Paro Tshechu Festival is held at Paro on the tenth day of month of lunar calendar and is celebrated with ceremonial dances, rituals of blessings and is held at the Paro Ringpong Dzong courtyard during spring. The monks, lay monks and citizens perform the celebration to recall the history of Bhutan and Buddhism. The main highlight of the festival is the unfurling of the world’s largest religious scroll, the Paro Thangka, on the last day of the festival. Tshechu held at the Paro and Thimphu is among the biggest of the tshechus in terms of participation and audience.
Tshechu Festival is celebrated all over the country in every dzongkhag of Bhutan on the tenth day of a month of the Lunar Tibetan Calendar. Tshechu is one of the biggest festivals of Bhutan and is celebrated and enjoyed by abundant number of participants and audiences. Tshechus are religious festivals of the Drukpa Lineage of the Kagyu school of Tibetan Buddhism.
The flight to Paro is one of the most spectacular mountain flights in the world, with a constantly changing panorama of some of the highest mountains on earth. Our representative will meet you at Paro airport exit doors following customs formalities. After lunch enjoy afternoon sightseeing around Paro, including a visit to the Ta Dzong Museum housing many religious relics, works of art and handicrafts offering a great orientation into Bhutan’s historical, cultural, and religious past. Next, drive to, 7th Century Kyichu Lhakhang, one of the 108 temples constructed by the Tibetan king Songtsen Gampo. Kyichu is built in a manner similar to the Jokhang in Lhasa. Inside there is a great golden image of Buddha Shakyamuni.
Overnight at your hotel in Paro.
Today you experience the colour, excitement and spectacle of the Paro Tshechu Festival. It is the most divine and deeply symbolic of all the Buddhist festivals celebrated in Bhutan. Dressed in traditional finery, devotees flock to the Paro Dzong to proclaim their faith and receive blessings. Monks and lay people, dressed in elaborate silk brocade costumes perform festive dances of good triumphing over evil to the haunting sounds of trumpets, cymbals and flutes. The dances and costumes have survived unchanged for thousands of years, each dance is an exact re-enactment of visions seen by Bhutan’s great Buddhist saints and any changes would be seen as sacrilege. Early morning blessing from Thangka of Guru Rinpoche. Today is the most auspicious day of the festivities and dances of the Heroes, Ging and Tsholing, the Eight Manifestatons, the Sixteen Fairies and the Religious Song are all performed in a magnificent cacophony of sound and color.
Overnight in Paro.
We depart Paro this morning and drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Today we explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, drive up to the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view overlooking the Thimphu valley and the Mini Zoo for Takin (national animal of Bhutan). After lunch, visit the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artefacts used in rural households and the Painting School to discover a glimpse of novices learning 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan.
Overnight in Paro.
We depart Paro this morning and drive a distance of 65-km for about one hour journey to Thimphu, the capital of Bhutan. Today we explore a fascinating full day tour to see the best of Thimphu city at an altitude of 2,300m. First stop is at the National Memorial Chorten, built in memory of the third King Jigme Dorji Wangchuk. Next, drive up to the Kuensel Phodrang (Buddha Point) offering a panoramic view overlooking the Thimphu valley and the Mini Zoo for Takin (national animal of Bhutan). After lunch, visit the Folk Heritage Museum, a showcase of the Bhutanese artifacts used in rural households and the Painting School to discover a glimpse of novices learning 13 traditional arts and crafts of Bhutan. Continue to the Tashichhodzong, which houses some ministries, the office and throne room of His Majesty the King and the Central Monk Body and then head to the Centenary Farmer’s Market on the banks of the Wangchhu river selling farm produces, local arts and crafts, etc.
Overnight in Thimphu.
This morning drive to the end of the road before climbing into the beautiful pine forest, where an incredible Tango Monastery stands to the farthest north of Thimphu, which is about 14-km away. The Buddhist College is an institution for the higher studies of Buddhist philosophy, metaphysics, poetry, and mathematics. The present-day monastery was built in 1689 by Lama Gyalwa Lhanampa and was later renovated in 1977 by Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Kesang Choden Wangchuck. Enjoy the spectacular views of the valleys and mountains from this spot. Then we head back to Thimphu and en route visit the Pangri Zampa Monastery.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Today we travel to Punakha, the former capital of Bhutan until 1955, and will stop off at Dochula Pass along the way. This popular tourist spot provides stunning 360-degree views of the Himalayas. It is also home to the 108 Druk Wangyal Chortens that were built on a small hill to memorialize the Bhutanese soldiers killed in a 2003 battle with Assamese insurgents from India.
