enchanting bhutan

Punakha is located in the western part of Bhutan and it is the winter home of Chief Abbot of Bhutan, the Je Khenpo. Punakha played great importance in the history of Bhutan during the time of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in 17th century. Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal is known as the unifier of Bhutan as a nation state and he was the one who gave Bhutan and its people the cultural identity that identified Bhutan from the rest of the world.
In 17th century Bhutan was invaded several times by the Tibetan force to seize a very precious relic, the Ranjung Kharsapani during which Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal defeated the Tibetan army and to commemorate the victory he introduced the Punakha Drubchen. Since then Punakha Drubchen also known as Puna Drubchen became the annual festival of Punakha district. In addition to Punakha Drubchen in 2005 another festival known as Punakha Tshechu was introduced by the 70th Je Khenpo Trulku Jigme Choedra and the then Home Minister His Excellency Lyonpo Jigme Yoedzer Thinley on the request made by Punakha District Administration and people for upholding the Buddhist teachings and keeping alive the noble deeds of Zhabdrung Rimpochhe.
Punakha Drubchen is a unique festival due to a dramatic recreation of the scene from the 17th century battle with Tibetan army. The pazaps or local militia men, dressed in battle gear showcase a battle scene of this distant past recalling the days when in the absence of a standing army, men from the eight Tshogchens or great village blocks of Thimpu came forward and managed to expel the Tibetan forces out of the country ushering in a new-found internal peace and stability.
Punakha Drubchen and Tshechu not only play an important role in preserving Bhutans rich cultural and tradition but it also is also an event where devout Buddhists has a place and time for prayer and pilgrimage. These festivals also reflect the richness of everything that is Bhutanese and are very special in the eyes and hearts of tourists who visit Bhutan.

Main Highlights of Punakha Domchoe
Punakha festival consists of typical masked dances which are very colourful and interesting, the events and enactments are different on each day. Punakha Dromchoe is a five day long festival dedicated to the goddess Mahakala. The religious aspects are performed in the same manner as in early times. On the last day, a play of warriors going off to war is enacted.

Day 1 ( Friday, 20th February; 2015):Paro; 2280 m.
Day 2 ( Saturday,21st February;2015): Paro
Day 3 ( Sunday, 22nd February;2015) : Thimphu ( 2320 M)
Day 4 ( Monday, 23rd February;2015); Thimphu
Day 5 ( Tuesday, 24th February;2015) Thimphu
Day 6 ( Wednesday, 25th February;2015) Thimphu to Punakha ( 1250m)
Day 7 ( Thursday, 26th February;2015) attend Domchen and sightseeing.
Day 8 ( Friday, 27th February;2015) attend Domchen and sightseeing.
Day 9 ( Saturday, 28th February;2015) attend 1st day Tshechu and sightseeing.
Day 10 ( Sunday, 1st March;2015) Visit Talo Gompa and attend 2nd day Tshe-chu.
Day 11 ( Monday, 2nd March;2015) Drive to Phobjikha (2900 m)
Day 12 ( Tuesday, 3rd March;2015);Sightseeing in Phobjikha and drive to Trongsa ( 2180 m)
Day 13 ( Wednesday, 4th March;2015) Sightseeing in Trongsa and drive to Bumthang ( 2580 m )
Day 14 ( Thursday, 5th March;2015); Bumthang
Day 15 ( Friday, 6th March ;2015); Bumthang
Day 16 ( Saturday, 7th March;2015);Bumthang to Mongar (1800 m)
Day 17( Sunday, 8th March;2015) Mongar to Tashigang (2100 m),
Day 18( Monday, 9th March;2015)Tashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar : End vis-its Tashigang. Day 19( Tuesday, 10th March;2015)Samdrup Jongkhar Guwahati
Day 1 ( Friday, 20th February; 2015):Paro; 2280 m.
We will arrive at Paro via Druk Air / Bhutan Airlines.
We will receive you in the airport by offering Trashi Khadhar and drive you to the hotel for the refreshment and for the night.

