Jambay Lhakhang drup or Tshechu lasts for five days beginning from 22nd October till the 26th October every year in Bumthang. A fire dance is held in the evening to bless infertile women so that they may bear children. This tour also includes the most classic destinations in Bhutan: Thimphu, Paro, Punakha.
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Paro - Thimphu - Punakha - Phobjikha Valley - Trongsa - Bumthang
Paro - Thimphu
Tashi Delek! Welcome to Bhutan, the country with the happiest people in the world. Meet tour guide at Paro Airport then transfer to Thimphu – the capital town of Bhutan, en route to Chuzom, the confluence of Thimphu and Paro rivers. Check in of your hotel in Thimphu then you are free to explore. Overnight in Thimphu
Today, we will have a full day of sightseeing, including a visit to the National Memorial Chorten, completed by the Royal Queen Mother as a memorial stupa for the Third King who passed away in 1972. Continue on to 12th century Changangkha Temple and the Zilukha Nunnery. If there is time, you may visit the nursing pen for the Takin, the national animal of Bhutan. Then visit Tashichhodzong, ‘the fortress of the glorious religion’ housing some ministries, His Majesty’s secretariat, and the central monk body. Overnight in Thimphu
Thimphu - Punakha
Drive over the Dochu-La pass, which on a clear day offers an incredible view of Himalayan peaks before descending into balmy Punakha valley (approximately 3 hours). The drive through the countryside affords a glimpse of everyday life in this most remote of Himalayan kingdom. Punakha was the ancient capital of Bhutan. On arrival, visit Punakha Dzong. It is the winter headquarters of the Je Khenpo and hundreds of monks who move en masse from Thimphu to this warmer location. It was here in 1907 that Bhutan’s first king was crowned. Afterwards enjoy a short walk to Chimi Lhakhang, temple of the Drukpa Kuenly who is also known as the Divine Madman. He inherited the Divine Madman title since he revolted against the orthodox Buddhism in his time. He taught the people that religion is an inner feeling and it’s not necessary that one should be an ordained monk. He is also considered a symbol of fertility and most childless couples go to his temple for blessing. Overnight in Punakha
Punakha - Phobjikha Valley
We will leave Punakha today for Phobjikha Valley (approximately 3 hours) via the bustling market town of Wangduephodrang. Drive up a winding mountain road through oak and rhododendron forests, and over a high pass down into the picturesque Phobjikha Valley. Phobjikha is one of Bhutan’s few glacial valleys, and chosen winter home of black necked cranes (November – March) migrating from the Tibetan plateau. After lunch visit the Phobjikha Sanctuary to view the majestic black necked cranes (Nov-Mar only) and Gangtey Gompa Monastery, dating back to the 16th century. Overnight in Phobjikha
Phobjikha Valley - Trongsa
Depart over the Pele La pass on the Black Mountain range towards Trongsa. Enroute visit the beautiful 18th century Chendebji Chorten. Trongsa is the ancestral home of Bhutan’s ruling dynasty. Visit Trongsa Dzong, the largest Dzong in Bhutan and the Ta Dzong museum housing a collection of historical artifacts of the Royal Family. Overnight in Trongsa
Trongsa - Bumthang
After breakfast proceed towards Bumthang (2.5 hrs), the spiritual heart of the kingdom. Bumthang is home to some of Bhutan’s oldest Palaces, Buddhist temples and monasteries. We don’t arrange any tour today so you can have a good rest or free to explore the village of Jakar, Bumthang’s main township. Try to stay awake until midnight to witness the opening proceedings of the Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival, including an unusual naked dance performed to sanctify the region. Overnight in Bumthang
In the morning visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom where Bhutan’s patron saint Guru Rimpoche meditated, and 7th century Jambay Lhakhang. It dates back to the origins of Buddhism in Bhutan and is one of the Kingdoms oldest temples. After lunch, visit Jakar Dzong and Tamshing Lhakhang, founded in 1501 by Pemalingpa and containing interesting and ancient Buddhist wall paintings. Overnight in Bumthang
Return to experience more of the festivities at Jambay Lhakhang, or enjoy an excursion to Tang Valley, the most remote valley in the Bumthang district. Activities may include a 45 minute walk uphill to Ugyen Chholing Palace, built in the 16th century by the Trongsa Penlop Tshokey Dorji. The main building in the complex now features a fascinating museum offering a real insight into the lifestyle of a Bhutanese noble family. Highlights include a book of divination, a dakini dance costume made of bone. You may also visit 14th century Tang Rimochen Lhakhang where Guru Rinpoche meditated and Mebar Tsho (Burning Lake), where some of Guru Rinpoche’s treasures were found in the 15th century by the famous treasure discover Pema Lingpa. It’s a good location to meditate. Overnight at your lodge in Bumthang.
Bumthang - Punakha
In the morning visit visit Kurjey Lhakhang, one of the most sacred places in the kingdom where Bhutan’s patron saint Guru Rimpoche meditated. Afterwards drive to Punakha, stopping for lunch along the way. Overnight in Punakha
Punakha - Thimphu - Paro
Drive back to Thimphu where you will enjoy lunch and have an opportunity to visit handicraft and souvenir stores. Afterwards proceed to Paro, visiting Semtokha Dzong en route. The Dzong, built in 1627, is the oldest in Bhutan. It now houses the Institute for Language and Culture studies. Overnight in Paro
After breakfast, we will visit Taktshang Monastery by walk for approximately 2 hours; comfortable walking shoes are highly recommended (for those who cannot hike we will arrange a horse for transfer up to cafeteria). This monastery is one of the most famous Bhutan’s monasteries, perched on the side of a cliff 900 m above the Paro Valley floor. It is said that Guru Rinpoche arrived here on the back of a tigress and meditated at this monastery and hence it is also called “Tiger’s Nest”. Afternoon drive to Drukgyel Dzong, a ruined fortress where Bhutanese warriors fought against Tibetan invaders centuries ago. The snow dome of sacred Chomolhari, “Mountain of goddess” can be seen in all her glory from the approach road to the Dzong. On the way, visit the 7th century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples built in the Himalayas by Tibetan King, Songtsen Gampo. The building of this temple marks the introduction of Buddhism in Bhutan. Overnight in Paro
Board on vehicle and drive to airport of Paro, from where, you will catch your flight onward to your next destination. Our tour of 12 days Bhutan tour with Jambay Lhakhang Drup Festival is finished now. The whole team of Bravo Asia Tours looks forward to seeing you again in your next trip to Asia.