Jambay Lhakhang Drup - 9 Days

  • Jambay Lhakhang Drup (festival) is one of the most popular religious festivals in the country.
  • It offers the best opportunity to witness the Bhutanese’s rich culture, history and religion that distinguish the people and country distinctly from rest of the countries.
  • Bring you a closer contact with the people and give you an insight into the Bhutanese lives, beliefs and more.
  • See Mask Dance /Traditional Dances/Folk Songs
  • See Relic Dance (Ter Cham)- sacred naked dance
  • During Tshechu the dances are performed by monks as well as by laymen.
  • The Tshechu is a religious festival and by attending it, it is believed one gains merits.
  • It is also a yearly social gathering where the people come together to rejoice dressed in all their finery.
  • Visit one of the most remote country in the world
  • Hike to Taktsang Goemba ‘Tiger’s Nest’ and thrilling cliffs
  • Very special is a visit to the Cordyceps Tasting House, where you can learn more about the so-called ‘caterpillar mushroom’’, a traditional medicine valued more than gold
  • Visit Golden Buddha Dordenma at Kuenselphodrang
  • Visit 108 miniature chortens or stupa at Dochula pass
  • See and Experience century old fortresses called Dzongs and temples
  • Visit to Local Home stay to test local cuisines  
  • Experience the traditional Hot Stone Bath

The Tshechu is a religious festival in honour of Guru Padmasambhave “One who was born from the lotus”, popularly known as “Guru Rinpochu”, the Precious Teacher”. This Indian saint contributed enormously to the diffusion of Tantric Buddhism in the Himalayan regions of Tibet, Nepal and Bhutan etc around 800 A.D. The biography of Guru Rinpoche is highlighted by the 12 episodes on the model of the Buddha Shakyamuni’s life. Each episode is commemorated around the year in the 10th day of the month by “Tsechu”. The dates and the duration of the Tsechu vary from one Dzongkhag (District) to another but they always take place on or around the 10th day of the month according to Bhutanese calendar.

Kuzuzangpola-Welcome to Bhutan!

Day 01 Arrive Paro. The flight into Bhutan takes you the great Himalayas, offering you the most scintillating scenery of the world’s highest glacial peaks. As you enter Paro valley, you will see the silvery Pa-chu (Paro river) meandering down the valley with lush green paddy fields, pristine forest, incredulous fortress-like monasteries known as Dzongs and majestically flowing rivers. On arrival at the Paro International Airport, Away Smile Travels representative will welcome you.

Paro valley extends from the confluence of the Paro Chhu and the Wang Chhu rivers at Chuzom up to Mt. Jomolhari at the Tibetan border to the North. This picturesque region is one of the widest valleys in the kingdom and is covered in fertile rice fields and has a beautiful, crystalline river meandering down the valley. Accentuating the natural beauty are the elegant, traditional-style houses that dot the valley and surrounding hills. One of the distinctive features of Paro town is that it is situated in a flat valley bottom and follows a grid-like pattern.

Visit Kyichu Lhakhang. Built in the 7th century by the famous Buddhist Tibetan King Songtsen Gampo, Kyichu Lhakhang is one of the oldest temples in Bhutan. As the name suggests, the temple is a reservoir of peace, where you will really feel at peace. 

Visit Ta-Dzong. The Ta-Dzong was originally the watchtower for the Paro Dzong and stands imposingly on a hillock overlooking the Paro valley. In 1968, it was inaugurated as the National Museum, and now holds a fascinating collection of arts, relics, religious thangka paintings, Bhutan’s exquisite postage stamps, coins, handicrafts, and a small natural history collection.  A short visit here will give you an idea of the cultural and ecological richness of Bhutan. Overnight Hotel in Paro.

Day 02 Paro-Bumthang (Fly to Bumthang)

After breakfast transfer to Paro Airport for Bumthang. The flight from Paro-Bumthang is about 30 minutes. (Please contact us for the flight schedule)

Bumthang region span from 2,600-4,500 m is the religious heartland of the nation and home to some of its oldest Buddhist temples and monasteries. Tales of Guru Padmasambhava and the tertons (“religious treasure-discoverers”) still linger in this sacred region.

Bumthang Dzongkhag consists of four main valleys, Ura, Chumey, Tang and Choekhor. Choekhor is the largest of the four and is widely considered as ‘Bumthang Valley’. The valleys are broad and gentle carved by the ancient glaciers. This dzongkhag is one of the most richly endowed districts in terms of historical and spiritual legacy. Some of Bhutan’s oldest and most venerated temples are found in Bumthang, including Jambey Lhakhang. There are numerous other temples and shrines worth visiting in Bumthang and many of them are linked to Guru Rinpoche’s visit in 746 A.D.  The fertile valleys of Bumthang are covered in fields of buckwheat and potatoes. Apple orchards and dairy farms are also common sights here. This serene region is one of the most peaceful places in the kingdom. 