The Druk Wangyal Lhakhang temple was completed in 2008, built to commemorate 100 years of monarchy and His Majesty Jigme Singye Wangchuck, the fourth king, and leader of the raid that removed the Indian rebels. We will tour what is considered one of the most beautiful site in Bhutan, Punakha Dzong. Sitting at the fork of two rivers, it is a stunning example of Bhutanese architecture. Built in 1637, it is the second oldest and second largest dzong in Bhutan. Jacaranda trees surround the structure that produce stunning lavender blooms in the spring. The massive structure is six stories with a central utse (tower) that stands 3,900 feet tall. Inside the fortress, there are three large courtyards, one of which houses the well-preserved body of Zhabdrung Ngawang Namgyal, the 17th-century father of unified Bhutan. It was also the location of the royal wedding of Bhutan’s current king Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck to Jetsun Pema in 2011.
We will also visit Khamsum Yulley Namgyal Chorten, which is a splendid example of Bhutanese art meets architecture and the only one of its kind. At the direction of the third Queen Mother Ashi Tshering Yangdon Wangchuck, the site took nine years to build because architects, painters, sculptors, and carpenters only used holy scriptures rather than engineering manuals to construct this four-story temple. Only reachable on foot, the hour trek includes an exhilarating walk across a colorful prayer flag adorned suspended footbridge that crosses the Mo Chhu. In 1999, the temple was consecrated to remove negative energies and promote peace, harmony, and stability around the world. It is a stunning building with splendid views of the valley that are well worth the walk.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Following an overnight stay in Punakha, we head toward the remote glacial valley area of Gangtey. We will stop near Sopsokha for a short walk across terraced rice fields to the temple of Chimi Lhakhang. Located on a hillock, this temple is dedicated to Lama Drukpa Kuenlay, an eccentric religious teacher of the late 15th-century who used humor, songs, and outrageous behavior to share his teachings, earning him the title of Devine Madman. Also known as a fertility temple, women travel there to pray, and it is rumored that many become pregnant shortly after. Chimi Lhakhang has a very peculiar design aesthetic, as you will find colorful phallus symbols painted on the buildings throughout.
We pass through Wangdue, the last town before entering the isolated areas of central Bhutan. Dramatically perched on the side of a hill, we will see Wangdue Phodrang Dzong. Unfortunately, a 2012 fire gutted the building, so we are only able to view it from the outside as reconstruction is underway. Wangdue has a small market and the area is known for its fine bamboo work and stone carvings. We will also see the Buddha face, a natural phenomenon that has seemingly formed out of natural rock.
Traveling through the pristine mountains of central Bhutan, we enter the Phobjikha Valley, also known as the Gangtey Valley. This bowl-shaped valley borders the Jigme Singye Wangchuck National Park, and the entire area is a wildlife preserve. Here you may see the black-necked cranes (Grus nigricollis) that migrate here from November to March. You might also see other native animals, such as muntjac, sambar, serow, leopard, red fox, or yak.
On a hill overlooking the entire valley is the Gangtey Goempa, a large 17th-century monastery. The tshokhang (prayer hall) was built in Tibetan style and has eight great pillars. A five-day teschu (festival) is held here every fall where locals and monks perform traditional dances with colorful masks and swords to ward off evil spirits and celebrate the harvest.
Here you have the option to stay in a hotel or take the rare opportunity to room with a local family. Typically staying in a modest farmhouse, you will immerse yourself in family culture and share in their gracious hospitality.
ly culture and share in their gracious hospitality.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Today we head back to Paro and the scenic beauty of the Paro Valley. This area has many monasteries, temples, dzongs, and natural wonders that make Bhutan such a breathtaking country. Located on the northwestern border of Bhutan and Tibet is Chomolhari (Jomolhari) Mountain.
Overnight in Thimphu.
Today you will take a short hike to Paro Taktshang Monastery (Tiger’s Nest). No visit to Bhutan would be complete without a trip to Taktshang. The monastery is perched on the edge of a steep cliff, about 900 m above the Paro valley and takes about a 2-hour climb on a well-maintained trail through beautiful pine forest, trees festooned with Spanish Moss and fluttering prayer flags. Legend has it that Guru Rimpoche flew to Paro Taktshang cliff in the form of Guru Dorji Drolo, mounted on a flaming tigress in the 8th century. Afterwards, there may also be time to visit the ruined Drugyal Dzong (fortress), built in 1649 to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders. Overnight in Paro.
After breakfast, would check-out from the hotel and be transferred to the airport. Head back to your home with memories galore and an increase in your personal happiness index.