings, masks, ceramics, slate and wood carving, jewelry, and other interesting items made from local materials. Overnight at hotel in Thimphu.
Day 4 : Thimphu - Punakha
After early breakfast, travel to Punakha through Dochula Pass (3,088m/10130ft). If you have clear sky, the view of the Himalayan Mountain ranges is spectacular and you can even see Gasa Dzong as a white dot in the horizon. Visit the beautiful 108 Chortens built on the hill by Her majesty Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck (Queen of Bhutan) for the security and well being of His Majesty, the King of Bhutan. Drive further on intermittently through the jungle and villages towards Punakha.
Stop over at Metshina village and take a 20 minutes' walk through the rich fields to the Devine Madman's Monastery - Chhimi Lhakhang, famously known for its fertility shrine, where one can receive a special fertility blessing.
Drive to Punakha, the old capital of Bhutan and presently the winter residence of the central monk body. Visit the Punakha Dzong, located on the island of the Pho-Chu (male) and the Mochu (female) river. Overnight at the hotel in Punakha.
Day 5 : Punakha - Bumthang
After breakfast, drive to Bumthang via Trongsa and Wangdue districts, visiting Wangdue Dzong on the way. It is situated on a ridge overlooking a river junction. In the 17th century, Wangdue played a critical role in unifying the western, central and southern regions of the country. Lunch will be served enroute (picnic lunch).
Drive on to Trongsa via Pelela pass at an altitude of 3.150 meters, a wonderful opportunity for photographs. This journey will take you intermittently through the stretch of forest and villages. Commanding the Mangde Chu at an altitude of 2,200 meters. Trongsa Dzong is the most impressive Dzong in Bhutan. Built in 1644 by the Zhabdrung, the Dzong is an architectural masterpiece. Drive on to Bumthang, the religious heartland of the nation, which lush valets and hilly forests. Bumthang consists of four valleys-Chumey, Chorkhar, Tang and Ura, with altitudes varying from 2,600 to 4000 meters. Along the way you will stop at yathra (textile weaving) factory, where the yathra are designed with patterns unique to Bumthang, and you can even watch some of the weavers at their looms. Overnight at hotel in Bumthang Jakar.
Day 6 : Sightseeing and Jambay Lhakhang Drub
After breakfast visit the following :
Day 7 : Bumthang Jambay Lhakhang Festival
After breakfast you will attend the full second day of the Jambay Lhakhang Drup (Festival) which will start around 10:30 am. You will be watching many ritual dances. Which are performed in the court yard of Jambay Lhakhang. There are a number of different dances, subdivided into three categories: those that are intended to give moral instruction: those that are designed to drive away evil spirits and those that celebrate the Buddhist faith in its many guises. This is the occasion where the local people, dressed in their finest cloths, come to attend the festival with packed lunches. This occasion also gives opportunity to the local businesses- there will be a number of stalls selling craftwork, jewellery, religious artifacts and thangkas. Overnight at hotel in Jakar.
Details of the 2nd Day Jambay Lhakhang Drub (festival) are as follows :
It follows a ceremony where a small girl representing the daughter of Sindhu Raja blesses the villagers. Dance of Singje Yab Yum (Lord of death and his consort) : the Lord of death and his consort perform this dance to protect the four realms over which he has power.
Dance of Nyulema and Peling Ging Sum (Three Kinds of Ging) : The Nyulema is an evil spirit represented by a boy in a skeleton mask. The Ging with the sticks catch the Nyulema. The Durdag or the Lords of the Cremation Ground (represented with dancers wearing white skeletal masks) bring forward a box, which represents evil spirits. The Ging with swords liberate the mind of the evil spirit by killing its body of flesh. The Ging with drums dance to celebrate the victory of religion over the evil spirit.
Dance of the Janchung Bochung (two mythical birds): dancer wearing masks representing the auspicious birds perform the dance. The play of the Atsara Gapa Pawo Solgyo (Atsara who acts like a Pawo). Though most of the stories and plays were originally with Buddhist sub text they now serve as comedy relief for the crowd. This story is about an Atsara (clown with a red mask) who is mad. The Atsara injures his son, as he did not recognize him. He tries to save his son's life by impersonating a pawo or medium and tries to perform a religious curative ceremony. Being unsuccessful he has to finally call a doctor and a mnk to cure his son.