Visit Tamshing Lhakhang. Located across the river from Kurje Lhakhang, this temple was founded in 1501 by Terton Pema Lingpa, a re-incarnation of Guru Padmasambhava.  There are very old religious paintings around the inner walls of the temple, which was restored at the end of the 19th century.

Visit Kenchok Sum Lhakhang. Kenchok Sum Lhakhang dates back to the 8th century. The inscription on the large bell testifies to it being cast for the Tibetan Royal Family.  You will find statues of the past, present and future Buddhas. Overnight Hotel in Bumthang.

Day 03 Bumthang sightseeing and Attend Jambay Lakhang Drup.

Morning visit Kurjey Lhakhang. Located further along the valley, Kurje Lhakhang is comprised of three temples.  The one on the right was built in 1652 against the rock face where Guru Padmasambhava meditated in the 8th century.  The middle temple is built on the site of a cave containing a rock with the imprint of the Guru’s body and is therefore considered to be the holiest.  The temple on the left was built in the 1990s by Her Majesty Ashi Kesang Wangmo Wangchuck, Royal Grandmother. These three temples are surrounded by a 108-chorten wall.

Visit Local Beer (Red panda) Factory and Explore Bumthang Town.

Jambay Lhakhang Drup starts from the evening around 6 pm)

In the evening drive to Jambay Lhakhang and attend the Jambay Lhakhang Drup. Jambay Lhakhang is the oldest Lhakhang in the kingdom. It was founded by King Songtsen Gempo of Tibet in the 7th Century AD.  The main relics include the future Buddha, Jowo Jampa (Maitreya), from which the name of the temple is derived.

The Jambay Lhakhang Drup is one of the most interesting events held there. During this festival, the chams (dances) include Terchham (Naked Dance), which was formerly initiated by Terton Dorje Lingpa.

Tentative Programs. Jintse (Inaugural Ritual ceremony): This is a special ritual ceremony performed by a Lama, before the start of the festival inside the temple. Dance of the Black Hat ( Zhana Phur Chham),Dance of the Four Gings(Ging Zhe), Dance of Offering (Tshogcham), Fire Dance (Mecham), Dance of the Lords of the Cremation grounds,Dance fo the Lords of the Cremation grounds (Durdag Cham),Relic Dance (Ter Cham)- At almost mightnight, a large gathering of devotees waits in the anticipation huddle near the lhakhang. Exactly at midnight, a group of men rush out from the door, swirling and twirling in the air, to the rhythmic accompaniment of traditional mask dance drums and cymbles. They are known as the sacred naked dancer or Ter Cham of Jambay Lhakhang.  It is one of the festival’s highlights and a popular item among the spectators. Overnight Hotel in Bumthang.

Day 04 Bumthang Jambay Lakhang Drup. 

After breakfast drive to Jambay Lakhang and attend the festival. 

Tentative Programs Atsara cham (dance of clowns) ,Shinje Yab Yum (dance of the Lord of Death and his consort),Bardo Cham (Dance of the intermediate),Dance of the three kinds of Kings :Juging (Drum Dance)Driging (Drum dance) and ,Ngaging (Drum Dance) Durdag (Dance of the Cremation Grounds),Pacham (Dance of the Heroes), Acho Phento Dance (The dance of the hunter and the deer) Overnight Hotel in Bumthang.

Day 05 Bumthang-Gangtey/Phobjakha. (Drive 5 hours)

After breakfast drive to Gangtey/Phobjakha. On the way at Chummy visit Yathra Weaving Center. Yathras are brightly colored wool fabrics, a specialty of the region. At the Center, you can watch women weaving these brightly colored fabrics.

Enroute at Trongsa visit the Ta Dzong/Royal Heritage Museum. This watchtower, which once guarded Trongsa Dzong from internal rebellion, stands on a promontory above the town. It was built by Chogyal Minjur Tempa, the 1st Governor of Trongsa in 1652. It has four observation points representing a tiger, lion, garuda, and dragon. A visit to this former watchtower provides visitors with an insight into the significance of Trongsa in Bhutan’s history. As of date, the Ta Dzong of Trongsa is the most fascinating museum in the kingdom.

The valley of Gangtey is one of the most beautiful spots in Bhutan. The surprise of finding such a wide, flat valley without any trees after the hard climb through dense forests is augmented by an impression of vast space, and extremely rare experience in Bhutan where most of the valleys are tightly enclosed.

Later in the evening savor specially organized cooking demonstration with local family where you will not only savor the local delicacy but also experience & exchange views on the Bhutan’s unique cultural and traditional values. You will be helping to cook Ema Detsi Chilli Cheese). This is organized at private family followed by dinner at local home. Overnight Hotel/Home Stay in Gangtey/Phobjikha.

Day 06 Gangtey Sightseeing – Punakha (Drive 2 hours)

After breakfast visit the Black Necked Crane Center. The Center has informative displays about the cranes and the valley environment. You can use the Center’s powerful spotting scopes.

