Arrive in Paro. Visit National Museum, located on a ridge, overlooking the Rinpung Dzong. Unlike the rectangular shape of the Dzongs, Ta Dzong is conical, more like that of a European castle, since 1967 the Dzong was re-established as the National Museum and holds a fascinating collection of art, relics thangkha paintings and Bhutans’s Exquisite stamps. Rinpung Dzong, also known as the “ fortress of the heap of jewels.” It was built during the time of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 after the small Hungrel fortress built by Lam Drung Drung was offered to Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel. Further drive to visit Dzondrakha, we will stop at a place for the hike (optional) to a monastery called Dzondrakha which looks similar to famous Tiger's Nest monastery but located at shorter hiking distance. Half the walk will be along the agricultural field and very easy, another half will be an uphill climb and when both versions of hikes are summed up it will take less than 1 hour to reach at the top where the monastery stands. On reaching the site of the monastery, one would enjoy the view of the fertile Paro valley below. Your guide will take you inside the main temple of the monastery.
Hike Taktsang Monastery. This monastery is built on a cliff, it is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and mediated at this monastery and hence it is called ‘Tiger’s Nest’. This site has been recognized as most sacred and visited by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal in 1646 and now visited by all Bhutanese at least once in their lifetime. The Monastery built in 1692 caught fire on 19th April 1998, it was renovated later.From the road point the hike up to Taktsang, on a well maintained path, is quite uphill and it takes 4-5 hours at an average walking speed for to & fro journey.
Visit Memorial Chorten, built in 1974 by Her Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, who is popularly regarded as the Father of Modern Bhutan. The paintings and statues inside the monument provide deep ingight into Buddhist philosophy. The chorten is one of the most visited religious structures in Thimphu. Sangyegang view point, it also has Bhutan Broadcasting Service tower(BBS),located on a hill above Zilukha or northeast of Mothithang, provides you with an opportunity to enjao and take photograph of Thimphu city.It is also known as the Lover’s point. “Zorig Chusum”, it means the thirteen crafts. to preserve our valuable heritage and promote arts in Bhutan, the Royal government initiated this institute in 1971. Students are taught painting, calligraphy, embroidery, wood carving, sculpture. The thirteen arts & crafts comprises of : Paintings, carpentary, carving, sculpture, casting, black smithing, bamboo work, gold & silversmithing, weaving, embroidery, masonry, leather work, and paper-making. Textile Museum, it has opened its exhibition on six major themes: wrap pattern weaves,weft pattern weaves, role of textiles in religion, achievements in textile arts, textile from indigenous fibre and the royal collection. The crowns of Bhutan’s kings, namzas( dresses)’ the first of the Raven crown and other accessories used by members of the Royal family can be found in the museum. The goal of the museum is to slowly become a center for textiles studies that will carry documentation, research and studies on textiles. Visit the Bhutanese paper making unit, the traditional gold and silver smith unit. Handicraft Emporium,It is located on Norzin Lam and has a wide variety of handicrafts, displaying assortment of beautifully hand woven and handicraft products. Tashichhodzong, initially erected in 1702 by Sherab Wangchuk, the 13th Desi and later in 1955 after moving the capital to Thimphu from Punakha, this Dzong was redesigned and sections were rebuilt. It houses the main secretariat building and the central monk body.
Excursion to Tango Monastery, This Goemba was founded by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa in the 12th century. The Monastery which now an important centre of higher learning for monks is also associated with Lama Drukpa Kunley and now an important centre for higher learning for monks is also associated with Lama Drukpa kunley and Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal.The three storey main temple is dedicated to the body, speech, and mind of the Buddha and it was constructed at Gyalse Tenzin Rabgye’s command in the memory of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and the early master’s of the Drukpa lineage.The monastery is situated north of Thimphu and it is 30 minutes drive from the main town of Thimphu followed by a 30 minutes walk through beautiful forest from the road point. The name Tango means head of horse.
