- Talo Tshechu (festival) is one of the most popular festivals in Punakha.
- 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
- 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
- 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.
Drive to Thimphu. The drive from Paro to Thimphu takes about one hour.
Thimphu situated at an altitude of 2200 M. The Kingdom’s capital city is home to approximately 130,000 inhabitants including the Royal family. Thimphu is the most modern city in Bhutan. This bustling little city is the main center of commerce, religion and government in the country. The juxtaposition of ancient tradition and modernity make Thimphu the ideal location for visitors to break away from their tour itinerary to immerse themselves in the contemporary Bhutanese lifestyle.
Arrival to Thimphu visit Golden Buddha at Point. 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 Weaving Center. You can watch weavers at work at the private weaving centre at Changzamtog. The centre produces hand woven textiles and has a selection of cloth and readymade Bhutanese garments for sale
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 n turns 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 cozy room to taste a range of Cordyceps-infused tea. Our hostess will also perform a Cordyceps Tea Ceremoney. Cordyceps Sinensis is a unique and exotic mushroom that grows in the mountains of Bhutan at an elevation between 14,500 feet to 17,000 feet below the snow line.
Visit small sanctuary (Takin Zoo) dedicated to the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan.
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. The fortress was initially erected in 1641 and later rebuilt in the 1960s by the third king, Jigme Dorji Wangchuck. Overnight Hotel in Thimphu.
Day 02 Thimphu-Punakha (Drive 3 hours)
After breakfast visit Folk Heritage Museum. Built in 2001, the Folk Heritage Museum gives a glimpse of how life was lived in a Bhutanese village a hundred years ago.
Visit local post office. The post office has a large collection of stamps. You can make a personalized postage stamp for you that can be used to mail a letter or postcard for a nominal fee.
Visit Traditional Paper Factory. At the paper factory, you can watch the workers make traditional paper from the daphne plant. Traditional Bhutanese paper (called ‘Desho’) is said to last longer than regular paper. The handmade paper making beings to find its place as the most important part of Bhutanese culture and tradition. The paper making first began as a domestic occupation and still preserved to till these days.
Laster transfer to Punakha Valley. Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan. Enroute 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). On a clear day, you will get awe-inspiring glimpses of the towering Himalayan peaks around.
Punakha situated at an altitude of 1200 M. Punakha Dzongkhag has been inextricably linked with momentous occasions in Bhutanese history. It served as the capital of the country from 1637 to 1950s. 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. Punakha Dzong was built at the confluence of two major rivers in Bhutan, the Pho Chhu and Mo Chhu, which converge in this valley. It is an especially beautiful sight on sunny days with sunlight reflecting off the water onto its white-washed walls.
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 03 Punakha Talo Festival (Drive 1 hour)
After breakfast drive to Talo Goemba/Monestry. Talo Goemba is located high up on a hillside in Punakha. Talo Tshechu is held at Talo Goemba for 3 days from the 8th to the 10th day of the second lunar month in the Bhutanese calendar. Thousands of people from in and around Punakha and neighbouring places come to witness the Tshechu dressed in their finest.
Tentative programs. Many Mask Dances or Cham which are believed to confer blessings upon the spectators and teach them the ways of the Buddhist dharma are performed during the festival. Cham are also believed to provide protection from misfortune and exorcise evil influences. The festival is a religious ceremony and it is believed that you gain merit simply by attending it.
On the way back visit Nalanda Buddhist College. Locals call this place Dalayna and the monks call it Nalanda Buddhist College. If you want to chat up with monks in English then this is the place to go. The monks here are dying to practise the new language they learn. Overnight Hotel in Punakha.
Day 04 Punakha Attend Talo Festival/Sightseeing
After breakfast drive to Talo and attend the festival. Afternoon drive to Tserigang and hike to Khamsum Yule Namgyel Chorten. (45 mins one-way hike). This fascinating temple was built by the Queen Mother of the 5th King to bring universal peace in this world. The best of the spiritual art works are painted on the inner walls. There are also paintings of Buddhist teachers and tutelary deities of the country. This is a great temple to study the symbolic meanings from frescoes and sculptures.
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 Gongsar 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. Overnight Hotel in Punakha.
Day 05 Punakha-Paro (Drive 4 hours)
After breakfast drive back to Paro. 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.
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. Overnight Hotel in Paro.
Day 06 Paro Sightseeing (Taktshang Goemba).
After breakfast drive to Ramthangka base and hike to Tiger Nest. Taktshang Goemba. Taktshang meaning ‘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 hrs)
After 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 07 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”
Book This Tour
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