Day 2 ( Saturday,21st February;2015): Paro
After early Breakfast, we will drive 15 Km towards the north to reach the base of Taktsang Monastry. We will have to hike 2-3 hours to reach the clinging Monas-tery in the cliff. This Monastery is the Jewel of Bhutan and one must visit this. This is an important place of pilgrimage. According to legend Padmasambhava arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated there. After going down we will visit the ruins of Drugyel Dzong, Kitchu Lhakhang, Paro Rimpung Dzong and The museum.
We will also look around the town and visit the temples in the town. You will en-joy the beauty of the green park village.

Day 3 ( Sunday, 22nd February;2015) : Thimphu ( 2320 M)
After breakfast we will drive to the south of Paro. When we reach Bonday we will visit Tshenden Incense factory, Drak Karpo and as we move further we will cross the Paro river over an iron chain bridge to enter Tamchu Lhakhang. You will come to know about Thangtong Gyalpo when you enter the Lhakhang. As we drive further we will come to the confluence of Paro river and Thimphu river at Chhu zomsa which means meeting of the rivers. It is also the junction of the four important Dzongkhags i.e Phuntsholing, Haa, Thimphu and Paro. We will find the three chorten of Bhutan, Nepal and Tibetan to wave away the evil spells of that area. We will be welcomed by the members of Phuntsho Pelri Hotel or similar.

Day 4 ( Monday, 23rd February;2015); Thimphu

After breakfast we will visit Memorial chorten which was built in the memory of 3rd King, Kuensel Phodrang where tallest sitting Buddha of the world is. We will drive to visit Changangkha Lhakhang, Motithang Takin Preservation area and hike to Wangdue tse Monastry where we will know the secret of our 4th Kings palace and view Dodedra Monastery from far. Then we will visit Zulukha Nunnery Center where nuns reside to learn Dharme, Dechen Phodrang Monas-try where more then 300 small monks reside to learn buddhism, Trashi Chhodzong which is the summer residence of the central Monastic body and half the fortress was used as the office of the golden throne. We will also visit cen-tenary market, Zangdopelri and witness how the National Game (Archery ) is played in the national stadium. The night will be in a hotel in Thimphu.

Day 5 ( Tuesday, 24th February;2015) Thimphu
A day starts with a drive to Dodena (19 Km from Thimphu) and climb a hill to visit Chhari Monastry. It has all meditators and we are not suppose to enter the boundary but we can enter the monastery and the lhakhangs and get blessings. After coming back we will visit, Indigenous hospital where we get the herbal medicine, traditional Painting School, Folk Heritage museum,Textile museum and manage time to do some shopping in the town.

Day 6 ( Wednesday, 25th February;2015) Thimphu to Punakha ( 1250m)
A day starts with a drive to the south of Thimphu where we will be visiting Simtokha Dzong which is the first Dzong built by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyel in the 16th century. Then we will drive via Hongtsho to reach Dochula Pass ( 3140 m ). We will make circumambulation to108 chorten and visit Druk Wangyel Lhakhang. Your Guide will narrate an history of this lhakhang and chortens. We will drive via narrow Thinleygang valley, Mitsena valley and Lobesa valley. We will stop at Lobesa to visit Chhimi Lhakhang on a hill lock in the centre of the valley. The Lhakhang has a memories of a Devine mad man Lama Drukpa Kuenley which your guide will narrate to you. You will be blessed with children if you pray for it. Then we will continue our drive to reach Puna-kha where we will be welcomed in a hotel in Punakha.

Day 7 ( Thursday, 26th February;2015) attend Domchen and sightseeing.