Gangtey Nature trail. This pleasurable hike from the small hilltop overlooking the Phobjikha valley to the community school gives you a nice feel of the valley. It is a gentle hike through flower meadows, beautiful forests and into the open valley.

Drive to Punakha. Punakha Dzongkhag has been inextricably linked with momentous occasions in Bhutanese history. It served as the ancient capital of the country. Punakha Dzong is not only the second oldest and second largest dzong but it also has one of the most majestic structures in the country.

Visit Chhimi Lhakhang. This fertility temple is dedicated to the famous teacher, Drukpa Kinley (also known as the ‘Divine Madman’) with whom the phallic symbol is associated. The Divine Madman sits there though a statue this time. Do not miss the master’s deeds painted on the walls.  Couples usually visit this temple to be blessed with children. Parents also take their babies here to get them named. Babies named here usually have ‘Kinley’ as their first name. Overnight Hotel in Punakha.

Day 07 Punakha Sightseeing-Thimphu (Drive 3 hours)

After breakfast visit Punakha Dzong. Placed strategically at the junction of the Pho Chu and Mo Chu rivers, the dzong was built in 1637 by Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to serve as the religious and administrative seat of the region. It was here that the dual system of government was introduced in the 17th century and in 1907, the first King Gongsr Ugyen Wangchuck was enthroned. Damaged over the centuries by four catastrophic fires and an earthquake, the dzong has been fully restored in the recent years by the 4th King Jigme Singye Wangchuck.  At the Dzong, enrich your trip with the opportunity to see the highest standards in woodwork. Do not miss the massive Kuenray, the coronation hall of all Bhutanese kings, the Dzongchung at the entrance to the dzong, and the cantilever bridge over the Mo Chu that has been recently renovated.

Drive to Thimphu. En-route stop at the Dochula pass. Dochu La is a beautiful mountain pass (alt 3,140 m) fluttering prayer flags and a spectacular set of 108 miniature chortens (stupas) called the Druk Wangyel Chortens. On a clear day, you will get awe-inspiring glimpses of the towering Himalayan peaks around.

Thimphu City Tour. Visit Buddha Point (Giant Golden Buddha). Buddha Point has the largest statue of Buddha in the whole kingdom. You can get a very good view of Thimphu valley from here.

Visit National Memorial Chorten. The National Memorial Chorten was built in 1974 in memory of the late Third Druk Gyalpo (King) of Bhutan. At the chorten, you will find an extraordinary depiction of Buddhist teachings in the form of paintings and sculptures. 

Visit Authentic Bhutanese Craft Bazzar/shop. A one stop shop place to witness Bhutanese rich Culture and buy Bhutan made art and craft products. The shop in its 80 small stall covers all aspect of traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. The shops linked with the rural artisans aims to promote Bhutan’s craft industry by creating a viable market, which turn’s acts to preserve and promote Bhutan’s unique culture and bring about equitable socio-economic development in the country.

Visit Cordyceps Tasting House.  Unique to the world, the Cordyceps Tasting Room offer a cosy tearoom to taste a range of Cordyceps-infused soups and drinks.  Our hostess will also perform a Cordyceps Tea Ceremony. You can learn more about the so-called ‘caterpillar mushroom’’, a traditional medicine valued more than gold.

Visit Tashichhodzong. Tashichhodzong means ‘the fortress of the glorious religion.’ It is a majestic fortress in all its grandeur and serves as the seat of Bhutan’s government. The Dzong houses the secretariat, the throne room, the offices of His Majesty the King and the ministries of home affairs and finance. The fortress was initially erected in 1641 and later rebuilt in the 1960s by the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. 

Explore Thimphu Town. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.

Day 08 Thimphu – Paro (Drive 1 hour) 

After breakfast drive to Paro, Ramthangka and hike to Tiger Nest.  Taktshang Goemba. Taktshang meaning the ‘Tiger’s Nest’ is one of Bhutan’s most venerated pilgrimage sites and a very popular site for all tourists visiting Bhutan. According to legend, Guru Rinpoche miraculously flew here on the back of a tigress, meditated in a cave here for three months and converted the whole of Paro valley to Buddhism. Resting at an altitude of 900 meters above the valley, Taktshang is an architectural wonder and the spectacular four-hour walk will be your most overwhelming experience ever. (Round trip hike 5 hours)

After the hike you can experience the traditional Hot Stone Bath.  Stones are handpicked from the river which is heated up in the open fire until they turn blood red. The traditional wooden tub is filled with cold water and then the red-hot stones are dipped in until the water warms up. It is a very natural experience that includes the elements of water, fire and earth. (Local Home Stay)

Traditional hot stone bath is a complimentary service arranged by Away Smile Travels. Overnight Hotel in Paro.

Day 09 Departure: After breakfast drive to the Paro International Airport where our representatives will bid you goodbye!

Thank you (Kardrienchhey) for visiting Bhutan with Away Smile Travels “Smiles for Miles “

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