punakha festival

Experience the spectacular Punakha Tsechu (Festival), held in the grounds of the magnificent Punakha Dzong. A Tsechu is a Buddhist festival in honour of Guru Rimpoche, the saint who brought Buddhism to Bhutan. Locals gather in a spirit of

festivity, celebration and deep faith to witness unique masked dances and celebrations. The Tsechu is one of the best ways to experience the ancient living culture of Bhutan. Also visit sacred sites in Paro, Thimphu, Punakha and view the Black-Necked Cranes in the beautiful Phobjikha Valley.

There is also an optional day tour of the beautiful Haa Valley available as part of this tour.

DAY-1: ARRIVE PARO, PARO –THIMPHU
Arrive at Paro.You will be received by your tour guide from Access Bhutan Tours & Treks at the Paro International Airport.
After the refreshment,visit the Ta Dzong rated as one of the finest natural Museum in South Asia, and is filled with antique thanka paintings, textiles, weapons and Armour. The visit the Rinpung Dzong ( in the same location) built in 1645 to defend the valley against Tibetan invaders. The Dzong is now use as an administration center and school for monks. Then walk down to Rimpung Dzong Bridge, one of the oldest bridges in Bhutan.
In the evening,travel to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Thimphu.

DAY-2: THIMPHU SIGHTSEEING
In the morning,visit :
National Library where a vast collection of ancient manuscripts is preserved.
School of Traditional Painting of Arts and Crafts where children are taught the traditional art of woodcraft and painting.
 Folk Heritage Museum, which is loated in the same area, and further down to the Textile Museum.
National Institute of Traditional Medicine
National Textile museum
After lunch, visit:
Tashichhodzong, “the fortress of the glorious religion”. This is the center of government and religion, site of the monarch’s throne room and seat of the Je Khenpo or Chief Abbot. Built in 1641 by the political and religious unifier of Bhutan, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, it was reconstructed in the 1960s in traditional Bhutanese manner, without nails or architectural plans.
National Memorial Chorten, continuously circumambulated by the faithful, murmuring mantras and spinning their prayer wheels. Construction of this landmark was the idea of Bhutan’s third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck (“the father of modern Bhutan”) who had wished to erect a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it serves both as a memorial to the Late King and as a monument to peace.
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 carvings, jewelry, and other interesting items made from local materials.
Overnight at the hotel in Thimphu.

DAY-3: THIMPHU-PUNAKHA
Driving about 2 1/2 hours, leaving Thimphu the road climbs steeply through a forest of pine and cedar, festooned with hanging lichen high up near Dochula pass (3,050 m). This pass offers panoramic views of the Himalayan mountain ranges on a clear day. You will see Rhododendrons, Magnolias, Junipers and pine forests with chirping sounds of the many rare species of birds found in Bhutan. We then drive onto Lobesa where you take a short hike to Chimi Lhakhang Temple. This temple is on a hill top and it is dedicated to the great Yogi known as Drukpa Kuenley or popularly known as “Divine madman” of the 14th century. It is believed that this temple blesses women who seek fertility. Overnight at hotel

DAY-4: PUNAKHA FESTIVALS

 Attend Punakha Festival. Venue- which is held at the courtyard of the Punakha Dzong.Overnight at hotel at Punakha.

DAY-5: PUNAKHA DOMCHOE AND SIGHTSEEING
Morning hike to Khamsum Yulay Namgyel. A temple built by the queen mother of Bhutan for peace and harmony best exemplifies the representation of Bhutans unique arts, crafts & architecture. This afternoon enjoy the festival of Punakha Domchoe. Overnight at hotel

DAY-6: WANGDI-THIMPHU
Morning visit Wangdue Dzong and drive back to Thimphu, visiting Simtokha Dzong en route. This dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture Studies
In the evening,drive to see the Takin Zoo, which houses the national animal the Takin that is only found in Bhutan. Drive further upto Sangaygang to get a bird’s eye view of the Thimphu valley in the evening. Dinner and overnight at hotel in Thimphu.

DAY-7: THIMPHU-PARO
After breakfast, drive to Paro. Visit Kichu temple,one of the 108 temples built in the 7th century by the Tibetan King Songsten Gampo. The story goes that a giant demon lay across the whole area of Tibet and the Himalayas and was preventing the spread of Buddhism. To overcome her, King Songtsen Gampo decided to build 108 temples, which would be placed on all the points of her body. Of these 108 temples, 12 were built in accordance with 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 demoness.
After lunch, 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 at leisure to visit local shops. Overnight at the hotel in Paro.

DAY-8: PARO- SHORT HIKE TO TIGER NEST MONASTERY
After breakfast,drive up to the base camp of Taktsang 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. Overnight at hotel in Paro.

DAY-9: DEPART PARO
In the morning, your Access Bhutan travel guide will seee you off at the Paro Airport for your onward journey.
End of Tour Program