After breakfast we will drive towards Punakha Dzong. We will walk over a tradi-tional bhutanese bridge to enter the Dzong. It is the winter residence of the mo-nastic body and at present the monks are here performing the mask dance inside the lhakhang and it has been a capital of Bhutan till 1964. The main relic of Bhutan is stored in this Dzong and you will find many buddhist Lhakhangs in-side the Dzong. The Dzong lies in-between the two big rivers ( Pochu river and Mochu river ). We will enjoy the art and the architecture of the Bhutanese. We will witness and dramatisation of the battle against the Tibetans and enjoy the scene performed by the lay men. Our guide will narrate a history of this perfor-mance.
After Lunch we will drive along side the Mochu river to visit Do jaga lam Lhakhang and hike to visit Khamsum Yuellay Namgyel Lhakhang which was built dedicated to our 5th King to serve the nation and protect the country. Then we will visit the town and the lhakhang in the town.

Day 8 ( Friday, 27th February;2015) attend Domchen and sightseeing.

After breakfast we will drive towards Punakha Dzong. This is the great day for the performers and the monks too. This is the time where real drama took place during 1616. The Head of the monastic body (Je-Khenpo ), monks, lay mens and the public mark this occasion with the sera performance towards the Mochu river where many things takes place. Your guide will narrate a story of this event.

After Lunch we will visit KhuruThang Gomba built by the Royal grandmother in 2005 a the heart of the town. We will explore in the town after that and call it a day.


Day 9 ( Saturday, 28th February;2015) attend 1st day Tshechu and sightseeing.
As usual we will cross the traditional bridge to enter the Dzong where we will be witnessing the 1st day festival. The mask dance were performed by the monk which is very blessing and in the afternoon side the dramatisation of life and death is performed by the lay men.

Day 10 ( Sunday, 1st March;2015) Visit Talo Gompa and attend 2nd day Tshe-chu.
After early breakfast we will drive towards Wolakha where we will visit a Nun-nery Center. Then we drive uphills around 15 Km where we will reach Talo Gomba where we will visit a monastery and explore on the village of Norbu Gang which is the home of the Queen Mothers of Bhutan ( 4 Kings wife ).

Then we will drive back towards the Punakha Dzong to witness the dramatisa-tion of the lord of the Death and lives.

Day 11 ( Monday, 2nd March;2015) Drive to Phobjikha (2900 m)
After breakfast we will drive towards Wangdue along the river bank of Puna Tsang Chu to reach the Bajo Thang Town. Then we will visit the ruins of Wangdue Phodrang Dzong and pass by the Teki Zampa and the Chhuzomsa to reach Phobjikha valley. We will be welcomed by the members of a hotel in Phobjikha.

Day 12 ( Tuesday, 3rd March;2015);Sightseeing in Phobjikha and drive to Trongsa ( 2180 m)

A day starts with visit in the Gangtay Gompa Lhakhang. Then we will visit Wangmo Hand woven carpet factory, black backed crane information centre and we will enjoy the beauty of the village.We will drive to Trongsa via chele la pass ( 3420 m ). We can view Jhomolhari Mountain, Jichu Drakey and Kang-bum mountains. We will drive via Chendeji Chortens to reach Trongsa. We will be welcomed by the members of Tashi Ninjay Hotel or similar.

Day 13 ( Wednesday, 4th March;2015) Sightseeing in Trongsa and drive to Bumthang ( 2580 m ).
Our day starts with the visit to the Trongsa Dzong, The tower of Trongsa Muse-um, Karma Drubdey Nunnery, Thruepang Palace, Kuenga Rabten Palace. Then we will drive to Bumthang via Yotongla Pass and Chhumey village. We will be welcomed by the members of River Lodge.

Day 14 ( Thursday, 5th March;2015); Bumthang
We will have a pilgrimage Tour here. We will drive to visit Jakar Dzong, Sey (gold) Lhakhang, Jambay Lhakhang, Kurjey Lhakhang, Tamshing Monas-try,,Thangbi Lhakhang and some historical places where we will find the body prints of Guru Rimpoche and other great saints who were in these places to sub-due the demons and bring religion to these places.


