Thimphu Tshechu (7nights /8days)
Tshechu literally means "day ten" in Dzzongkha are annual religious Bhutanese festivals held in each district or dzongkhag of Bhutan on the tenth day of a month of the lunar Buddhist calendar. The month depends on the place. Tshechus are religious festivals of the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.Tshechus are large social gatherings, which perform the function of social bonding among people of remote and spread-out villagesThe focal point of the tshechus are Cham dances, These costumed, masked dances typically are moral vignettes, or based on incidents from the life of the 9th century Nyingma teacher Padmasambhava and other saints. Most tshechus also feature the unfurling of a thongdrel - a large appliqué thangka typically depicting a seated Padmasambhava surrounded by holy beings, the mere viewing of which is said to cleanse the viewer of sin. The thongdrel is raised before dawn and rolled down by morning. The Thimphu Festival (Tsechu) is one of the grandest of Bhutan’s festivals and attracts the largest audience. Featuring dances performed by trained monks and laymen in amazing masks and costumes, Tsechus (festivals) are one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. A Tsechu is a Buddhist festival in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. The Thimphu Tsechu was established by the 4th Temporal Ruler, Tenzing Rabgye (1638-1696) in 1670. This festival also provides a great opportunity to witness locals gathered in their finest Gho’s and Kira’s in a celebration of their culture and faith. This tour also visits sacred sites in Paro, Thimphu and Punakha.
Day.1:Arrive Paro: After arriving at Paro International Airport you will be picked up by your personal guide and driver who will drive to your hotel for lunch. On your first day in Bhutan you will then visit the National Museum, located in the watchtower (Ta Dzong) of Paro Dzong. After the museum you proceed to Paro Rinpung Dzong, which was built by the founding father of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 1646. Today, this fortress houses the Administrative seat of the district of Paro and the district Monk Body with about 200 monks. The central tower (Utse) of the fortress is one of the most beautiful in Bhutan with its superb woodwork. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 2:Paro-Thimphu:(Thimphu Festival): After breakfast we will drive to Drugyal Dzong (a ruin of a Dzong) which is situated at the end of Paro valley about 16 kilometers outside town. This Fortress is of great historical importance as it was here that the Bhutanese defeated the invading Tibetans and drove them back. From here, the snowcovered peaks of Mount Jhomolhari (7329m) can be seen on a clear day. After that visit one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, the Kyichu Lhakhang. Built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century, Kyichu is considered to be one of 108 temples that were built to defeat an ogress (demon) that was lying over the entire Himalayas. Then we will drive to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Along the winding road following Paro River you will stop to visit Tamchhog Lhakhang, a private temple owned by the residents of the famous Tibetan bridge builder Thongten Gyalop. The traditional iron bridge here was reconstructed in 2005 using some of Thangtong’s original chain links from Duksum in eastern Bhutan. The red soil around the temple contains low-grade ore that once supplied the raw material for iron works. After lunch we drive to Trashichoe Dzong to witness the First day of the great Thimphu Festival. Visit the impressive Trashichoe Dzong. This massive fortress houses part of the government Ministries, the office of the King and the Throne Room. It also houses the State Monastic Body and the office and the living quarters of the Chief Abbot. Dinner at Hotel
Day 3:Thimphu:(Thimphu Festival): Today in the morning we will drive to Kuenselphordang where you will see the 169 ft sitting Buddha statue. Then we drive to Trashichoe Dzong to witness the second day of the great Thimphu Festival. After lunch Visit the zoo to meet Takin, National animal of Bhutan. A local legend tells how the Bhutanese national animal was created from the remains of a lunch eaten by Lama Drukpa Kunley, a 15th-century Buddhist saint, known as the Divine Madman. He combined the skeletons of a cow and goat and brought them back to life with a loud belch. Then visit Memorial Chorten, a stupa built in memory of the third King of Bhutan. Evening for your own leisure.
Dinner at Hotel.
Day 4:Thimphu:(Thimphu Festival): In the morning drive to Trashichoe Dzong to witness the Final and last day of Thimphu Festival,where you will have the opportunity to witness the unfurling of huge thangka(scroll painting).The thangka depicts Guru Rinpoche,his various manifestations,consorts and religious masters.For many,to witness the unfurling of Thangka is to accumulate merits and receiving blessing.
Evening for your own leisure. Dinner at Hotel.
Day 5:Thimphu-Punakha: In the morning drive to Dochu La, a 3140m high street pass. On clear days the pass offers a panoramic view of the Bhutan Himalaya. The collection of 108 chortens were built in 2005, and the new Druk Wangyel Lhakhang was inaugurated 2009, showing marvellous paintings. From Dochu La you continue towards Mistna where you visit Chimi Lhakhang. This temple was founded by Drukpa Kinley, commonly known as “Divine Mad Man”. After Drukpa Kinley subdued the feared demoness of Dochu La, he advised the local people to built a temple in 1499. After lunch nearby the temple you drive to Punakha and visit Punakha Dzong. Punakha was the former capital of Bhutan, and the Dzong (fortress) lies between two rivers known as Pochu and Mochu which means “Male River and Female River.” Built in 1637 under the reign of Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the founding father of Bhutan, Punakha is today the winter residence of the central monk body and holds the famous Drukpa Kagyu relique “Rajung Khasarpani”. The main assembly hall shows paintings of the life story of Lord Sakyamuni Buddha. Dinner at the hotel.
Day 6:Punakha-Paro: (Hike to Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten(Stupa)): In the morning drive for 30-minute from the Punakha 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. 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. After lunch we will start our journey towards Paro. In reaching Paro experience the unique and small Paro town. Dinner at hotel.
Day 7:Paro(Taktshang Hike): Today’s programme includes a hike to one of the most sacred places in entire Bhutan: About 15 Kilometres North of Paro Dzong and half an hour drive away is Taktshang Monastery. Perched on a rocky ledge with a sheer drop of nearly 800 ft, Taktsang was built in 1692, around the Taktshang Senge Samdup (stag tshang seng ge bsam grub) cave where Guru Rinpoche meditated for three months in the 8th century. Padmasambhava has introduced Buddhism to Bhutan. Today, Paro Taktsang is the best known of the thirteen taktshang or “tiger lair” caves in which he meditated. Like an outgrowth of the terrain itself, the gem-like Taktshang monastery clings to a sheer, 3000 foot rock face. The name of this gravity defying cluster of buildings means literally "The Tiger's nest," an allusion to the popular legend that Padma Sambhava flews here from Tibet on the back of a Tigers. The Monastery shares its name with another monastery in North West Arunachal Pradesh which also shares very similar legend. Evening for your own leisure . Dinner at hotel.
Day 8: Drive to Paro Airport: Today we shall bid adieu the land of dragons and departing for our respective destinations, see off by your Guide and Driver.