Bhutan Overlanding
 
Himalayan Kingdom Spiritual Adventure - 7 Days

Season: All year
Number of Days: 7 Days
Grade: Soft
Destinations: Paro, Thimpu, Punakha and Wangdue

Day 1: Arrival at Paro International Airport:
Fly on Druk Air to Paro. Druk Air is a Bhutan national flag bearer, which has an exclusive right to fly to Bhutan from 6 other sectors. Limited flights allow only restricted number of flyers into this beautiful Himalayan Kingdom, thereby preserving and conserving valuable culture and environment that has remained intact for centuries. On clear days, during this flight, you will experience breathtaking views of the Himalayan Mountains including Mt. Everest, Jichu Drak and Jumolhari in Bhutan. You will land in the beautiful valley of Paro, located at an elevation of 7,400 ft. At Paro International Airport you will be received by representative of Druk Yul Expeditions. White Khaddar or scarf with Buddhist blessings will be presented to you to be carried along your journey. Take a short drive to your hotel and check-in for lunch. After lunch visit the National Museum (Ta-Dzong), earlier a watchtower for the Rinpung Paro Dzong. It was converted into the National Museum in 1968 and stands on a strategic site on the top of hill overlooking the Paro valley. On the way back visit the Paro Rinpung Dzong. A Dzong in Bhutan is a fortress. Today there are about 20 Dzongs around the country, most built during early part of 17th century. Dzongs are the seat of the district administration as well as the home for the monastic school. This huge fortresses are equally shared, keeping in tradition from past. It was from these fortresses that the Bhutanese repelled many Tibetan and Mongol invasions. Walk down further through walled flat stone pavements, and in about 10 minutes, you will pass through beautiful ancient wooden bridge with shingle roofing, with two guardhouses on each entrance. In the evening, we will walk through the small and picturesque Paro town. Enjoy evening meal at a cozy restaurant. Our representative will conduct detailed briefing about the upcoming tour program.

Day 2: Paro – Punakha:
Today after early breakfast drive to Punakha via Thimphu across Dochu La pass (3,088m/10,130ft), from which there is a breathtaking view of the high peaks on a clear day. Until 1955 Punakha served as the capital of Bhutan and it is still the winter seat of the Je Khenpo (chief Abbot). Visit Punakha Dzong build in the 17th century at the junction of Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers. Damaged by fires, floods and earthquake over the centuries, the Dzong has recently been fully restored to its original glory. Visit a village house in Metsina and hike up to 15th century temple where you can seek blessing from lord of fertility. This temple was initiated by the Divine Madman or Erotic Lama. This lama framed Bhutanese version of erotic stories or Kamasutra in 15th Century. Here, a replica of Poo or religious penis will touch your forehead to bless you with fertility. Overnight at the beautiful hotel in Punakha

Day 3: Punakha – Thimpu via Wangdue:
After breakfast we take a short stop at Lobesa and drive further up to visit the gigantic Wangdue Phodrang Dzong, a 17th Century monument overlooking the typical village of Rinchengang. After the exploration one can walk around the Wangdue Phodrang Town located at an altitude of 1350m, the district is known for its fine bamboo work and slate carving. Check in for lunch at one of the hotel. After lunch, the drive takes us back over Dochu La, enroute visit the Simtokha Dzong, the oldest in Bhutan, now a traditional school specializing in Dzongkha and religious studies. After lunch at Thimpu, head towards Paro. Overnight at the hotel

Day 4: Thimpu (Excursion):
Today’s sightseeing in Thimpu valley includes visits to: National Memorial Chorten: The building of this landmark was envisaged by the third king, His Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, as a monument to world peace and prosperity. Completed in 1974 after his untimely death, it is a both a memorial to the late king (‘the father of modern Bhutan’), and a monument to world peace. The painting and statues inside the monument provide a deep insight into Buddhist philosophy; National Library: This holds a vast collection of Buddhist texts and manuscripts, some dating back several hundred years, as well as modern academic books mainly on Himalayan culture and religion. Institute for Zorig Chusum (commonly known as the Painting School): where student undertake a six-year course on the 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. National Institute of Traditional Medicine: where the medicinal herbs, mineral, and animals organs available in abundant in the kingdom are compounded and dispensed by traditional pharmacist and medical practitioners. This indigenous healing method is popular in entire Bhutan. Here you will have exclusive privilege of talking to a renowned traditional healer. Folk Heritage and National Textile Museums: These museums, both of which opened in 2001, provide fascinating insight into Bhutanese material culture and way of life. Handicrafts Emporium: This government-run enterprise displays a wide range of beautifully hand-woven textiles and craft products. It also carries a small collection of books on Bhutan, Buddhism and Himalayan culture.

Day 5: Thimpu – Paro:
Today after breakfast drive down to Paro, en route visit Simtokha Dzong, built in 1627 and the oldest fortress of the kingdom. It now houses the institute for language and cultural studies. We will stop to visit the Tachogang Monastery (15th century), and a village farm house in Shaba, just before reaching Paro. Overnight at the hotel in Paro

Day 6: Taktsang Hike:
Drive to Ramthongkha and then hike to viewpoint of Taktsang, the Tiger's Nest (one and a half hours). This magical monastery clings to a vertical granite cliff 3,000 ft above the valley floor. The trail is broad and the walk uphill takes you a little more than a 1000ft above the Paro valley. The view of Taktsang monastery built on the cliff is a spectacular sight. It is a great pilgrim site for the Buddhists and also it is one of the most sacred sites in the Himalayan world. Beyond the viewpoint, the path is narrow and steep as it climbs to a point above the temple, from where walkers descend to the building itself. The main deity of Taktsang is Dorje Drolo, the wrathful form of Guru Rinpoche, the precious Teacher, also known as Padmasambhava. The great tantric mystic is said to have flown here on the back of a tiger, a manifestation of his consort, Yeshi Tsogyal, when he brought the teachings of the Buddhist Dharma to Bhutan in the 8th century. The image of Dorje Drolo inside the temple is shown standing on a tiger. There are 13 sacred sites at Taktsang, and several meditation caves in the cliffs above. Here you can meditate a while before beginning the descent. Nearby there is a teahouse, where you can stop for lunch or a snack. In the evening, visit a farmhouse in Paro. Overnight at hotel in Paro

Day 7: Departure:
Our escort will complete the departure formalities well in advance, and if need be assist you with it. Drive down to airport and check in at least 2 hours prior to flight departure schedule.
Trip ends

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