Day 15 ( Friday, 6th March ;2015); Bumthang
Drive to Tang village where we will see the Tang Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake). Then we will drive to village which is the remotest one. We will hike 17 km and 45 minutes uphill to reach Ugyen Choling Palace built by once Trongsa Penlop deb Tsokey Dorji.The place has turned to a Museum. it provide a place for reli-gious studies, research and solitude.Then we will hike back to Tang Village where we will be having the night in a local house.

Day 16 ( Saturday, 7th March;2015);Bumthang to Mongar (1800 m)
Road (198 kms) to Mongar. We leave the valleys of Bumthang and cross the Thumsing La (3900 m), col highest on our way through Bhutan road. Then we plunge again in a climate zone subtropical, with a mixed forest of hardwoods and conifers. Visit Mongar Dzong.

Day 17( Sunday, 8th March;2015) Mongar to Tashigang (2100 m),

Morning drive (91 kms) ever eastward to join Tashigang. We cross the road in the Kori (2450 m) and go through the villages of Yadi and Dramist. We still go down a little altitude. We make visits to villages and weaving centers in the region of Rangjung, with a little hiking. District Tashigang is the most popu-lous of all Bhutan. Visit Tashigang dzong.
Overnight at hotel Tashigang.

Day 18( Monday, 9th March;2015)Tashigang to Samdrup Jongkhar : End vis-its Tashigang. It is to the south we then ride today (180 kms), the first step in our exit from Bhutan to Assam. Road to Samdrup Jongkhar still in Bhutan, but close to the border with India, through a thick jungle. Way visit a weaving center in Khaling. Overnight in a hotel in Samdrup Jongkhar.

Day 19( Tuesday, 10th March;2015)Samdrup Jongkhar Guwahati flight to Delhi Exit formalities of Bhutan, then drive to the city of Guwahati, the capital of Assam, formerly called Pragjyotishpura (eastern city of light) on the south bank of the Brahmaputra. Some visits to Guwahati if time permits, including Kamakshya temple built on a hill, which is a hotbed of Tantric Hinduism. Goats are regularly offered in sacrifice. Flight to Delhi in the early afternoon and arrive in Delhi in the late afternoon. Then flights on Emirates to return to Nice via Dubai. Off from Delhi at 21 h 50 and arrived in Dubai at 23 h 50.
Punakha is located in the western part between Pho Chu river and Mochu Chu river. It is the capital of Bhutan over 300 years and still it serves as winter resi-dence of the central monastic body.
Punakha Domchen is a unique festival as it is the dramatic recreation of the sce-ne from the 17th century battle with Tibetan army.The PAZAPS known as the local militia men, dressed in traditional battle gear and reenact the ancient battle scene. The Domchen is followed by the 3 day Tshechu. It is mainly to preserve Buddhist teachings and keep alive the nobel deeds of Zhabdrung Rimpoche. The domchen is held annually in the 1st month of the bhutanese calendar.
SlNo.No of personCost of the TourNo. of NightsOffers
12 Person$ 9360/- 18 nights and 19 days NIl
24 Person$ 18200 /-18 nights and 19 days Nil
35 Person$22500 /- 18 nights and 19 days Visa Free
410 Person$45000/-18 nights and 19 days Visa Free / Tour leader free trip in Bhutan
515 Person$67500/-18 nights and 19 days Visa Free / Tour
leader free trip in Bhutan
Free Airfare from Delhi to Paro.

INCLUSION:
Applicable Airport Taxes.
Accommodation with all meals in 3 star hotels and on trek.
Transportation during the Tour as well as on trek.
Professional guide, driver chauffeur, cooks, waiters.
Mineral water throughout the Trip.
Royalty and taxes
EXCLUSIONS:
Travel Insurance charges and other emergencies fee.
Cost of foreign exchange for personal expenses;
Expenses of personal nature, personal trekking aids, mini bar in the room,
Laundry, telephone bills, tips, gratuities etc.
First Aids Kids (personal)
Surcharges applicable during Conventions, Special Events and Trade fairs.

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