Punakha is a former capital of Bhutan and winter residence of central monastic body and chief abbot of Bhutan. Punakha Dzong, located between two rover, Pho Chu and Mochu, literally meaning Male river and female river, sits gigantically overlooking the confluence of the two rivers. It withstood many natural disaster – Fire, Earth quake and flood over the centuries and is a symbol of unity, love and peace.
Punakha is located at an altitude of 4,256 feet with temperate climate. Besides being the winter residence of the central monastic body, It is also a place where important national events occasions are celebrated. Punakha Tshechu usually occur around the month of February, corresponding to the first Bhutanese month. It is usually held right after the conclusion of famous Punkaha Dromchoe. It is popular among both local and tourist
Detail Itinerary – (8 Days/7 Nights)
Day 01- Arrive at Paro
upon arrival,our representative from Bhutan Sotphel Tours and Treks will receive you at the Paro International airport and drive you to the hotel. After lunch, visit the visit the Drukgyel dzong, now in ruins . It was built by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal to commemorate the victory over the Tibetan invaders in1644; the dzong name’s means ” victorious Druk “. The Dzong was used as an administrative center until 1951 when a fire caused by butter lamp destroyed it.
Driving back to paro on the way visit Kyichu Lhakhang, one of Bhutan’s oldest and most sacred monasteries dating from the introduction of Buddhism in the 8th century. Legends has it that a great Tibetean saint has built 108 such monasteries overnight and two of them are in Bhutan, One is Kyichu Lhakhang and the other is Jampa Lakhang in Bumthang.
Dinner and overnight halt at the hotel in Paro.
Day 02- Sight Seeing at Paro and drive to Thimphhu in the evening
After breakfast, Excursion to Taktsang Monastery: A short drive takes us to Satsam Chorten, the trail climbs through beautiful pine forest, many of the trees festooned with Spanish moss, and an occasional grove of fluttering prayer flags. We stop for a rest and light refreshments at the Taktsang Jakhang (cafeteria) and then walk a short distance until we see, clearly and seemingly within reach, Taktsang monastery.
The legend has it that Guru Rimpoche who is revered to be the second Buddha and who is also credited have brought Buddhism to Bhutan in 747 AD arrived here on the back of flying tigress and meditated here. Latter on the present structure was built and many facelift were provided. This incredible monastery clings to the edge of a sheer rock cliff that plunges 900 meters into the valley below.
After lunch, visit the Ta dzong, an ancient watchtower, which has been, since 1967, the National Museum of Bhutan then visit Rimpung Dzong (Paro Dzong) built in 1646 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Dzong presently houses administrative offices.
In the evening, drive to Thimphu.
Day 03 – Sightseeing in and around Thimphu
Thimphu is the capital city of Bhutan and offers a mix of urban as well as rural Bhutan. After breakfast visit the Memorial Chorten (stupa). This gigantic stupa is built in the memory of late his Majesty Jigme Dorji Wangchuck, the third king of Bhutan. He was known as the father of modern Bhutan. Then visit the National Library, which houses a vast collection of ancient Buddhist manuscripts followed by visit to Painting School, famous for carving and free hand art and Folk Heritage Museum followed by a visit Sangay gang view point, Takin Preserve centre, Changangkha Monastery and Zulukha Nunnery.
After lunch visit the Semtokha Dzong, the oldest Dzong in the country. This Dzong was built by Zhandrung Ngawang Namyel in 1629 and today it houses monk body and Institute of Language and Cultural studies till it moved to Trongsa. Then drive toward the Kuenselphodrang to have a glimpse of the tallest Buddha statue in the world. Towards the evening, visit Tashichho Dzong (Fortress of the Glorious Religion), built in 1641 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal and reconstructed in 1961 by the Late King, His Majesty King Jigme Dorji Wang chuck, who is regarded as Father of Modern Bhutan.
Day 04 – Thimphu-Punakha-Thimphu
After breakfast drive to Punakha via Dochula pass. This pass served as an important trade route in olden days. Today it dotted with beautiful 108 mall chortens and beautiful Lakhang. If weather is clear and favorable, we stop for a while at Dochula. From this Dochula pass, it provide a clear view of Himalayas and a Gasa Dzongkhag, one of the remotest Dzongkhag in the Country. Enroute stop a while to view Chimi Lhakhang also called the “Temple of Fertility” built by Lama Drukpa Kuenley who is popularly known as “The Devine Mad Man” in 15th century
After lunch, visit Puna Dewachenpoi Dzong built in 1637 by Shabdrung Ngawang Namgyal. The Dzong is situated between Pho Chu (Male River) and Mo Chu (Female River). For many years until the time of the second king, it served as the seat of the Government.
The construction of the Dzong was prophesied by Guru Rimpoche that, “…a person named Namgyal will arrive at a hill that looks like the tusk of a sleeping elephant”. It is said that Shabdrung ordered the architect, Zowe Palep, to sleep in front of the statue, while Palep was sleeping; the Shabdrung took him in his dreams to Zangtopelri (Paradise) and showed him the palace of Guru Rimpoche. From his vision, the architect conceived the design for the new Dzong. The Dzong was named Druk Pungthang Dechen Phodrang (Palace of Great Happiness). Punakha is the winter residence of Je-Khenpo and the central monastic body. In the evening, drive to Thimphu. Dinner and overnight in Hotel.
Day 5, 6 & 7 – Witness Punakah Tshechu
Witness Popular Punakha Tshechu for 3 days. Each day, there will be different mask dances by Monk as well as Lay people. Tshechu’s hold special significance and meaning in the lives of the Bhutanese people. On the third of the Tshechu, after witnessing the Tshechu, on the way back tom Thimphu, drive to Talo Gonpa on a famous monastery.
Day 08 . Thimphu- Paro (depart)
After breakfast, drive to Paro Airport, farewell and see off.
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