Day 8 : Bumthang Jambay Lhakhang Festival
After breakfast, attend the full day of the 3rd day of Jambay Lhakhang Drub. The program begins at around 10:30 am. Below are the details of the day's program.
Dance of the four stags (Shacham): The king of the wind was causing much unhappiness and suffering in the world. Ugyen Rinpoche subdued him and then as a sign of victory rode on the stag, which was the mount of the king of the wind. Later a disciple of Guru Rimpoche, Namkhay Nyinpo found an effighy of the face of the stag which appeared to be a blessing. Thus the dance came into existence.
Dance of Ging Tsoling : The dance is supposed to take place in the paradise of Guru Rinpoche and is performed by incarnations of the Guru. The dance is said to give blessings to those who witness it as well as remove obstacles to the doctrine of the Buddha. People whistle during the dance to chase away evil spirits and the Ging hit people on the head to chase away impurity from the body.
Dramitse Ngacham (Dance of the drums from Dramitse) : The creator of this dance was Kuenga Gyeltshen, a learned lama from the 16th Century who lived in Dramitse. He is reputed to have seen the dance in Guru Rinpoche's paradise performed by attendants of the guru. The dance proclaims the superiority of religion over evil spirits.
Pacham - Dance of the heros: Pema Lingpa (the Treasure- Revealer who discovered many Buddhist treasure) saw this dance in Guru Rinpoche's paradise. On his return to earth he recreated this dance. The most important attendants of the Guru perform the dance. They lead the begins who die into the presence of the Guru.
Phole Mole : The nobleman and the lady: This play is about two princes who leave their princesses and go to war. An old couple is to take care of the princesses. As soon as the prince leaves the clowns try to frolic with the princesses and also corrupt the old women. When princes return they are shocked by the behavior of the princesses and the old women, and have their noses cut off as a punishment. Finally a doctor is called and everyone's nose is restored and the princesses and princes marry.
Day 9 : Bumthang - Punakha via Phojikha
After breakfast, drive to Phobjikha valley. You may visit Gangtey Gompa (monastery) which now houses one of the only Nyingmapa monasteries in Bhutan. The valley is also the winter home to the rare blacked-necked cranes (Grus Nicorocolis), which migrate, from remote parts of Tibet, China and Siberia during winter to this valley. Lunch at Phobjikha and after lunch drive to Punakha.
Overnight at hotel in Punakha.
Day 10 : Punakha - Paro
After breakfast, drive through upper Punakha valley passing through farmhouses. Then, walk to Khamsum Yuelley Namgyal Chorten (50 Mins) temple built by the Queen of Bhutan for peace and stability in this ever- changing world. This temple is situated on the hilltop overlooking the valley below. After lunch, drive back to Paro. ( If time permits and if interested visit Kichu temple, one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a gaint demon lay across the whole area of the Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songten Gampo decided to build 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with the precise plans. Thus, it happened that in about the year AD 638 the temple of Jokhang in Lhasa was built over the very heart of the demon).
Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 11 : Paro short Hike to Taktshang Monastery
After breakfast, drive to the base camp of Taktshang and then hike up to the most famous Monastery in the entire kingdom of Bhutan perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 meters above Paro Valley. The hike to the viewpoint will take about an hour and it will take 2 hours to the monastery. Lunch at the viewpoint. Walk back down.
Drive up the valley to view the ruins of Drukgyel Dzong, 18 km, from Paro town on the north side of the valley. It was from here that the Bhutanese repelled several invading Tibetan armies during the 17th century.
Evening, relax or stroll around Paro town, free mingle with people. Overnight at hotel in Paro.
Day 12 : Depart Paro
After breakfast, your tour guide from Bhutan Aries Tours & Treks will see you off at the Paro International Airport for your onward journey.
Payment Terms & Methods :
* Some Advance Percentage of total booking amount * Airfare/Transport fare to be paid full at one time in advance.
Cancellation & Refund Policy :
* Upon cancellation, refund will be made after deducting the Retention Amount. * Retention Amount varies as per the number of days left before your package start date.
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