14 Days Pilgrimage Tour
This tour grants privileged access to the holiest Buddhist sites in Bhutan. From the famous, majestic Tiger’s Nest (Taktsang) balanced among the clouds high above Paro, blessed by Guru Padmasambhava himself, to Kichu Lhakhang, one of the oldest temples in Bhutan, built by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. This tour provides a true insight to the rich religious culture of Bhutan. Monasteries and Meditation – Includes audiences with revered Teachers, along with special access to sacred sites. The major highlights of this tour are visit to the most sacred places of Bhutan which includes: Taktsang Monastery ‘Tiger’s Nest’, Punakha Dzong, Kichu Lhakhang and also visit the revered sites at Bumthang and Trongsa .
Day 01: Arrival to Paro
Day 02: Paro – Thimphu
Day 03: Thimphu
Day 04: Thimphu – Punakha
Day 05: Punakha – Bumthang
Day 06: Bumthang
Day 07: Bumthang – Lhuntse
Day 08: Lhuntse – Bumthang
Day 09: Bumthang – Phobjikha
Day 10: Phobjikha – Thimphu
Day 11: Thimphu – Paro
Day 12: Paro
Day 13: Hike to Taktshang
Day 14: Departure
DAY 01: ARRIVAL TO PARO
As you arrive at Paro International Airport, our guide and drive will receive and welcome you to the Kingdom of Happiness – Bhutan. Hotels are located not very far away from airport. Check into hotel and then settle for lunch. After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan‟s historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, visit the Rimpong Dzong to see the painting of the great saint Milarepa, considered as the master of meditation by the Bhutanese and believed to have attained enlightenment in a lifetime. Dzong‟s are large monasteries and district administrative centres, which were once strategic forts.
DAY 02: PARO (HIKE TO CHUMPHU NYE)
After breakfast, you will drive to the base point from where you will hike to Paro Chumphu Nye. Chumphu is in Paro, the western District of Bhutan. It takes about 7 to 8 hours hike to reach and visit this site and be back. After leaving your vehicle at the end of the road, the walk is casual and not too tiring as the hike path goes through the forests so there is a lot of shade and cool breeze. From here on it‟s a medium to steep climb up to the Temple where the “Dorji Phamo – The flying Goddess” Or the “floating” statue is situated. Dorji Phamo is also known as Dorje Phamo or Vajravarahi. This statue is very sacred and ancient as it‟s believed that the Goddess Dorji Phamo flew from Tibet and stayed on in the form of a statue. She is a life size statue and believe it or not, her one leg is crossed at the knees and the other is standing but does not touch the ground. Some people test this belief by passing a money note below her feet and it passes through smoothly without a hitch. The other site to visit at Chumphu is the Guru Rimpoche Caves. There are several caves used by Guru himself and some caves used by his consorts like Khandom Mendharawa and Khandom Yeshey Tshokey.
DAY 03: PARO – THIMPHU (55 KILOMETERS)
After breakfast, you will be driven to Thimphu, the capital city of Bhutan. Upon arriving Thimphu, you will first begin your sightseeing by visiting Buddha Dordenma, the tallest statue of Buddha in the world. The Buddha Statue was completed recently and was consecrated by His Holiness, the 70th Jekhenpo of Bhutan. It was built to bring peace and prosperity in the entire world. Then visit to Memorial Chorten. The stupa was built in the memory of late His Majesty, the third King of Bhutan Jigme Dorji Wangchuk, by Her Majesty, the Queen Mother of Bhutan. Today, the memorial Chorten is the central for devotes in and around Thimphu to offer prayer and circumbulation.
Next visit to Changangkha Lhakhang, the popular temple, perched like a fortress on a ridge above central Thimphu, hums with pilgrim activity. It was established in the 12th century on a site chosen by Lama Phajo Drukgom Zhigpo, who came from Ralung in Tibet. Parents traditionally come here to get auspicious names for their newborns or blessings for their young children from the protector deity.