Hike to Phajoding Monastery, it is situated on a commanding height overlooking Thimphu valley. In the form of a statue, here Guru Padmasambhava is shown in his terrifying appearance holding a sward in his right hand and a bowl made of a skull in the left hand. The yogi path that turns from India to the mountains of Tibet and Bhutan is set here in symbols with the utmost consistency. From Thimphu it is about 4 hrs hike to the monastery. The Monastery takes its name from the saint Phajo Drugom Zhigpo who meditated there in the 13th Century
Drive Thimpu - Punakha via Dochu La. Visit Punakha Dzong, the Dzong was built in 1637 and it was named as Pungthang Dechen Phodrang( Palace of Great happiness).The war materials captured during the Tibetan invasion can be found inside the Dzong. It is beautifully located in between the two rivers called Pho( Male) and Mo( Female) Chhu( River).It was the capital of Bhutan till 1955.It continues to be the winter residence of the Je-Khenpo( Chief Abbot) and the central monk body. Khamsum Yule Namgyel monastery, Khamsum Yulley Namgyal stands majestically on a strategic ridge above the Punakha valley. Built over a period of 9 years, Bhutanese craftsmen including carpenters, painters, and sculptors consulted holy scriptures rather than engineering manuals, to construct this 4-storey temple. It is a splendid example of Bhutan’s fine architectural and artistic traditions and the only one of its kind in the world. Built by Her Majesty the Queen Mother, this temple is dedicated for the well being of the kingdom and the benefit of all sentient beings. A 30-minute drive from the Punakha Dzong will bring you to the base of the hill on which this temple is built. From the car park, you have to cross a suspension bridge and walk through rice fields before you start climbing a moderately inclined trail surrounded by pine trees. It takes about 1 hour from the car park to hike up to the temple, and 30 minutes to hike down. During the summer, the walk could be a bit muddy, so be prepared. A hiking pole is recommended. Chi-med lhagang it is a small 15th century temple famous for its fertility endowments/rites due to the blessings of Lam Drukpa Kuenley. The Temple houses the Lam’s iron bow and arrow, a small altar chorten made by him and some of his personal effects and scriptures. A wooden effigy of Drukpa Kuenley’s male organ is used to bless pilgrims, particularly childless couples.
Hike to Talo and Nobgang village Hiking to Talo Nobgang, the village of the present queen mothers, is another good way of spending an extra day in this lush subtropical valley. The hike up to Nobgang village can be a good day’s work. The village of Talo (altitude 2,800 m) which is scattered along the hill slopes is known for its cleanliness and hygiene among Punakha villages. Talo is the seat of the mind incarnations of the Zhabdrung. Talo Sangnacholing Dzong is built on a plateau and has majestic view of surrounding villages. The beautiful farm houses of the village have its own flower gardens and on the hill slope corns and sweet peas are grown in abundance. We will spend some time the Nobgang and Talo villages visiting farm house and meeting families. The people of Talo produce maximum corn, which is harvested in the month of July and August. The women here are particularly known for their beauty.
Visit the Rinchengang village a small clustered village facing the Wangdue Dzong is known for its skill in traditional method of stone masonry. It is about 20 minutes hike uphill with great view of the Dzong, valley and the river in Wangdi and drive to Gangtey
Visit Gangtey Monastery and the Black Necked Crane centre. Gangtey is a beautiful place of rolling hills and green meadows surrounded by snow-capped mountains. It is at an altitude of 3000m. From Gangtey, one can closely view the picturesque Black Mountain ranges as well as the beautiful Phobjikha valley. Gangtey Gompa is perched atop a small hill that rises from the valley floor. The monastery is surrounded by a large village inhabited mainly by the families of the 140 Gomchens (Lay Monks). The Gangtey Gompa is the only Nyingmapa Monastery on the western side of the Black mountains and is also the biggest of its kind. Gangtey is also the winter home for the famous Black Necked Cranes who migrate here from Tibet during the winter months. While the cranes reside in the valley for 4/5 months the village folks are not allowed to make loud noises or fish in the river that runs through the valley. At Gangtey, you get to visit the Gangtey Monastery and the Black Necked Crane centre. Overnight Evening hike back to hotel
Drive Gangtey - Paro
Excursion to Haa Valley, Leaving Paro to the west by road, and after driving through pine and rhododendron forest, we begin our climb of the Chele-la pass (4,200 meters), the highest mountain pass in Bhutan. From here one has splendid views of the High Himalayas, including the magnificent peaks of Jhomolari, Bhutan’s most sacred peak at over 6,700m, and Jichu Drakey. A 22km descent from the top of the pass brings us to the erstwhile restricted zone of Haa. The Haa Dzong is presently occupied by the Bhutanese military, but the views from outside its walls are stunning. After a picnic lunch there are visits to the Monastery of Lhakhang Karpo (White Temple) followed by the Lhakhang Nagpo (Black Temple). The central shrine of Lhakhang Nagpo is said to resemble that of the Jowo in Lhasa, Tibet. The three giant hills looming over the fringes of Haa Valley are popularly known today as ‘Rig Sum Goenpa’, signifying three deities: Jambayang, Chana Dorji and Chenrizig. Return to Paro. drive back to Paro
Day free until departure transfer to the airport for onward journey.
“Not until we are lost do we begin to understand ourselves.”
- Henry David Thoreau
Get lost and feel the mystic energy of the Himalayas with Shiva Treks