Punakha Tsechu

Punakha Tsechu

Day 1: Arrive at Paro (2280m)

Day 2: Excursion to Taktsang

Day 3.  Paro-Punakha

Day 4: Punakha Festival

Day 5. Punakha-Thimphu

Day 1: Arrive at Paro (2280m)

Arrive at Paro international Airport. During the journey to Paro, one will experience a breath taking view of Mount Everest, Kanchenjunga and other famous Himalayan peaks, including the sacred Jomolhari and Mount Jichu Drake in Bhutan and particularly exciting is the section through the Bhutanese foothills and the thrilling landing. On arrival at Paro International Airport, you will be received by representatives of our tour guide, who will escort you for sightseeing, visiting the National museum of Bhutan, visit Paro Rimpong dzong and lunch at Paro Town. After lunch visit Kyichu temple, which was built by King Songtsen Gyempo of Tibet in 659 AD.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 2: Excursion to Taktsang

After early breakfast drive up to the Ramthangka (base camp) of Taktsang and then hike to Taktsang, the Tiger’s nest. The five-hour round trip follows an ancient but oft-trodden footpath flanked by water-driven prayer wheels.

The temple, precariously perched on a hair-raising ravine about 1,000 metres above the valley floor, is considered sacrosanct as it was in a cave within this temple that the eight century tantric saint, Padmasambhava, subdued the evils who obstructed the teachings of the Buddha. The saint is believed to have come to Taktshang in a fiery wrathful form riding a tigress. Over the years, many Buddhist saints have meditated in and around the temple and discovered numerous hidden treasure teachings.

Visit the ruins of Drugyel Dzong enroute. The fortress known as the “Castle of the Victorious Drukpa”, is a symbol of Bhutan’s victory over the Tibetan invasions in the 17th and 18th centuries. We can also get a view of the sacred mountain, Jumolhari, along the way. On the way back to our hotel, we will visit the 7th century Kyichu Temple, believed to have been built on a place that resembled a knee of a giant ogress.

Day 3.  Paro-Punakha: After breakfast, drive to Punakha – approximately 4-hour drive through picturesque valleys and mountain slopes dotted with typical Bhutanese villages. the famous Dochula pass (3,100m) where on a clear day we can see the entire eastern Himalayan range, teeming with 6,000m to 7,554m snow-capped mountains. The pass also known for its abundant species of extremely beautiful flowers has 108 Buddhist stupas exquisitely built around a mound, adding to the natural splendor of the place.

From the pass we descend to the sub-tropical valley of Punakha. Punakha served as the ancient capital of capital and still possesses the country’s main treasures in the form of Buddhist relics. Resembling a gigantic ship on an ocean floor from afar, and girdled by two (Male and Female) rivers, the castle-fortress also represents the best specimen of Bhutanese architecture.

En-route visit the Temple of Fertility – Chimi Lhakhang. This temple, built in the 15th century to honour the “Divine Madman”, a saint iconoclast who is also associated with phallus worship, attracts barren couples from all over to receive fertility blessings from an anointed phallus.

Halt at hotel.

Day 4: Punakha Festival

One of the Kingdom’s most popular Tsechus and held in the Majestic Punakha Dzong (Fortress), the highlight of this festival is the Drubchen, which precedes the Tsechu.

Punakha Drubchen tells the story of 17th century Bhutan, when the Bhutanese were under siege by Tibetan forces. Devoid of a standing army of its own, the duty to hold the Fort fell on the local militiamen called “Pazaps”, from the eight great villages (Tshogchens) of Thimphu. The invaders were routed.

To celebrate the victory, Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal introduced the Punakha Drubchen. The 17th century scene is re-enacted during the Drubchen with local men dressed as “Pazaps”.

The Tsechu follows the Drubchen.

Overnight at hotel.

Day 5. Punakha-Thimphu

After breakfast drive to Thimphu and witness the capital city’s historical and significant places.

+ Places to visit in Thimphu

– Buddha Point/ Kuensel Phodang:  It is the largest Buddha statue in the country, from there you can get a good view of the Thimphu valley.

– Traditional Medicine Institute : In Bhutan, equal emphasis is given to both allopathic and traditional medicines. The rich herbal medicines made up from medicinal plants are prepared and dispensed here.

– National Institute for Zorig Chusum: (the school of Arts and crafts) It is an institute where student undertake a six year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.

– Folk Heritage Museum: the house replicates a traditional farmhouse and is furnished as it would have been about a century ago.

– Weaving center, Changzamtog

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