Proceed to visit Zilukha Nunnery, where number of nuns is residing. You will attend the evening prayer along with nuns of the nunnery. And finally, you will visit Tashichoedzong, the fortress of the glorious. Tashichoedzong, beside significant in its religious aspect, is also office to His Majesty, the King of Bhutan and summer residential to His Holiness the Je Khenpo of Bhutan.
DAY 04: THIMPHU (HIKE TO TANGO MONASTERY)
Today, after breakfast, you will hike to Tango, one of the holiest places in Bhutan. Tango is located some kilometers towards the north of Thimphu. Lama Gyalwa Lhanangpa founded the Goempa in the 12th century. The present building was built in the 15thcentury by the “divine madman”, Lama Drukpa Kuenley. In 1616 Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal visited Tango Goempa and meditated in a cave nearby. His meditations helped ensure the defeat of an invading Tibetan army. The head lama, a descendant of Lama Drukpa Kuenley, presented the Goempa to the Shabdrung, who carved a sandalwood statue of Chenrizig, which he installed in the monastery. In the evening, you will receive audience with the Rimpoche, who will bless and advise you on Buddhism life.
DAY 05: THIMPHU – PUNAKHA
You will be driving to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. Upon your first hour of drive, you will reach to Dochula, one of the most beautiful passes in Bhutan. The passes besides offering beautiful views of the places also have 108 stupas built on the ridge in the middle of road. You will stop to hoist prayer flag on the top of hill for your own blessing and also for the sentient being all over the world.
Then proceed to visit Chimi lhakhang in Lobesa Village. Also known as the “Fertility Temple,” the single building site was originally built in 1499 on a short hill that had been blessed by rogue Buddhist leader Drukpa Kuenley, known as the “Divine Madman.” Drupa Kuenley, also known as “The Saint of 5,000 Women” worked overtime to spread enlightenment through an active sex life.
Then drive to Punakha to visit Punakha Dzong, which is located between two rivers – Phochu and Mochu. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel, the founder of Bhutanese state, built Punakha Dzong in 1637. It was originally named Puntang Dechen Phodrang Dzong, which means the Palace of Great Bliss.
DAY 06: PUNAKHA – BUMTHANG
After breakfast, you will drive to Bumthang, the central most part of Bhutan and also, one of the holiest districts of Bhutan. The drive will take whole day. On the way, you will come across gorgeous view of majestic Trongsa Dzong. Upon arrival, you will go to rest to prepare for the next day.
DAY 07: BUMTHANG
After breakfast, you will begin your sightseeing in Bumthang. First you will visit Tamshing Monastery. Tamshing Monastery is a kilometer past Kenchosum Lhakhang. It was built from 1501 to 1505 by Pemalingpa, the great Bhutanese Nyingmapa Lama. Then visit Jakar Dzong. Jakar Yugyal Dzong, commonly known as Jakar Dzong, is situated on a ridge above the Jakar village of Chamkhar Valley in Bumthang. There are different accounts of the origin of the Dzong.
In the afternoon visit to the following places: Kurje is one of the most sacred sites in Bhutan as Guru Rinpoche meditated here and left the imprint (je) of his body (ku) on a rock. In the 8th century, Bumthang was under the rule of a king named Sendhaka (alias Sintu Raja) whose home was the „iron castle‟, Chakhar.
Jambay Lhakhang is said to be one of the 108 temples built by the Tibetan King Songtsen Goenpa in 659 AD on a single day to pin down an ogress to earth forever. A supine demoness was causing obstruction to the spread of Buddhism, and the temples were constructed on her body parts that spread across Tibet, Bhutan and the borderlands.
DAY 08: BUMTHANG (HIKE TO TAG RIMOCHEN TEMPLE)
This temple is built at the foot on a cliff or rock which has numerous marks which looks like tiger stripes, hence the name of the temple „the one with drawings like a tiger‟. The temple looks like a large house. A smaller house has been built next to it at the beginning of the 21st century for nuns and meditates. Guru Rinpoche in the 8th century is said to have meditated in the cave near the present temple. The 20th Sombrang lama from Ura went to invite Drubthob Melong Dorje (1243-1303) from Tibet, an important master in the transmission of the Man nagde of the Dzogchen. Grubthob Melong Dorje meditated there before going to teach in URA.
On return, you will visit Mebartso, the burning lake. Pema Lingpa, one of the greatest treasure hunters of the time went into lake with butter lamp in hand without putting off and came back with volumes of Buddhist Scriptures.
DAY 09: BUMTHANG – LHUNTSE
After breakfast, you will drive to Lhuntse, one of the eastern most districts of Bhutan. You will cross many beautiful passes like Thrumshingla, and adventurous cliff like Namling Ja. On arrival at Lhuntse, you will visit Lhuntse Dzong, one of the finest Dzongs in Bhutan. Lam Nagi Wangchuk built the dzong and main statue of Dzong is Tsepame, the god of longevity.
On return, you will drive to Tangmachu, where giant statue of Guru Rimpoche is standing. The Statue was built by Zen Khenpo Karpo based on prophecy. Upon arrival you will receive audience with Rimpoche. And you will also hold night at the Rimpoche Place.
DAY 10: LHUNTSE – BUMTHANG
After breakfast, you will enjoy the beauty of the Tangmachu valley below before driving back to Bumthang. The journey will be tiring and you will need rest as soon as you reach Bumthang.
DAY 11: BUMTHANG – PHOBJIKHA
You will drive back to Phobjikha via Trongsa. Upon reaching Trongsa, you will enjoy visiting Gangtey Monastery, one of the oldest and largest Nyingma Monastery in the western Bhutan. Then, evening, you will spend at your leisure or you can opt to visit farm house. Farm Houses in Bhutan are design to offer the unique experience of Bhutanese living style.
DAY 12: PHOBJIKHA – PARO
Today, after breakfast, you will drive back to Paro. Upon reaching Wangdue, you will enjoy the view of Wangduephodrang Dzong, which is currently under reconstruction. Then proceed to Thimphu and visit Bhutan National Post Office and there you may customize your own stamp out of your own photo. On the way, pay visit to Simtokha Dzong, one of the oldest Dzongs built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel.
DAY 13: PARO (HIKE TO PARO TAKTSHANG)
Today, you will hike to Paro Taktshang, one of the most beautiful Monasteries in Bhutan. Taktshang is the only temple in the world hanging significantly on the cliff by the sheer force of faith alone. Indeed it‟s true as the journey there fills you with spiritual bliss. Taktshang is the temple, hanging on the cliff by the sheer force of faith alone. It is the dream of many people around the world to visit.
Then walk further up to the monastery which will take another 1 ½ hour. It is said that in the 8th century Guru Rinpoche flew on the back of a tigress from eastern Bhutan to this place and meditated in a cave here for 3 months. The principal Lhakhang (monastery) of the present monastic complex dates from 1692. Taktsang was damaged severely by fire in 1998 but has now been fully restored to its former glory. On return visit Kichu lhakhang one of the oldest temples to have been built in Bhutan by the Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo in the 7th century AD.
DAY 14: DEPARTURE
- Bhutan Tourist Tariff Royalty & Visa fees.
- All private excursions and transfers in superior air-conditioned vehicle.
- Local English speaking trekking guide/tour leader.
- Cook and camp hand who will take care of camp chores and provide wholesome meals.
- Services of horsemen who will look after the yaks & ponies that transport luggage and camp gear.
- Experienced driver.
- Accommodation in carefully selected, highest standard government approved hotels & guesthouses
- All meals in Bhutan.
- All entrance fees and permits.
- All personal expenses such as bars, beverages, laundry, telephone.
- Tips to guide and driver.
- Medical / Travel Insurance.
- Adventure and sport fees
- Luxury Hotel cost
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